When Melissa Hogan jetted off for six weeks in Hawaii, lazing on a beach was the last thing on her mind.
Instead the Matata woman is taking part in the world's largest military exercise, Exercise Rim of the Pacific.
The Corporal is a medic in the New Zealand Army, and was attached to the deploying platoon from 1st Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment only a week before flying to Hawaii at the end of June.
Ms Hogan is training with Canadian and United States Marine Corps personnel in an urban environment and out on the ranges of Oahu and Hawaii's 'Big Island', experiencing all that the military bases and facilities in Hawaii have to offer.
Ms Hogan said it was a great learning experience.
"I've been training as a medic for two and a half years, and this is my first deployment. I've been getting to know the Canadians and United States Marine Corps and seeing how their medics work."
Ms Hogan attended Trident High School in Whakatane and earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition from Otago University before joining the army. She then worked for a short time, before deciding she wanted to re-train.
"It was going to be a big student loan to re-train as a paramedic, and then I heard that the army might pay for my re-training. When I mentioned to someone that I was thinking about it, they didn't believe I could do it, so I put my mind to it and here I am.
"The boys look out for me, they're really good."