Extract from “Defence News” 13
“PROUD DAY FOR REVERED
When 2, 3 and 4 Squadrons
celebrated their 95th anniversaries with a combined parade and
family day at RAAF Base Williamtown on September 23rd, there was no
prouder person than Commander Air Combat Group, Air Commodore Mel
“RAAF Base Williamtown is
proud of its rich and unique history as the home to three of the Air
Force’s most distinguished units, 95 years since they were formed.”
said Air Commodore Hupfield.
Numbers 2, 3 and 4 SQNs were
formed between September 19th and October 16th, 1916. The three
units were immediately sent to England to train as Royal Flying
Corps units and later deployed to France, under the banner of the
Australian Flying Corps (AFC) in 1917.
Air Commodore Hupfield said
the 95th anniversaries provided a unique opportunity to celebrate
the rich histories of the original AFC units.
Four AFC squadrons joined
the British during WWI. Nos.2, 3 and 4 SQNs served on the
Western Front, between Sept. 1917 and Nov. 1918, while No. 1
Squadron, which is now based at RAAF Base Amberley, flew against
Turkish and German forces in the Middle East. The Australian airmen
engaged in photographic reconnaissance, artillery spotting, strafing
and bombing raids on enemy troops and positions as well as
air-to-air combat against German aircraft.
squadrons have gone on to serve in a variety of roles since the
inception of military aviation in Australia and continue to serve
with a great sense of pride today.”
Air Commodore Hupfield said.
Over the past 95 years the
three units have served with distinction, in times of both peace and
conflict. They have fought in some of the most dangerous battles in
wartime history, including operational service in the Pacific,
Middle East, North Africa, Southern Europe, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Today 4 SQN has Combat Controllers and Joint Terminal Attack
Controllers deployed on operations in Afghanistan.
Numbers 2, 3 and 4 SQNs
reside at Williamtown, operating in the roles of airborne
surveillance and control, fighter combat, combat control and joint
terminal attack control. The Air Force’s diverse history was on
display at Williamtown with a 2SQN Wedgetail, 3SQN F/A-18s and a
4SQN PC-9 trainer.
Families, veterans and
members took in the afternoon’s aerial displays, which included a
solo Hawk display from 76SQN, a solo Hornet display from No.2 OCU
and a four-ship formation display by 3SQN’s “Purple Cobras” Hornet
Tom Russell, the 3SQN
Association Honorary President, recited The Ode during the
parade. Retired Air Marshal Jake Newham, former Chief of Air Staff
and former CO 3Sqn, spoke about the three historic squadrons and
what they had achieved in years gone by. “These distinguished
squadrons are what they are today because of the aircrew who have
served in times of war, but also the maintainers and support
personnel who make sure the pilots have planes to fly safely” he
said. “It is inspiring to see that the heritage and traditions
of these three squadrons are still upheld, 95 years since they were
He also remarked on
the unbelievable quantum leaps in technology and capability made
since he was first instructed in a Tiger Moth. “The weapons
themselves are not old-fashioned bombs that you drop …and hope for
the best.” AIRMSHL Newham said. During his early years, he said
100 bombers could be sent in to destroy a bridge and still miss it;
whereas today a single plane could be relied upon to take it out.