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NEWCASTLE WELCOMES HOME PER
By FLTLT Jaimie Abbott
THE city of Newcastle came
to a standstill when more
than 200 Air Force personnel
were welcomed home from
Despite a forecast for rain, the sun
was out as they marched along the
Newcastle foreshore before forming
up for a parade in front of the historic
Cannons were fired, and locals
lined the street to welcome back those
who had completed their mission at the
Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) at
The parade, on October 11, was held
in conjunction with the Mattara and
Most of the members were drawn
from 41WG and subordinate units,
including the Williamtown-based
3 Control and Reporting Unit and
Surveillance and Control Training Unit,
Darwin-based 114 Mobile and Control
Reporting Unit, and Edinburgh-based
1 Radar Surveillance Unit. Combat
Support Group personnel who deployed
to the CRC also participated in the
They were responsible for the
conduct of all air surveillance and air
battle management operations over
Afghanistan from August 5, 2007 until
July 7 this year when they handed con-
trol back to the United States Air Force.
CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin and
the Minister for Defence, Science and
Personnel Greg Combet attended.
AIRMSHL Binskin praised the
efforts of all the 400 Australian person-
nel who worked at the CRC.
"Our CRC personnel have made an
important contribution to coalition oper-
ations in Afghanistan and they rarely get
public recognition, so this is an impor-
tant event," AIRMSHL Binskin said.
OC 41WG GPCAPT Daryl Hunter
led the parade that was marked by an
F/A-18 flypast. The three fast jets arrived
with perfect timing.
There was a static display of a TPS-
77 radar which was similar to the one
used in Afghanistan. The Air Force
ensign displayed on the day was the
same ensign flown over the camp in
Kandahar for the entire duration of the
The icing on the cake was the perfor-
mance of members of the Air Force Band,
who marched and performed alongside the
guests of honour.
There was a great deal of effort put
in behind the scenes in the lead up to the
event. Some of the key people included
FSGT Andrew Earl, SGT Alex Palmer
and SQNLDR Olivia Stuart-Atkinson,
all from HQ 41WG.
"We worked with Newcastle City
Council and the Maritime Festival organ-
isers as it was the perfect opportunity to
stage an event such as this," FSGT Earl
Family and friends took up the invita-
tion to attend, and thousands turned out
to watch the parade.
For a select few, this was the oppor-
tunity to be welcomed back in their
home city. SGT Andrew Peate, FLTLTs
Murray Ross and Bradley Evans and
FLGOFF Jarrod Moxey are all originally
from the Hunter Region.
"Our families and friends have pro-
vided emotional support as we endured
lengthy time away from home, so it was
great they could come along today,"
FLTLT Ross said.
Following the parade, the members
joined their families for a lunch which
was organised by 41WG personnel.
REFLECTION: The splendour of Newcastle (above) was a far cry from Camp
Palomino in Afghanistan (right).
Photos: LAC Craig Barrett and LAC Aaron Curran
WE'RE PROUD: Greg Combet and
AIRMSHL Mark Binskin in front of the
TPS-77 Radar display.
Photo: LAC Craig Barrett
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