Home' Air Force News : March 3rd 2011 Contents 5
March 3, 2011
overran SE Asia
in 1942, Australia
in the front line.
The nation rapidly
mobilized for war,
including the raising
of a 5000-strong force
of combat airfield
'We Prepared The Way'
is a collection of the
memoirs and diaries of
a dozen or so airfield
covering the SW Pacific
campaign during those
As usual, these personal experiences
are full of grit and humour, and include
hilarious stories of happenings
away from the battlefield. Ian Croft
has added the necessary historical
background with political and strategic
influences. The memoirs are woven
into these to provide the reader with
a coherent overview of the campaign,
and the ACS's significant part in it.
mailed to you
102/41 Portrush Parade
Meadow Springs WA 6210
to order your copy
THE ADF has drawn down its
forces providing support to re-
sponse and recovery operations
in the wake of Cyclone Yasi.
Members have returned to
their home units as the clean-
up and reconstruction situation
in north Queensland moves
into its next phase.
After Cyclone Yasi hit,
about 1500 ADF personnel
worked to help communities
and state emergency services.
Commander of the Joint
Task Force, BRIG Stuart
Smith, said personnel had com-
pleted the tasks requested of
them by civilian authorities.
"Emergency services and
public utilities have restoration
tasks well in hand for those areas
hardest hit by the cyclone,"
BRIG Smith said.
For more information on the
operation, visit www.defence.gov.
CPL Aaron Curran
THE aircraft and personnel of 92WG
are still going strong after more than
a decade on Operation Resolute in the
north of Australia.
On call 24/7 and constantly tested,
personnel assigned to Resolute to sup-
port Australia's border and maritime
security operate at a tempo that has
increased in recent years.
Commander Joint Task
Force (JTF) 639 Air Component
Coordination Element (ACCE)
SQNLDR Brett Williams said the JTF
was on national Search and Rescue
(SAR) standby duties for six months
of the year.
"Ours are often one of the first air-
craft to get airborne for any SAR task-
ing," he said.
"When the Suspected Illegal Entry
Vessel struck rocks at Christmas
Island in December, one of our
AP-3Cs provided overwatch of the
area and was still locating debris sev-
eral days later."
He said JTF 639 ACCE constantly
detected illegal fishing vessels and
suspect boats around Australia.
"This has now become a routine
operation," he said.
"We have close coordination with
the Navy and that is crucial for success-
ful operations on a number of missions.
JTF 639 ACCE constantly achieves
results because of the excellent relation-
ship the unit has with not only the Navy
but a number of other significant agen-
He said currently there were three
Orions and 90 Air Force personnel
comprising aircrews, maintenance and
JTF 639 ACCE personnel.
One aircrew member was FLTLT
Joshua Smith, a co-pilot from Crew 5,
"Most crew members have
deployed in support of Op Resolute
numerous times," FLTLT Smith said.
CPL Aaron Curran
THREE 92WG crews and two Orion
aircraft provided a vital capability to
the recovery efforts after Cyclone Yasi
in north Queensland.
Two crews were sent at short
notice to RAAF Base Amberley on
February 2 for the initial sorties into
the worst-hit areas of the coast, with
a third launching from RAAF Base
Darwin the following day.
FLTLT Richard Court from 11SQN's
Crew 3 said the Orions were deployed to
provide initial Intelligence Surveillance
and Reconnaissance (ISR) assistance to
Joint Task Force (JTF) 639.
"This included providing initial esti-
mates of damage to infrastructure such
as road and rail links, personal property
and assessment of flooding," he said.
"The Orions were able to take high
resolution photographs of cyclone-
affected areas and pass these images
directly to the JTF through the satellite
communications link. These images
enabled the Army elements to accu-
ately plan their logistical move-
ments over the ensuing period to
est help in the recovery efforts."
Additionally, the Orions were
ble to assess damage to the Willis
sland radar site, on the edge of the
Great Barrier Reef off Cairns, and
rovide the reconstruction crews
with imagery of the radar head and
"The crew were able to use the
nfrared camera to determine that
the generator on the island was in
fact working," FLTLT Court said.
"This assessment also allowed
the reconstruction crews to
assess the requirements for spare
p s, tools and essential supplies."
He said the Orions had been used
convincingly in the overland ISR role
as well as the maritime role for many
years and that inherent capability
made them a suitable platform for
most ISR type missions, including
natural disaster recovery.
ADF assistance to Cyclone Yasi wraps up
"This is my ninth deployment and it
is going really well. One of the biggest
challenges we face is the onset of the wet
season and its associated weather."
He said the wet season added an
additional element of complexity to
their operations as it brought hot and
steamy weather, lightning storms and
"Crews safely manage the risks
that the wet season brings thanks to
the accurate forecasts provided by the
Bureau of Meteorology. Also we have
the on-board radar system and a vigi-
lant approach to flight operations. I have
always enjoyed conducting these surveil-
lance patrols because they help to protect
Australia's borders," he said.
ALL IN A DAY'S WORK: Above, FLTLT Joshua Smith,
left, and SGT Kirk Olver on a routine Op Resolute flight
while deployed to JTF 639 ACCE; right, SGT Olver
maintains the flight engineer's log. Photos: LAC David Cotton
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