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June 9, 2011
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VISITORS to RAAF Base Wagga will
now be greeted by two RAAF aircraft
restored to their former glory.
The aircraft are a former Canberra
bomber and a Mirage fighter, both of
which are gate guards.
The Canberra, A84-235, was
unveiled on May 13.
Cold and wet weather delayed the
Mirage being finished by that date but
it was completed and on display the
Director of Air Force Heritage
GPCAPT Dave Richardson said that
the restoration of the aircraft was
approved by the RAAF Heritage
Advisory Council last year and work
began in early April.
GPCAPT Richardson and Lance
Halvorson, who flew the same
Canberra in Vietnam, performed the
A84-235 first flew on September
3, 1956, and was accepted into the
RAAF on October 22 that year.
As part of its activities in the pres-
ervation and celebration of Air Force
heritage, GPCAPT Richardson said
the council was keen to refurbish
all aircraft on static display at bases
The refurbishment program had
started at Wagga because the base
had a large collection of aircraft on
public display and they attracted
"Wagga [also] provides training to
a considerable proportion of the Air
Force's population and we would like
to expose these personnel to a high-
quality display of their own Air Force
heritage," GPCAPT Richardson said.
"The refurbished Canberra and Mirage
will help to complement the rich experi-
ence offered to visitors by the RAAF
Wagga Heritage Centre and to broaden
their understanding of Air Force's proud
Reserve SGTs John Power and
Aled Roberts deployed to Wagga
from RAAF Base Amberley in early
April to carry out the repairs neces-
sary before the repainting could be
undertaken and then supervised the
"They were supported on base
by SGTs Ashley Ranford and Robert
Dickinson and CPL Terry Tabone and
SGT Anthony Papadis assisted with
paint matching to ensure the aircraft
looked right," GPCAPT Richardson
MORE than 1350 Canberra aircraft
were built and served with the air
forces of 18 nations.
Between 1953 and 1982, the
RAAF's 1, 2 and 6SQNs operated four
UK and 48 Australian-built Canberras.
They served in combat, being used
against communist forces in Malaya
and in South Vietnam, where two were
lost.They flew with 2SQN as part of
the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve
n Malaysia from 1958, replac-
ng the Lincoln as a bomber. The
squadron was a major component
n the air order of battle during the
Malayan Emergency and Indonesian
Confrontation until the unit deployed to
South Vietnam in April 1967.
Retired WGCDR Lance Halvorson
said that the Canberra was a superb
"To those who flew it in its early
years, the new bomber was superior
to all other aircraft of its type," Mr
"As one navigator said, after thun-
dering engines and howling propellers,
the Canberra was sheer bliss. Its speed
was also great: 810km/h."
Mr Halvorson's association with
A84-235 started in November 1964
when he was posted to 2SQN.
He flew as its navigator on 14 sor-
ties from April 1965 to September
1966, and again in Phan Rang from
April 19 to October 23, 1967; about 30
"It also flew the first Forward Air
Controller mission in Phuc Tuoy prov-
ince on June 25 that year," he said.
"Most who served in Canberra
squadrons and support units have
many memories, mostly fond, and are
proud to have been associated with the
'Queen of the Skies' during its time in
"And it is a fitting location for
A84-235, here at Wagga, where most
of the technical crews who maintained
Minor health alert
MILITARY and civilian personnel who
received minor surgery at Al Minhad
Air Base between February 2009 and
August 2010 are requested to contact
their medical facility or general prac-
titioner. An assessment of equipment
records found that the administration
of a steriliser used at the air base was
not carried out in accordance with
Australian standards. As such there
was no guarantee that some instru-
ments within the Health Facility were
sterilised effectively. Further details
are available at www.defence.gov.au/
ANY serving or former members who
have allegations or knowledge or
incidents of sexual or other harass-
ment suffered during their service in
the ADF have until June 17 to submit
them to law firm DLA Piper on 1800
424 991 Monday to Friday between
2 pm and 9 pm (AEST) or email
lipsfox.com. Defence has established
support arrangements for people who
are experiencing distress or feel that
they require emotional support.
ALMOST seven tonnes of Anzac Day
goodwill packages were sent to ADF
personnel posted overseas. More
than 2800 packages, weighing more
than 5½ tonnes, were sent to the
Middle East, while East Timor and
the Solomon Islands received about
500kg of packages.
RAAF Base Richmond played host
to a rare visitor when a Republic of
Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Hercules
used a drop zone area on the nearby
Singleton Range as part of Exercise
Wombat from May 4 to June 6.
Exercise Wombat is an annual train-
ing activity conducted by the RSAF
at Richmond and is one of several
unilateral exercises conducted by
Singapore in Australia.
DEFENCE personnel are encouraged
to put their navigational skills to the
test in the NSW Emergency Services
Wilderness Navigation Shield
(NavShield) on July 2. Teams will
hike overnight through rugged terrain
with a map and compass to reach
as many checkpoints as possible at
a secret location two to three hours
from Sydney. The event's location
will stay secret until one week before
to keep the contest fair. NavShield
will raise money for the Bushwalkers
Wilderness Rescue Squad. For more
information and details on how to
enter, visit the website at www.bwrs.
her, were trained."
On return to Australia
from Vietnam on June
4, 1971, the Canberra
was retired from front-
line combat role and
employed in air defence
training, aerial survey
and photographic roles.
In the 1970s, the
high cost of maintenance
forced a review of the
Canberra life of type.
The aircraft flew for
the last time in 1982
-- well after its replace-
ment, the F-111, was in
SHINY LIKE NEW: Lance Halvorson and GPCAPT Dave Richardson
who performed the opening ceremony in front of the restored
Canberra gate guard; top inset, WGCDR Halvorson in Vietnam in
1967; bottom inset, A84-235 early in the restoration process. Right
inset, the Mirage gate guard.
Photos courtesy GPCAPT Richardson
OLD DAYS: Canberra
bombs in Vietnam.
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