Home' Air Force News : June 9th 2011 Contents 13
June 9, 2011
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THE iconic Caribou joined the Nep-
tune maritime reconnaissance aircraft
as a gate guard at RAAF Base Towns-
ville on May 4.
The aircraft is A4-199 and it has a
long association with Townsville.
In September 2009, its illustrious
career came to an end when it was
damaged after making an emergen-
cy landing and its final flight was by
dangling underneath a Chinook heli-
copter sent to recover it.
With the retirement of the Caribou
fleet pending, it was repaired to a non-
flying condition and then stored at the
XO 27SQN SQNLDR Trevor
Beams said after the fleet was retired
the then 323 Expeditionary Combat
Support Squadron (now 27SQN),
sought approval to retain A4-199 as a
"My thoughts were that having the
Caribou on display would remind Air
Force and other ADF members and
the population of Townsville of the
important role the Caribous played in
the local area," SQNLDR Beams said.
He said before the aircraft could
be relocated, it needed the wings
That had taken four days, between
"The job was carried out
b y three Caribou specialists
from Australian Aerospace in
Brisbane," SQNLDR Beams said.
"The Australian Aerospace team
leader, Tom Mills, had flown Caribous
in Vietnam. They were helped by
five reservists from 27SQN who had
worked on Caribous while in the PAF,
either as maintenance or flight engi-
Caribou A4-199 was built in June 1964 and
was in the third group of Caribous ferried
out from Canada.
It arrived in Australia in September
and was assigned to 38SQN at RAAF Base
It never served in Vietnam, however, it
was assigned to the UN when it served with
the United Nations Monitoring Group India/
Pakistan in Kashmir from 1975 to 1978.
Closer to home, the aircraft appeared at
many air shows over the years.
A4-199 has also had a long association
It was assigned to 35SQN, then with the
38SQN Detachment B, which was based
there and finally with 38SQN when the
squadron moved to Townsville.
Saying 'bou at gate
Although the Caribou is now by the
main gate, the final footings need to be
installed before it takes its place oppo-
site the Neptune and that is not expected
to occur before the end of October.
SQNLDR Beams said the 35SQN
tail flash had now been added.
"Even though A4-199 retired as
a 38SQN aircraft, 35SQN had the
longest association with Townsville;
many will remember the 'red rat'
on the Caribous over the city,"
SQNLDR Beams said.
The aircraft will be cleaned and a
protective coating applied before the
"We plan to hold a ceremony then
to celebrate the long association the
Caribou has had with RAAF Base
Townsville and the people of the city,"
MAMMOTH JOB: The Caribou had to do without its wings while it was being relocated.
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