Home' Air Force News : August 4th 2011 Contents 17
August 4, 2011
THE first chapter begins with the
description of the many roles carried
out by Air Force's workhorses of the
air, the C-130 Hercules.
It's fitting the author began the
profile of the Air Force with the air-
craft, which for more than 52 years
has transported most of the ADF's
military personnel and equipment to
and within areas of ADF's operations,
from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
Through 370 pages and 32 chap-
ters, Ian McPhedran has gone to
great lengths to illuminate the impor-
tant and varied roles carried out by
the Air Force over the past 12 years.
Interviewing more than 80 person-
nel from all of the ranks to the former
CDF ACM Angus Houston, McPhedran
has encapsulated the can-do and fight-
ing spirit of Air Force's pilots, aircrew,
loadmasters, logisticians, tradespeo-
ple, air traffic controllers, medical
and maintenance personnel, and its
Stand-out chapters include eight
and nine, which focus on the F-111,
and chapter 12, in which former
WGCDR Matt Hall (now a Red Bull
Air Race pilot) describes how he got
to fight in the air over Iraq.
There's a good chance readers who
are recent or current serving Air Force
members would either know or know
of one of the many characters featured
in the book, making it an essential pur-
chase for their collection.
One other reason to hand over
$35 is it was written with Air Force's
cooperation and McPhedran has
agreed to donate a percentage of the
book's royalties to Legacy.
-- SGT Andrew Hetheringon
FIVE TO GIVE AWAY
Air Force News has five copies of the
book to give away. To be in the run-
ning, email your contact details to
"Book giveaway" in the subject line.
SGT Andrew Hetherington
FOR his new book, Air Force:
Inside the New Era of Austral-
ian Air Power, Ian McPhedran
interviewed more than 80 Air
Through 370 pages the author
gives readers a candid insight into Air
Force life in Australia and on opera-
Personnel serving in aircrew roles
flying and maintaining F/A-18s,
F-111s and C-130s, medical person-
nel, electricians, loadmasters and crew
attendants were interviewed -- giving
their angle on what it's like to serve
Australia in blue.
One of the pilots featured in the
book is SQNLDR Ray Simpson.
The Hornet Fighter Combat
Instructor at RAAF Base Williamtown
has more than 4100 hours flying experi-
ence on a number of airframes such as
F/A-18s, Hawk 127s, Macchis, PC-9s,
Air Force: Inside the New Era
of Australian Air Power by Ian
McPhedran. RRP $35, also
available from the iBook store
Published by Harper Collins.
FLIGHT sergeant Selwyn David Ev-
ans was not prepared to let a small
thing like a discharge notice prevent
him from continuing to fly in the RAAF
at war's end in September 1945.
Instead, the 19-year-old Beaufort
pilot hitched a ride from RAAF Base
East Sale to Air Force headquarters
in Melbourne and persuaded the then
SQNLDR Robert Law-Smith to let him
SQNLDR Law-Smith then set in
train the extraordinary career of a man
who retired in 1985 as the Chief of
Air Staff with the rank of AIRMSHL.
Along the way, AIRMSHL Evans
was appointed a Companion of the
Order of Australia, the Distinguished
Service Order (for service in Vietnam
in May 1969) and the Air Force Cross.
During his 42-year career, he flew
from the propeller age into the fast-jet
age, via rotary wing, on Beauforts, C-47
Dakotas, Iroquois helicopters, Canberra
bombers and F-111 jets.
This was one of the stories in his
Down to Earth, which covers not only
his personal 46 years but a major por-
tion of Air Force's history during a
time of dynamic changes.
Former prime minister John Howard
launched the book at Old Parliament
House on July 19.
CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown
said the book was important because
Air Force aviators were not normally
inclined to put pen to paper.
"AIRMSHL Evans is one of the
most experienced and eminent avia-
tors of his generation," AIRMSHL
"Down to Earth is a very personal
story as well as being a history of
events and a look inside some of the
most critical events that shaped Air
"I was struck by his determina-
tion to stay in the Air Force and his
luck [in finding SQNLDR Law-
Smith] as well as his complete dedi-
cation and determination to maintain
the most professional standards.
That is a prerequisite for a great
"As GEN Cosgrove says in the
foreword: 'It is an attractive read and
one that would benefit all Air Force
Air Force historian Dr Chris Clarke
said that the book was very significant
for two reasons.
"The book fits into the Office of
Air Force History's (OAFH) program
to record the experiences of signifi-
cant Air Force people, serving and
retired," Dr Clarke said.
"In this case, however, what makes
it more significant is that it was the
product of AIRMSHL Evans' own
"In the past, most of our books of
this nature have relied on our editing the
transcripts of oral interviews with these
members into a publishable manuscript.
"Either way, the OAFH and Air
Force get the benefit of further access
to a period of four decades of Air
Force's history within the covers of a
The book is available for $35 from the
Air Power Development Centre at http://
Please sir, let me stay .... how a 19-year-old went onwards, upwards
LONG JOURNEY: Former
AIRMSHL David Evans signs
copies of his autobiography at the
Photo: FSGT John Carroll
Cessna 152s, Chieftains/ Navajos and
SQNLDR Simpson's story begins in
In 2003, he was serving as an
F/A-18 pilot deployed to Iraq. He was
about to begin the first of 16 combat
missions flying in Iraq and his wife
Heidi was pregnant with their daugh-
"Ian asked me a few background
questions via email first and we
then did a face-to-face for about two
hours in the mess at RAAF Base
Williamtown late last year," SQNLDR
"After reading the book my wife
said it brought back a lot of memories
for her, as we have three daughters
now and they were also interested to
hear about it, too."
His story continues in chapter 14,
where he discusses his career change
to flying 747-400s for Qantas.
"I was offered the job as XO of
3 or 77SQN at the time I was leav-
ing, so it was a very tough decision,
as I loved my job in the Air Force,"
SQNLDR Simpson said.
"However, I had made a commit-
ment to my family to stop moving
around and give my wife the oppor-
tunity to restart her career as a teacher.
"Qantas was hiring, and that's a
rare event, so I took the opportunity
and was fortunate enough to get the
job at Qantas in April 2008."
He was a Second Officer (SO) on
747-400s, flying to Africa, Americas,
Asia and Europe and worked for
Qantas until January 2010, after
which he decided to return to the Air
"I opted to take leave without pay
for four years, as Qantas was offering
this due to the global financial crisis,"
SQNLDR Simpson said.
"No surprise flying a 747 was very
different from my favourite aircraft,
"For its size it is an awesome air-
craft, however, I didn't get to fly it much
as an SO as the captain and first officer
do all the takeoffs and landings."
For him the best aspects of serving
in the Air Force are simple.
"It's the people, the equipment and
One of the standout characters in
the book, featured in chapter 18, is
CPL Rod Craigie, an electrician at
RAAF Base Townsville.
McPhedran describes him as "one
of those irrepressible characters that
make life interesting and keep morale
up on a military base".
The 44-year-old electrician was
interviewed for the book in 2009,
while serving as one of the trades-
men at the Al Minhad Air Base in the
United Arab Emirates.
"I was asked if I wanted to be
interviewed by my boss at the base
and he said Ian wanted to speak to
me," CPL Craigie said.
"He came over to our donga and
we had a chat for about 40 minutes on
my career and why I'd joined the Air
"I was surprised when it happened,
as I never actually thought I'd be inter-
viewed for a book of any description."
CPL Craigie joined the Air Force
mainly for job security.
"The Air Force to me was a job for
life and the physical training promotes
a healthy lifestyle, which for a bloke
my age was important.
"The job isn't humbug, there's
something different happening all the
time. I could be in the office one day
and the next I could be on the road to
As this newspaper went to print, the
book was due to be officially launched
by CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown in
Canberra on August 2.
CHARACTER: CPL Rod Craigie.
Photo: AB James Whittle
INSIGHT: SQNLDR Ray Simpson.
Photo: LAC Craig Barrett
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