Home' Air Force News : December 8th 2011 Contents 28
December 8, 2011
Have you thought about
your future workforce?
Have you considered offering
placements through the Defence Work
This Program provides opportunities to
students to experience the ADF or
Defence APS as an employer of choice.
Send enquiries to:
Air Force events
December 8: 2FTS
RAAF Base Pearce, from 10.45am.
December 9: OTS graduation parade,
RAAF Base East Sale, from 11.30am.
December 10: 21SQN annual reserves
parade, RAAF Base Point Cook, from
December 12: Free lunchtime concert,
Melbourne Town Hall.
December 13: SAW graduation parade,
RAAF Base East Sale.
December 14: 1RTU graduation parade,
RAAF Base Wagga, from 11am.
December 18: Annual Kingston Carols
By The Bay, Mordialloc, Victoria, from
December 19: Christmas Morning
Melodies Series, the Stage Theatre in
the Arts Centre, Melbourne, at 11am and
To confirm dates and timings, call (03)
Illawarra Region Camp
Quality, HMAS Creswell.
FOR many military aviation enthusiasts, the
Bell UH-1 Iroquois ('Huey') helicopter is the
classic rotary-wing aircraft.
It served the ADF well at home and
abroad for almost four decades in a wide
range of roles from gunship to cargo carrier.
But for former soldiers and Sunshine
Coast residents Bob Buick and Laurie
Drinkwater, the ADF icon has a far more
On the evening of August 18, 1966,
9SQN UH-1B choppers A2-1020 and
A2-1022 hovered at tree-top level in bad
weather above a rubber plantation near a
nondescript village called Long Tan in South
Their crew members dropped ammu-
nition to the soldiers of D Coy, 6RAR,
who were fighting for their lives against
an overwhelming force of Viet Cong and
North Vietnamese Army soldiers.
That is why the two Vietnam veterans
were delighted to hear that A2-1022 will be
dedicated as a memorial to commemorate
the service of the Hueys and 9SQN in South
The dedication will occur at the
Caloundra RSL on March 16.
"If it wasn't for the helicopter, I would
have been dead at 27," Mr Drinkwater told
the Caloundra Journal last February.
In July 2009, the Caloundra Sub Branch
of the RSL decided to acknowledge the ser-
vice of the Huey in Vietnam and formed a
But first it needed a Huey that had served
in South Vietnam.
Project manager Bob McInnes, who
served with both 5 and 9SQNs, said they
found out that A2-1022 was at Nyngan.
It had been donated to the town by the
NSW government in 1992 to commemorate
flood evacuations there in 1990.
"It was 'owned' by the Bogan Shire
Council," Mr McInnes said, "and, after some
negotiation, they agreed to release it."
There was one proviso -- Caloundra
would need to find a replacement and restore
it to 1022's condition.
"We agreed, but that was much easier said
than done," Mr McInnes said.
Yet find one they did. It was a former
US Navy chopper that had been acquired by
McDermott Aviation at Cooroy but had been
badly damaged in a crash and written off.
In August 2010, a team of volun-
teers, including former members of 5 and
9SQNs and Air Force cadets from the local
223SQN (AAFC) set to work to restore
that Huey to display condition.
Thirteen hundred hours of work later and
the beautifully restored chopper was taken
to Nyngan in March and the real A2-1022
began the long haul to Caloundra.
Its refurbishment began in May.
Mr McInnes's plans now are well
advanced to mount A2-1022 on a plinth at
the sub-branch headquarters and for the dedi-
cation next March.
ANOTHER piece of A2-1022's history
came to light when the team started
its restoration. Inside the cargo doors,
it found two notes put there by the
maintenance team that had sealed the
aircraft in 1991 before its transfer to the
One said "Another Quality Product of
Shonkey Bros Restoration, A Division
of Bastards Inc. [stencilled]. Greetings
from: Smithy, Fred, (SGT) Kev C, Ted,
Kev L, (CPL) Andy G, (CPL) Andy B,
Jackie, Mick. Oct 91."
The other door read: "This aircraft
was sealed for posterity on 4 Nov 91 by
members of AWASCO and 3AD RAAF.
RAAF Base Amberley, QLD."
Project manager Bob McInnes said
he hoped the members saw the article
and contacted him at the sub-branch.
"They will be very welcome guests," he
Bob McInnes can be contacted on (07)
5491 2691 or 0411 292546.
Message in a
its way to
where it will
as a memorial
on March 16.
Photos courtesy Bob
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