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March 29, 2012
HUNDREDS of current and former
Air Force personnel turned out at
RAAF Base Williamtown on March
16 to celebrate the 70th anniversaries
of three of the Air Force's most dis-
Numbers 75, 76 and 77SQNs
were formed in March 1942 and
served with distinction in WWII.
Veterans and unit association
members joined current members at
Williamtown for a parade and family
day to acknowledge and reflect on
70 years of service to Australia.
OC 81WG and parade command-
er GPCAPT Joe Iervasi said it was
a "simple and elegant celebration,
and provided an opportunity for Air
Force to display its rich heritage and
evolution into a modern integrated
"The day also strengthened the
espirit de corps of participant units
and associated personnel," he said.
The parade was marked by
two formation flypasts featuring a
77SQN F/A-18, two 76SQN Hawk
127 fighters and a Sabre jet.
Members of Tindal-based
NUMBER 30 Squadron turned 70 on
The squadron hosted 18 members
of the 30SQN RAAF Beaufighter
Association with family and friends at
RAAF Base East Sale to commemorate
the historic milestone.
The squadron flew Beaufighters in
New Guinea and gained fame later that
year when it led the Allied air attacks
that decimated a Japanese task force
in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. It
gained 11 battle honours.
It disbanded in November 1968 and
was re-formed in July 2010.
Former Association president Fred
Cassidy was the guest speaker for the
commemoration service, and recounted
many experiences from the squadron's
initial formation at Richmond and then
onto operations in New Guinea until
He said that the squadron faced a
formidable task against the Japanese
who were "tough, ruthless and fearless
"It is an honour that the traditions
of those past members of 30SQN and
those who have gone before them who
70 years and counting
75, 76 & 77SQNs
75SQN were unable to attend the
celebrations due being deployed on
Exercise Red Flag in Nevada (see
the centre for full coverage).
About 100 war veterans took up
the invitation to attend, along with
past and present members of the
The respective Squadrons'
Standards were marched onto the
parade ground to the beat of the Air
Former CDF ACM Sir Neville
McNamara was the reviewing offic-
er for the parade and ACAUST AVM
Mel Hupfeld was the host officer.
The parade was followed by
static and flying displays, which
included all of the former squad-
ron aircraft. Squadron veterans
and family members were treated
to a F/A-18 handling display, the
77SQN "Green Lemons" formation
team, and the sight and sound of
previous squadron aircraft such as
the Kittyhawk, Mustang, Meteor
Dining-in nights were held
for the three squadrons in the 76
and 77SQN hangars that night.
Attendees included former Air Force
Chiefs AIRMSHL Jake Newham
(ret'd) and VCDF AIRMSHL Mark
CO 76SQN WGCDR Chris Hake
said current and former personnel
should be proud of what they have
"76SQN has come a long
way since it was first formed at
Archerfield Airport, Queensland
on March 14, 1942, exactly a week
after 75SQN was born," WGCDR
"Back then it was equipped with
Kittyhawk fighters before it obtained
Mustangs, then Vampires, Sabres,
Mirage, Aermacchi MB-326 jets and
Winjeel forward air control aircraft."
It wasn't until 2000 that the
squadron was re-equipped with the
Hawk 127 jets.
Just two days after 76SQN was
established, 77SQN was formed
on March 16, 1942, equipped with
Kittyhawk aircraft. The squadron
was initially responsible for the
defence of Perth.
CO 77SQN WGCDR Glen Beck
Honouring old and new
are 'now in the big hangar in the sky'
can have their legacy live on through
30SQN at Sale," Mr Cassidy said.
During the service, a message from
GEN Peter Cosgrove was read out. His
uncle was killed flying with the squad-
ron during WWII. He was thrilled to
see a very famous squadron back on the
order of battle.
"Please pass my heartiest best
wishes to all the men and women of the
squadron family, past and present on the
occasion of the birthday, and especially
to the veterans and families of the great
WWII membership of the Association,"
GEN Cosgrove said.
With the service over, the squadron
and veterans adjourned for lunch.
One veteran who could not be there
was Laurie Crouch, who was one of the
founding members at Richmond, with
an orderly room sergeant and a typist.
Mr Crouch sent his diary to the squad-
ron, as well as two Beaufighter prints
for presentation to the unit and the Sale
Words from his diary gave an insight
into the character of those who served in
Papua New Guinea:
"It was a great privilege to have
served in 30SQN. It was one big happy
family where the bond between ground
crew and aircrew was incredible," he
"We had a great capacity to work
hard under extremely adverse condi-
tions, often having to improvise and
make new tools when the correct ones
weren't provided. I suppose that after
being short of any items we developed
the art of scrounging and became known
as 'the Hydraulic Squadron' because we
could and would lift anything that was
not screwed down."
After the service, association presi-
dent Bob Martin presented 30SQN CO
WGCDR Sharyn Bolitho with several
fine prints and a number of other items
of memorabilia from individual collec-
tions (pictured above inset).
"From proud traditions, 30SQN can
hold its head high," WGCDR Bolitho
said. "They will continue the legacy of
the veterans of World War II and the
Bloodhound era, working as a team,
with pride and professionalism, just like
those before them."
said he particularly enjoyed the
opportunity for current 77SQN mem-
bers to connect with their past.
"There is so much history in all
three squadrons and we are proud to
be a part of it all today," he said.
"There is an incredible turnout
of veterans here today, which really
demonstrates the commitment, dedi-
cation and pride of those who have
served before us. For us to be able
to hear stories from those who were
there on the day the squadron was
formed was a unique opportunity
that is unlikely to be repeated."
70 REASONS TO
in the maintenance
hangar decorated in
squadron livery for
the 70th anniversary
at RAAF Base East
Sale. Right, the
youngest member of
the squadron, LACW
Cindy Bains, joins
veteran Don Angus
to cut the cake during
the celebrations. Far
right inset, 30SQN
Photos: CPL Steve Duncan
PAST AND PRESENT: Above, with a 70th anniversary Hornet in the
background, CO 77SQN WGCDR Glen Beck leads his squadron in
the combined 75, 76 and 77SQN 70th anniversary parade. Top left,
former CDF ACM Sir Neville McNamara, accompanied by ACAUST
AVM Mel Hupfeld, reviews the parade. Right, squadron veterans
Ray Sever (left) and AIRMSHL (ret'd) Jack Newham enjoy the static
display. Below right, the crowd looks on as a Gloster Meteor taxis
past. Photos: CPL David Gibbs, LACW Katharine Pearson and LAC Mark Friend
FAMILY FRIENDLY: 76SQN's
SGT Glen Solomon (back) with
parents Zell and Phil and sons
Lucas and Connor (front) at the
open day. Photo: CPL David Gibbs
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