Home' Air Force News : January 31st 2013 Contents 3
January 31, 2013
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AIR FORCE bases, units and air-
craft swung into action to support
firefighters battling bushfires rag-
ing along the Australian east coast
Two 36SQN C-17As transported
a pair of 20-tonne diesel power gen-
erators and transformers to Hobart
on January 11 to restore power in
bushfire-affected areas after local
power grids were damaged.
A heatwave spread across the
south eastern portion of Australia on
January 4 and a series of bushfires
struck Tasmania. More than 20,000
hectares of bushland were burnt out
and 100 properties destroyed.
Ergon Energy supplied the
generators and transformers, fol-
lowing a request from Emergency
Ergon Chief Executive Ian
McLeod said he was grateful for Air
Force's heavy lift support.
"Our people worked quickly to
assemble equipment and expertise
that will be valuable to Tasmania's
recovery -- the Air Force's help got
it there even quicker," he said.
The equipment, typically kept
in Northern Queensland for the
cyclone season, was quickly trans-
ferred to meet Tasmania's energy
Another C-17A was used to
transport the loading equipment and
air movements team from RAAF
Base Amberley to Hobart Airport to
offload the generators.
On the ground in Hobart, mem-
bers of 29SQN, based at Anglesea
Barracks, were among the first ADF
personnel to support the Tasmanian
community as fires raged across the
In south-east Tasmania, Air
Force and Army personnel teamed
with Tasmania Police and SES to
help search and clear more than 130
buildings on the Tasman Peninsula
in the wake of severe bushfires.
WGCDR Andrew Layton, acting
Air Force lends a hand in bushfire crisis
Senior ADF Officer for Tasmania
during the task, said the military
personnel made up four of the ini-
tial 12 search and clearance teams,
which also included Tasmanian and
NSW rural firemen.
"During the first two days of
operations, the ADF teams con-
ducted coordinated grid search-
es across the devastated areas of
Dunalley, Boomer Bay, Marion Bay,
Murdunna and Connellys Marsh,"
WGCDR Layton said.
FLTLT Ferdie Kroon, who led
an Air Force team with police and
SES members, searched properties
in the hard-hit town of Dunalley to
categorise damage and find property
While some structures were
intact, FLTLT Kroon said many
"were all but obliterated".
The team heard amazing surviv-
al stories from local residents that
often involved using boats as the
last resort to survive.
SQNLDR Steve de Haan, who
managed another search team, said
people in the fire-ravaged commu-
nities were very grateful to those
ADF personnel who checked on
their welfare, and for the opportu-
nity to share their experiences of
WGCDR Layton said the
ADF men and women provided
highly professional support to the
"All of the permanent members
had been recalled from Christmas
leave at short notice, however,
those personnel and the Air Force
reservists were genuinely commit-
ted to helping the local residents,"
"Many of the 29SQN reserv-
ists who deployed to the Tasman
Peninsula were Tasmanians and
they found the experience extreme-
ly rewarding because they close-
ly identified with the area and
could directly help their fellow
Anglesea Barracks and RAAF
Bases Richmond, Williamtown
and Wagga also played host to fire
crews and vehicles.
Wagga opened its doors to 125
Country Fire Authority volunteers
who came from Victoria to fight
blazes in the Tarcutta area.
The strike team arrived with 35
vehicles on January 8 and stayed
on base for three days.
JUST before Country Fire
Authority volunteers staying at
RAAF Base Wagga headed home
to Victoria they took advantage of
a little bit of local hospitality.
CO 31SQN WGCDR Jo
Elkington said the team was given
a special tour of the base and
Heritage Centre after they were
stood down from firefighting.
"Believe it or not after three
days of all that they did, all they
could talk about was getting up-
close to the F-111 and how big
it was and that made their whole
trip," she said.
"They were also very
impressed with the food and staff
in the Airmen's Mess and would
not mind having to come back
again if they can get to stay on the
POWER TRIP: Above, 36SQN
pilot FLTLT Brad Close briefs
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings
on his C-17A's cargo, two 20-tonne
generators, after arriving at Hobart
Airport on January 11. Left, the
generators are unloaded. Below,
1AOSS members load the cargo
on to the aircraft at RAAF Base
Amberley. Photos: SGT Andy Hall and LACW
SPECIAL GUESTS: Victorian fire crews staying at RAAF Base Wagga depart
the base in the early morning to fight fires in the Tarcutta area.
VIP PRAISE : Prime Minister Julia Gillard thanks 29SQN
members during her tour of fire-affected Hobart.
Nice Pig you
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