Home' Air Force News : February 28th 2013 Contents 14
February 28, 2013
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The natural choice for health cover
A JOINT terminal attack controller
(JTAC) instructor from 4SQN got the
chance to see how the British do it first-
hand and will now use that knowledge to
help improve his own unit's courses.
From late October to mid-Decem-
ber last year, FLTLT Andrew Kloeden
observed the UK basic training course
run by the RAF's Joint Forward Air
Control Training and Standards Unit
(JFACTSU) at RAF Base Leeming.
FLTLT Kloeden said the purpose of
the trip was to gain an appreciation of
close air support techniques in use by
a major coalition partner and compare
course material and teaching methods.
"The Australian and UK courses
were very similar in construct and con-
tent," he said.
"Being accredited school hous-
es under the US Joint Close Air
Support Action Plan Memorandum
of Agreement ensures standardisation
across participating countries.
"There are variations, of course,
and 4SQN will review learning points
to help improve the Australian JTAC
JFACTSU runs five basic courses a
year, graduating about 95 students, as
well as concurrent tactical air control
party and forward air control air courses.
After the seven-week basic course,
certified JTACs complete a further six-
month period of training at parent units.
The time is used to consolidate and
develop advanced skills in a job-specific
environment before the final qualifi-
cation check. Most controllers deploy
within two months of qualification and
usually two to three times before return-
ing to their primary role.
FLTLT Kloeden said a unit with
such a high tempo and student output
required a large number of staff.
"JFACTSU benefits from having
up to 12 instructors with most having
deployed on numerous occasions before
their JTAC career and on average three
to four times as a JTAC in Iraq and
Afghanistan," he said.
"JFACTSU also has four aircrew
posted to the unit who fly most sorties
for the course, which improves consist-
ency and allows for thorough debriefing
from both the ground and air."
BLENDING IN: FLTLT Andrew Kloeden, right, observes students on the
Joint Terminal Attack Controller basic course being conducted by JFACTSU
at RAF Base Leeming.
Photo courtesy FLTLT Kloeden
CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown has
commended a new book honouring
the RAAF crew of a Canberra bomber
which was missing in action for almost
CAF was among the guest list at the
official launch of Magpies in Vietnam on
February 4 in Canberra.
Also joining the book's author,
retired GPCAPT Doug Hurst, was VCDF
AIRMSHL Mark Binskin; former Chief
of Air Staff, retired AIRMSHL David
Evans; former CAF, retired AIRMSHL
Errol McCormack; National President
of the RAAF Association, retired AVM
Brent Espeland, and His Excellency Mr
Michael Bryce, who is patron of the
Magpies in Vietnam details the dis-
covery and later recovery of the RAAF
crew of a 2SQN Canberra bomber which
went missing during the Vietnam War.
On November 3, 1970, the bomb-
er disappeared without a trace during
a night bombing mission in central
The fate of the aircraft and its crew
-- pilot FLGOFF Mike Herbert and navi-
gator PLTOFF Bob Carver -- remained a
mystery for 39 years until April 2009.
Under Operation Magpie Return, an
ADF team discovered the aircraft crash
site in rugged terrain near the border with
The crew's remains were repatriat-
ed to Australia in August 2009, marked
by a special ceremony at RAAF Base
Richmond attended by family, friends
and Vietnam veterans.
During their time in Vietnam, crews
from 2SQN used the radio callsign
"Magpie", reflecting the magpie lark on
the squadron's badge.
CAF said FLGOFF Herbert and
PLTOFF Carver were the last two miss-
ing servicemen to return from Vietnam,
so Magpies in Vietnam detailed an impor-
tant part of Air Force history.
"I am proud to commend this book
which honours the dedicated RAAF crew
on board the Canberra, the significant
role they played in Vietnam, and the solv-
ing of a 39-year mystery which saw two
great men finally laid to rest," he said.
"The Magpies made a significant
impact in Air Force history and this book
is also a tribute to them."
Magpies in Vietnam is available from selected
Canberra book shops.
Watching the Brits
IMPRESSIVE GUEST LIST:
Above, retired GPCAPT Doug
Hurst at the official launch of his
book, Magpies in Vietnam, and
inset, from left, CAF AIRMSHL
Geoff Brown, retired CAF
AIRMSHL Errol McCormack,
retired CAF AIRMSHL David
Evans, Mr Hurst, His Excellency
Mr Michael Bryce and VCDF
AIRMSHL Mark Binskin with
copies of the book.
Photos: David McClenaghan
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