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March 14, 2013
Pearce helps control fire
CPL Aaron Curran
RAAF Base Pearce was a critical
hub during efforts to extinguish a
major bushfire near the base.
When fire threatened homes
and lives in Bullsbrook on
February 28, RAAF Base Pearce
opened its doors – and water
tanks – to Western Australia’s
emergency services which fought
to control the massive blaze.
With more than 150 firefight-
ers and their vehicles attempting
to control the fire in the Shady
Hills area near Bullsbrook,
airborne assets became vital,
and with the base less than 5km
away, it was a perfect place for
those aircraft to refuel and fill up
WOFF Michelle Smith, of
the Airbase Operations Support
Centre, said fire-bombing air-
craft used the base’s water to fill
up before travelling the short
distance to the fires.
“We rendered assistance
to the WA Department of
Environment Conservation water
bombers and they used our air-
field and airfield parking areas to
replenish water in their aircraft,
and refuel their aircraft includ-
ing air cranes from their portable
refuellers,” she said.
“In addition to that, our air
traffic control members assisted
with airspace coordination.”
The base’s contractors,
Transfield Firefighters, assisted
the water bombers on base with
water replenishment until the
WA Department of Environment
Conversation ground crew
“Then approval was sought to
release Transfield’s Firefighting
assets to local fire controllers in
Bullsbrook,” WOFF Smith said.
“Two fire tenders were then
sent out to the fires to assist.”
Although the base was not
directly under threat, all major
roads around it were closed
and flights cancelled due to the
absence of the fire tenders.
CO 25SQN WGCDR David
Turner said at any time the fire
tenders were available for recall.
“Although my direction was
that the local civilian popula-
tion’s safety was a priority over
aviation support duties,” he said.
“I must underline the out-
standing efforts of the base com-
mand post and operations team
during that period with their
responses and coordination of
fire-bombing assets. They were a
credit to Defence.”
TOO CLOSE: Smoke from a major
bushfire at Bullsbrook looking south
from the 79SQN flightline at RAAF
Base Pearce. Base personnel provided
vital assistance to local emergency
services in efforts to control the blaze.
Photo: FLTLT Brendon Mulloy
THE Council of the Australian War
Memorial has agreed to recognise all
members of the ADF who have died on
operational service, including non-war-
like operations, on the Roll of Honour.
The names of Defence personnel
currently recorded in the Remembrance
Book will be added to new bronze panels
to be installed on the Roll of Honour wall
in the Memorial’s Commemorative Area.
The current Remembrance Book will be
preserved in the Memorial’s National
The council has resolved to reor-
ganise the panels in the eastern cloister.
The Roll of Honour panels for post-1945
conflicts will be relocated to a position
adjacent to the end of the WWII panel.
The panel for Afghanistan will then be
placed adjacent to it on the same wall.
The panels to recognise the sacrifices
of those killed in operations of a non-
warlike nature will be placed on the end
wall of the cloister.
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Warren
Snowdon applauded the decision.
“I am pleased the council has
announced these changes,” he said. “The
council’s decision reflects the views and
expectations of many in the community
on this important issue.
“This will ensure that those who have
served our nation with distinction are
properly recognised and I know that this
decision will be of special significance for
the families involved.”
Peacekeepers to go
on AWM Honour Roll
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