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RAAF Williamtown
3 Squadron 94th Birthday Air-Show -  Family Day, Friday 17-9-2010

TV Coverage

The spectacular Williamtown 2010 air-show celebrated 3 Squadron's "94th Birthday" (the anniversary of the formation of the Squadron during WWI, on 19 September, 1916).  The Squadron generously invited Association members to participate in their "Family Day".  Everyone enjoyed the birthday celebration (cutting a huge cake iced in "Air Force Blue"!), as well as a BBQ lunch,  and watched the flying display and equipment displays being put through their final practice before the two big "public" days on the following Saturday and Sunday (which each attracted bumper crowds).

93-year old Tom Russell - who is only slightly younger than  the Squadron itself
- prepares to cut the cake with the Squadron's youngest serving member.

Family Day Speech by WGCDR Terry Van Haren

Today we are on the eve of two very special occasions:

The first is the RAAF Williamtown Air Show – the first in 25 years at this base; and that has given us the opportunity to welcome you, our family, here to view the final rehearsals of the fantastic displays that will occur on the weekend, including the arrival of a great variety of military aircraft.

The second occasion is 3 Squadron’s 94th Birthday, which occurs on 19 September, with the anniversary of 3 Squadron’s formation at Point Cook in 1916.

Last year I spoke about the character and history of this fine Squadron, but today I want to talk about something else.  - Something that I have learnt in my time spent with the 3 Squadron Association, some whom are here today.  And the late Mr Peter Cuthbert said it best, that:

“3 Squadron is a family; and like a family, once you have been a member of this Squadron, it is with you for a lifetime.” 

That is because there is a special bond within the Squadron that dates way back to WW1 and WW2.  The traditions established in those days are the ones we continue today.  They are the commitment to get the job done - despite the odds - despite often being deployed a long way from home.

We have many things on display today – our aircraft, equipment and our facilities.  But the most important things on display today are our people, current and former serving members.  The most precious of those people are our veterans and I would like to introduce a few:

Tom Russell
Reg ‘Slim’ Moore
John O’Rielly
Gordon Steege

We are honoured they are able to join us.  If you get the chance, have a talk to these guys and get an insight into what it was like back then and why 3 Squadron has this special character.

Now to the families of our current members – you must all feel like in-laws in this big family through your association with the 3SQN people.  Well let me say that we cherish your love and support in what we do.  I know I cannot do my job without the love and support of my family and especially my beautiful wife Rhonda.  I hope you enjoy the day and get the same feeling we do in being part of a great fighter squadron.

The weather was perfect and the displays were great.  They will have made a huge contribution to Air Force recruiting and public goodwill. 

One of the missiles on static display

3 Squadron's "Purple Cobras" thrill the crowds, led by Terry van Haren.  (Photo: Tomas Paff.)

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