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Williamtown Family Day - Friday, September 23, 2011.

3 Squadron’s 95th Birthday
Anniversary Colours Parade and Combined Family Day.

The Squadron's 95th Anniversary celebrations were held on Friday 23 September 2011, at Williamtown.  3SQN contributed to a major combined 95th Anniversary Parade, along with Nos.2 & 4 Squadrons [the two other Squadrons at Williamtown with WW1 operational heritage] followed by a combined 'Family Day' in the flight line and hanger areas.  The new Chief of Air Force and former 3SQN CO, Air Marshall Geoff Brown, was guest of honour.  Several historic aircraft were also organised for flying and static display on the day.

3SQN's new Colours are paraded in front of a WW1 Australian Flying Corps pennant while FA-18s fly past

3SQN Generations [photo: Newcastle Herald]

Jake Newham is a former 3SQN Sabre pilot in Malaya who later, as Squadron Commanding Officer in 1967, introduced the first 3SQN Mirages to service and went on to become Chief of Air Staff.
Here he reviews the parade, backed by 3 Squadron's colours, with the newly-added Battle Honours:
Malaya (Emergency) 1958-60"  and "Malaysia (Confrontation) 1963-66".

Extract from Defence News 13 October 2011:


When 2, 3 and 4 Squadrons celebrated their 95th anniversaries with a combined parade and family day at RAAF Base Williamtown on September 23rd, there was no prouder person than Commander Air Combat Group, Air Commodore Mel Hupfield.

“RAAF Base Williamtown is proud of its rich and unique history as the home to three of the Air Force’s most distinguished units, 95 years since they were formed.” said Air Commodore Hupfield.

Numbers 2, 3 and 4 SQNs were formed between September 19th and October 16th, 1916.  The three units were immediately sent to England to train as Royal Flying Corps units and later deployed to France, under the banner of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) in 1917.

Air Commodore Hupfield said the 95th anniversaries provided a unique opportunity to celebrate the rich histories of the original AFC units.

Four AFC squadrons joined the British during WWI.  Nos.2, 3 and 4 SQNs served on the Western Front, between Sept. 1917 and Nov. 1918, while No. 1 Squadron, which is now based at RAAF Base Amberley, flew against Turkish and German forces in the Middle East.  The Australian airmen engaged in photographic reconnaissance, artillery spotting, strafing and bombing raids on enemy troops and positions as well as air-to-air combat against German aircraft.

“These decorated squadrons have gone on to serve in a variety of roles since the inception of military aviation in Australia and continue to serve with a great sense of pride today.” Air Commodore Hupfield said.

Over the past 95 years the three units have served with distinction, in times of both peace and conflict.  They have fought in some of the most dangerous battles in wartime history, including operational service in the Pacific, Middle East, North Africa, Southern Europe, Malaysia and Vietnam.  Today 4 SQN has Combat Controllers and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers deployed on operations in Afghanistan.

Numbers 2, 3 and 4 SQNs reside at Williamtown, operating in the roles of airborne surveillance and control, fighter combat, combat control and joint terminal attack control.  The Air Force’s diverse history was on display at Williamtown with a 2SQN Wedgetail, 3SQN F/A-18s and a 4SQN PC-9 trainer.

Families, veterans and members took in the afternoon’s aerial displays, which included a solo Hawk display from 76SQN, a solo Hornet display from No.2 OCU and a four-ship formation display by 3SQN’s “Purple Cobras” Hornet display team.

Tom Russell, the 3SQN Association Honorary President, recited The Ode during the parade.  Retired Air Marshal Jake Newham, former Chief of Air Staff and former CO 3Sqn, spoke about the three historic squadrons and what they had achieved in years gone by.  “These distinguished squadrons are what they are today because of the aircrew who have served in times of war, but also the maintainers and support personnel who make sure the pilots have planes to fly safely” he said.  “It is inspiring to see that the heritage and traditions of these three squadrons are still upheld, 95 years since they were formed.” 

He also remarked on the unbelievable quantum leaps in technology and capability made since he was first instructed in a Tiger Moth.  “The weapons themselves are not old-fashioned bombs that you drop …and hope for the best.” AIRMSHL Newham said.  During his early years, he said 100 bombers could be sent in to destroy a bridge and still miss it; whereas today a single plane could be relied upon to take it out.


FA-18 taxies through the high-pressure water wash after completing its display

A CAC Boomerang warbird (designed by former 3AFC pilot Lawrence Wackett during WW2) taxies off the flight-line

No.2 SQN's brand-new Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft (on static display) attracted a big crowd.

Memorabilia: A 3SQN badge hand-painted by Norm French, who in 1943 created the design
that the Squadron's current logo is based upon.  The medal ribbon for Norm's "Africa Star" is attached,
with the rosette signifying service during the victorious advance from Alamein to Tunis in 1942-43.

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