WALLABY AIRLINES: Members of RAAF No. 35 Squadron on parade with a Caribou aircraft in Jluy 1964.
WALLABY AIRLINES: Members of RAAF No. 35 Squadron on parade with a Caribou aircraft in Jluy 1964.

Wallaby Airlines veterans to touch down in Coffs Harbour

HUNDREDS of veterans and their families will mark 50 years since the start of "Wallaby Airlines" with a special event in Coffs Harbour.

August 8, 1964 marked the first deployment of RAAF forces in war operations since the end of the Korean War.

On that day, 34 personnel of the newly formed Transport Flight Vietnam, later to become No 35 Squadron, landed their new Caribou aircraft in the Republic of South Vietnam's Vung Tau marking the start of battlefield support operations.

The extremely wet conditions they flew through on that first day were to become par for the course and pilots became expert at landing on short and muddy airfields.

The squadron was the first to arrive and the last to leave in 1972.

RAAF forces grew to nearly 750 men as part of No 35 Squadron Caribou transports, No 9 Squadron Iroquois helicopters supporting the Australian Army, No 2 Squadron Canberra bombers a team of RAAF Fighter Pilots embedded with the USAF conducting high risk ground attack missions as well as Base Support Units.

Opal Cove resort will host a special dinner on August 9 with Air Mobility Group Commander, Air Commodore Warren McDonald and commanders and personnel from Numbers 35 and 38 Squadrons attending as special guests.

Also planned is a flypast of aircraft from the Air Mobility Group, a casual barbecue with 1960s era entertainment and seminars including advocacy, entitlement and support from Government bodies.



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