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RAAF’s longest continuously-serving squadron marks 70th anniversary

written by WOFA | September 16, 2013

A King Air 350 of 38SQN flying over Magnetic Island. (RAAF)

No. 38 Squadron, the RAAF’s longest continuously serving operational squadron, is marking its 70th anniversary this month.

Formed at RAAF Base Richmond on 15 September 1943, today the squadron operates a fleet of eight King Air 350 aircraft from RAAF Base Townsville providing airlift services within Australia and the immediate region.

Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown congratulated all those who have served with 38SQN for their achievements.

“Over the last 70 years, No. 38 Squadron has worked continuously to support both peacetime and military operations, from supporting troops on the frontline to providing much-needed relief following disasters.” Brown said.

“This anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate No. 38 Squadron’s achievements, as well as remember those who paid the ultimate price and lost their lives in the squadron’s service.”

Commanding Officer of 38SQN, Wing Commander Stewart Dowrie, explained the unit has come full circle since its establishment in 1943.

“On our formation, our role was to transport essential defence personnel and light cargo across Australia and into New Guinea, and this is effectively the role we perform today,” Dowrie said.


“No. 38 Squadron was initially equipped with the Lockheed Hudson as a light transport, and later replaced these with Douglas Dakotas that were flown until 1973.

“In 1964, the squadron began a 45-year legacy of flying the Caribou, an aircraft renowned for its short take off and landing capability.”

38SQN crews have supported defence operations around the globe, including airdropping supplies to Australian Diggers in New Guinea and contributing crews during the Berlin Airlift. It has also supported peacekeeping operations in East Timor, the Solomon Islands, and along the Indian/Pakistani border.

“The No. 38 Squadron motto is ‘Equal to the Task’, which is an enduring theme of our 70 years of service,’ Dowrie said.


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