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Cloudy day, bright outlook

Air Commander Air Vice-Marshal John Kindler inspects the members of the Air Force’s newest squadron, No. 278 Squadron, which was officially welcomed into service with a formation parade at RAAF Base Williamtown on July 1. Photo by LAC Steve Duncan.
Air Commander Air Vice-Marshal John Kindler inspects the members of the Air Force’s newest squadron, No. 278 Squadron, which was officially welcomed into service with a formation parade at RAAF Base Williamtown on July 1. Photo by LAC Steve Duncan.
 
Storm clouds make a dramatic backdrop as Flight Sergeant Steve Hoy raises the flag at a traditional formation parade for No. 278 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown. Photo by LAC Steve Duncan.
Storm clouds make a dramatic backdrop as Flight Sergeant Steve Hoy raises the flag at a traditional formation parade for No. 278 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown. Photo by LAC Steve Duncan.
By LACW Simone Liebelt

DESPITE wet weather at the formation parade to mark the welcome into service of No. 278 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown on July 1, the squadron’s future looks bright.

Led by the new squadron’s Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader Paul Mead, the parade – made up of 278SQN members from RAAF bases Amberley, Tindal and Williamtown – marched to the beat of the Air Command Band as a large audience watched. Air Commander Australia Air Vice-Marshal John Kindler reviewed the parade, accompanied by host officer Wing Commander Robert Wood, Commanding Officer No. 78 Wing Headquarters.

While the weather prevented a planned fly-past of a Hawk, Hornet and F-111 in formation, a single F-111 still made an impression as it flew through the low storm clouds over the parade ground. Just minutes later the storm broke, relocating the parade to a nearby hangar.

AVM Kindler commended the 278SQN personnel on their performance on parade, despite the weather, before speaking of the squadron’s role in providing technical training and operational flight training (OFT) support to Air Combat Group (ACG). An official function to celebrate the new squadron followed in the Aircraft Battle Damage Repair Training School on the base.

In 2000, 78WG reformed as a dedicated training wing, taking responsibility for Hawk and Hornet aircrew and technical training, and OFT support. Later, F-111 technical training was also transferred from 82WG to 78WG.

A review of the new arrangements, following the creation of ACG in January 2002, eventually led to the formation of 278SQN.

278SQN Commanding Officer SQNLDR Mead was the 78WG staff officer responsible for technical training and simulation. A focus group led by fellow 78WG engineer, Squadron Leader Dave McGovern, involving SQNLDR Mead and facilitated by the Williamtown Management Services Agency, recommended that the most effective way to provide Hawk, Hornet and F-111 technical training and OFT support was to form a new squadron within 78WG.

SQNLDR Mead said the formation of 278SQN would free 78WG headquarters from day-to-day management responsibilities, allowing a single focus on the provision of technical training and support.

“Formation of 278SQN will provide the people employed in ACG’s technical training flights and OFTs with clear lines of command and control and, hopefully, a sense of team unity and esprit de corps,” he said. “278SQN has developed a plan, which addresses the way we do business, how to provide the best training and OFT support and, most importantly, how best to provide for the professional and personal development of each one of our people.

“I feel extremely lucky to be appointed CO of 278SQN, and extremely proud. I admire the people whom I work with and I look forward to the next couple of years.”
 

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