Stories - Centrepiece
of a new era
new journey has begun for 36 and 37 Squadrons after more than
40 years of shared history and a successful partnership, reports
FLGOFF Eamon Hamilton.
Volume 48, No. 22, November 30, 2006
By FLGOFF Eamon Hamilton
SALUTE: 36 and 37SQNs march past in slow time as the
Escort Squadron presents arms during the Change of Command
Photo by LAC Ben Dempsterk
STAND: 37SQN clerk LACW Amelia Kelder and 36SQN pilot
FLGOFF Adam DArcy join forces on the flightline at
RAAF Base Richmond before the two squadrons part ways.
Photo by LAC Ben Dempster
HAND: FLTLTs Matthew Nunn and FLTLT Wayne Baylis from
36SQN transit to Banda Aceh airport as part of Operation
Photo by LS Phillip Cullinan
ENTRY: A 37SQN Hercules emerges from the dust after
landing in Afghanistan with a load of supplies for the Australian
Reconstruction Task Force.
Photo by CPL Ricky Fuller
FOR more than 40 years, 36 and 37 Squadrons have been synonymous
with the Lockheed Hercules and RAAF Base Richmond.
That partnership came to an end on November 17 when 36SQN bid
farewell to Richmond and relinquished its fleet of C-130Hs, ahead
of a move to RAAF Base Amberley.
All 24 of the Air Forces C-130H and C-130J models have come
under the command of 37SQN at Richmond, while 36SQN stands on
the verge of accepting its first of four Boeing C-17 Globemaster
The new era of Air Force air lift capability was celebrated with
a Change of Command Parade at Richmond on November 17, reviewed
by CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Shepherd and attended by ACAUST AVM John
Quaife, many former COs and members of both squadrons.
Personnel from 36 and 37SQNs marched before a crowd of family
members, base personnel and representatives of the 36SQN Association.
Both squadrons have forged a reputation in their support of ADF
operations as ready to go at a moments notice, and many
at the parade noted with some irony that a scheduled Hercules
fly-over of the parade was cancelled due to the ADFs rapid
deployment to Tonga.
Aside from recognising the new roles of the squadrons, the parade
was a chance to welcome new COs for both units.
Former 36SQN CO WGCDR Paul Nicholas has replaced WGCDR Tim Innes
as 37SQN CO. WGCDR Innes was promoted to GPCAPT at the parade
and will now command 84WG.
WGCDR Linda Corbould assumed command of 36SQN and was tasked to
reform 36SQN at Amberley in preparation for the arrival of the
C-17 at its new base on December 6.
After the new 36SQN was formally farewelled from the parade ground,
the remaining three flights were ordered to form 37SQN, and a
short drill manoeuvre was executed to symbolise the integration
of the C-130H and C-130J capabilities within the one squadron.
The achievement is yet another milestone for 36SQN, which became
the first foreign operator of the Lockheed Hercules in 1958
flying the C-130A at Richmond.
In 1966, 37SQN joined the ranks of Hercules operators with 12
C-130Es. Both squadrons have subsequently traded up with their
Hercules models 36SQN receiving the C-130H in 1977, and
37SQN taking delivery of the C-130J-30 from 1999.
For the past 40 years, the squadrons have fulfilled an individual
role with the Hercules 36SQN focused on tactical operations,
and 37SQN on strategic airlift.
But that paradigm shifted on November 17, and was acknowledged
Speaking at the parade, AIRMSHL Geoff Shepherd said, Today
marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of airlift
capability in the Air Force, as we reorganise two of our hardest-working
squadrons to best meet the challenges of a rapidly- changing air
As long as I can remember, and even before, the air lift
force of the Air Force has operated two C-130 Hercules squadrons
to meet the bulk of the ADFs airlift needs, he said.
It was, quite simply, a fundamental part of how we did business
in the Air Force.
By amalgamating the two C-130 types into the one squadron,
we have created a true super squadron, with 20 aircraft
and close to 500 personnel. A new era has dawned for both squadrons.
AIRMSHL Shepherd said he hoped that the remaining C-130Hs would
be retired in the near future, and be replaced with
a smaller number of C-130Js.
A snapshot of our Herculean history:
stood up at Laverton on March 11, 1942, flying Douglas DC-2
to Essendon on July 14, 1942, and tasked to transport personnel
and stores to Port Moresby.
to Townsville on November 8, 1942, and received DC-3 Dakota
aircraft January 19, 1943.
36 Air Ambulance Flight formed in November 1945 and the squadron
commenced tri-weekly services to Tokyo and Hiroshima.
disbanded on March 8, 1953, and reformed on March 9 at Iwakuni,
Japan, when No. 30 Transport Unit stood up as the new 36SQN.
to RAAF Base Fairbairn in July 1955 and then moved to Richmond
on August 18, 1958, where it received its C-130A model Hercules.
its Standard from His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on
April 1, 1971.
were replaced with C-130H model in July 1978.
stood up at Laverton on July 15, 1943, flying Lockheed Lodestar
1944, 37SQN flew into New Guinea and Dutch New Guinea. Dakotas
replaced the Lodestars in March 1945 and 37SQN commenced a courier
run between Darwin and Morotai in Indonesia.
to Schofields in July 1946 and took over the service to Japan,
as well as services to Lae and Rabaul.
disbanded on February 24, 1948.
at RAAF Base Richmond flying C-130Es on February 21, 1966, and
commenced transport flights into New Guinea and Butterworth,
37SQN C-130 was the first Australian transport aircraft into
Vung Tau on February 5, 1967, and its aircraft supported the
Australian withdrawal in December 1972.
the C-130J model in 1999.