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396 spreads its wing

Volume 49, No. 1, February 8, 2007
NEW BEGINNING: OC 396ECSW GPCAPT Peter Viggers, left, with former OC GPCAPT Mark Kelton at RAAF Base Darwin.
Photo by LS Ollie Garside
New structure

Units under 396ECSW are:

- HQ396ECSW (Darwin)
- 321ECSS (Darwin)
- 322ECSS (Tindal)
- 323ECSS (Townsville)
- 324CSS (Butterworth)
- Combat Support Unit Edinburgh
- Combat Support Unit Pearce
- 1CCS (Richmond)
- 1AOSS (Townsville) with detachments at several bases
- RAAF Base Learmonth
- RAAF Base Curtin
- RAAF Base Scherger
- The northern ECSS which will be formed from personnel posted to 321, 322 and 323ECSS.
THE New Year has rung in many changes. Significant among these was the renaming of 396CSW as a new expeditionary wing – 396ECSW – on January 1.

The restructuring of the wing was carried out as part of the rebalancing of the Combat Support Group (CSG). Although many of the wing’s personnel have been involved in expeditionary activities, the wing’s primary focus was on fixed-base activities. This has now changed to a more expeditionary focus, balanced with a continuing requirement to address standardisation and procedural issues at fixed Air Force bases.

The changes represent an exciting new phase in the history of 396ECSW.
The wing has changed considerably since June 2005 when it commanded RAAF bases Townsville and Darwin, the three bare bases at Learmonth, Scherger and Curtin, and 324CSS at Butterworth in Malaysia.

On July 1 2005 the wing assumed command of RAAF bases Tindal, Amberley, Richmond, Edinburgh and Williamtown. Glenbrook was added on April 1 2006, while the former Training Command bases of Williams, East Sale, Wagga and Pearce transferred to the wing on July 1.

Now, under the restructure of CSG, Williamtown, Amberley, Richmond, Wagga, Glenbrook, East Sale and Williams have been transferred to 395ECSW, while Darwin, Townsville, Tindal, Edinburgh, Pearce, Learmonth, Scherger, Curtin and 324CSS remain under 396ECSW command.

To enhance its expeditionary focus, 396ECSW also commands 1CCS at RAAF Base Richmond and the newly-formed No. 1 Airfield Operations Support Squadron (1AOSS) at RAAF Base Townsville. 1AOSS was formed by the merger of 1CLS and 1ATS.

Additionally, with the disbandment of 386ECSS at RAAF Base Richmond, a composite Northern ECSS will be formed from personnel based at Darwin, Tindal and Townsville. The three units at these bases have been renamed 321, 322 and 323ECSS.

To ensure minimal disruption to Air Force exercise activities at these northern bases, approximately 100 positions from the disbanded 386ECSS will be transferred to Darwin, Tindal and Townsville in 2008 to enable both expeditionary and fixed-base exercise commitments to be met.

The northern ECSS under the command of 396ECSW is preparing to be the on-line ECSS from July 1, 2007.

XO 396ECSW WGCDR Peter Davis said the new role and changes will provide exciting and challenging times ahead for the wing.

“The new expeditionary role for 396ECSW presents an exciting new challenge for wing personnel,” he said.

“Members in the Northern bases have embraced this new role and units are currently undertaking expeditionary training courses as well as managing day-to-day base activities.

“From a HQ396ECSW perspective, staff members are quickly learning how to manage the wing’s new expeditionary capability from a planning and tasking point of view, as well as continuing standardisation of policy and procedures for Air Force fixed bases.

“2007 will be an extremely challenging year for 396ECSW and wing personnel are highly motivated to succeed and to contribute to fixed base and expeditionary combat support.”

396ECSW will continue to take the lead on standardisation and procedural policy issues for all fixed Air Force bases and its personnel are looking forward to the additional responsibilities and challenges that the wing will face into the future.

GPCAPT Peter Viggers is the new OC 396ECSW, replacing GPCAPT Mark Kelton late last year.