THREE of the oldest serving Wings in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have celebrated their 70th anniversaries with a parade at Williamtown.
NSW Governor Marie Bashir was the guest of honour at the parade at Williamtown RAAF Base, which began at 11am on Friday, and was attended by hundreds of current and former serving members.
Wings, 41, 42 and 44 were formed during the period of 14 December 1942 to 26 February 1943 as Radar units during World War II.
Stanley Burge, 87, served in the 44 Wing and was stationed on Melville Island, off the coast of the Northern Territory, during WWII. During this time the radar sites acted as an early warning system for Japanese air raids.
‘‘It brings back a lot of memories,’’ Mr Burge said while watching the parade on Friday.
‘‘At the end of the war there were many victory parades. I feel very proud to have served.’’
Current number 41 wing commander Richard Pizzuto, said members of the 41, 42 and 44 Wings continue to serve in Australia and overseas with a great sense of pride.
‘‘The 44 Wing has personnel in Afghanistan and there are four guys from the 41 Wing in the middle east serving at a US air force facility,” Group Captain Pizzuto said.
“These three Wings are the oldest serving Wings in the Air Force but they operate some of the newest capabilities today.’’
Dr Bashir thanked current and former members on Friday, saying ‘‘their nation Australia is grateful and proud of them’’.
Following the parade, an F/A-18 Hornet conducted a flypast and a family open day featured displays from all three Wings, including an E-7A Wedgetail aircraft.
Number 41 Wing was formed in New Guinea on 26 February 1942 and was involved in a number of major battles including Milne Bay and Port Moresby.
Number 42 Wing was formed on 1 February 1943 at Townsville, and Number 44 Wing was formed on 14 December 1942 at Adelaide River, Northern Territory.