Message to 2018 AGM
Over recent years 5 Squadron Associaton played a
central role in bringing this event to fruition on 23 March 2018. This
included arranging the supply of a Sunderland wing float for the body of
the symbolic structure.
Before he unveiled the monument Prime Minister Josiah
Voreqe Bainimarama spoke warmly of his childhood memories of watching
the Sunderlands, and of his warm acknowledgement of the importance of
those 25 years of New Zealand’s contribution to the welfare of Fiji
and its island neighbours.
Included in the 60-strong air force contingent to
Fiji were 26 association members, all but myself being Laucala Bay
In related vein, the membership donated $5,000 to
assist the restoration of NZ4115 at MOTAT. The aircraft is now inside
the main aviation display hall on Meola Road, fully repainted, and well
on the way to full refurbishment.
The association was further acknowledged during
Operation Te Auraki (the Return) when I was invited to be an official
witness on 7th May to the formal repatriation of the bodily
remains of two servicemen who had died during service in Fiji in the
Since the 2017 AGM 5 Squadron has had a busy and
eventful year of sterling service to the country.
July 2017 saw a change of command when Wg Cdr A J
Young took over from Wg Cdr D J Hunt, the latter being promoted to Base
Commander of Whenuapai. In
the same month the Minister of Defence, Hon Ron Mark, presented service
medals to 18 personnel at a parade in the hangar to celebrate the return
from Operation Takapu deployments in the Middle East. During these
deployments the squadron earned international praise for the reliabilty,
efficiency and effectiveness of its tasked missions.
Its updated sensor and communications fit has proved
to be second to none and has transformed the P-3K2, with its mission
support, into a true multi-mission platform, readily integrating with
other friendly forces.
Equipped with six aircraft and, currently, four
operational crews the unit has fulfilled a wide range of tasks including
regular South pacific surveillance missions, allied anti-submarine
exercising out of both Australia and Guam, international liaison, and
support to NZ government agencies. In
addition it trained and graduated ten more aircrew and flew 182 hours on
short-notice Search and Rescue tasks.
On your behalf I thank Peter Culpan for his sterling work as our
webmaster and committee members Greg Taylor, Neil Wright, Vern Reynolds,
Darrell Simpson, Don Bennington, Peter Burch, John Fitch, Brian
Grimwood, Grant Dowie and Des Gyde for their willing service in the
association’s interests whenever called upon. Neil, Des and Grant will
not be standing for re-election this year and can feel well satisfied
with the contributions they have each made.
let me, or any committee member, know if you become aware of a past
member of the squadron who is in ill health or has passed away.
And of families or surviving spouses who might appreciate a call
from the association. Our
Last Post page on the website is an important record for us to try to
maintain and any input to correct, or add to, the detail will be
lastly, if you do not receive your regular monthly copy of “Air
Force News”, the official magazine of the RNZAF, you may add your name
to the distribution list by email to airforcenews.mil.nz
or call the editor Rebecca Quilliam on 021 653 527.
Ragg AFC JP
27 June 2018