32 Squadron celebrated its 80th anniversary in November at RAAF Base East Sale with unit members, families, local community members and previous commanding officers.
CAPTION: 32 Squadron and Squadron Leader (retd) Ted McConchie with a 100 Squadron Lockheed Hudson aircraft and 32 Squadron B350 King Air aircraft. Story by Flying Officer Ellis Mitchell. Photo by Petty Officer Richard Prideaux.
Former 32 Squadron WW2 veteran, 99-year-old Squadron Leader (retd) Ted McConchie, also joined in to celebrate and reflect on the history of the unit.
The celebrations included a static display of Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft, a flight formation flypast and a tour of a former 32 Squadron Lockheed Hudson aircraft, courtesy of 100 Squadron.
The anniversary was also marked with an evening event at the officers mess, opened by local Gunaikurnai member Aunty Lisa, with a Welcome to Country.
Awards and speeches from past and present members, including members from 32 Squadron’s sister unit in New Zealand – RNZAF 42 Squadron – followed through the night.
Guest speaker, Group Captain (retd) Peter “Stork” Cleary, who re-formed 32 Squadron in 1989, commended the squadron in supporting the ADF and reflected on his time as commanding officer.
“32 Squadron is more than just a number. It’s made up of people and characters who work together to get the job done,” Group Captain Cleary said.
The evening event highlighted current serving unit members’ efforts through awards, including the Beaufort Award, presented to Flight Lieutenant David Bolt for demonstrating the highest level of proficiency and dedication to his duties.
Army Captain Dion Benis received the Flying Officer Keith Mckay Memorial Award, representing the outstanding contribution to 32 Squadron morale and camaraderie for 2022.
Commanding Officer 32 Squadron, Wing Commander Andrew Daley, said the unit’s history was something its past, present and future members should be proud of.
“The unit was formed on the battlefield and distinguished itself admirably throughout World War Two,” Wing Commander Daley said.
“Since its re-formation in 1989, the unit has continued to evolve with changing aircraft and roles.
“Today, as per its motto, 32 Squadron remains adaptable and ready to support the ADF for another 80 years.”
32 Squadron’s history started with its hasty formation at Port Moresby in February 1942, where the squadron commenced reconnaissance and bomber operations.
32 Squadron has a significant history with WW2 battle honours in the Pacific, Coral Sea, Port Moresby, Rabaul, New Guinea and Milne Bay campaigns.
80 years on, 32 Squadron now operates a fleet of 11 Beechcraft King Air 350 and carries out a wide variety of tasks ranging from provision of pilots for mission aircrew training, image acquisition, maritime and fisheries patrols, VIP and light air mobility tasking.