Faces of Air Force tell inspirational stories

The RAAF Museum at RAAF Base Point Cook told the Royal Australian Air Force story through the service’s people in an exhibition at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon, Victoria.

CAPTION: VIP guests during the reopening of the RAAF Museum at RAAF Base Point Cook in Victoria. Story by Flight Lieutenant Karyn Markwell. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Annika Smit.

The large-scale Faces of Air Force exhibition, featuring touchscreens with interactive content about the men and women who have served in all Royal Australian Air Force roles over time, was formally opened by the Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Robert Chipman at the start of the air show, on 28 February.

He also opened the museum’s Strike Hangar on 26 February, in the lead-up to the air show.

In opening the Faces of Air Force exhibition, Air Marshal Chipman said the pavilion represented a journey through more than 100 years, “where ordinary people have stepped into extraordinary roles, building our air force and our culture”.

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CAPTION: The Defence Force Faces of Air Force exhibit at the Australian International Airshow 2023 at Avalon, Victoria. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Annika Smit.

Director-General of History and Heritage – Air Force Air Commodore Robert Lawson said each of the themed stories in the exhibition, designed by Freeman Ryan Designs, was different.

“But one thing they all share in equal measure is a deep and abiding dedication and commitment to nation, family and mates, and a willingness to pay whatever price the defence of that nation and those loved ones might require,” Air Commodore Lawson said.

“These are the kinds of stories that we love to tell and that members of the Australian public and our serving and ex-serving aviators love to hear.”

One visitor, who attended the exhibition with his school-aged children, said they had stuck their heads in for a quick look but ended up staying for almost an hour.

“One of my boys dreams of being a pilot and now we know more about how that might look in the Royal Australian Air Force,” he said.

Meanwhile, the RAAF Museum’s Strike Hangar now displays F/A-18A Hornet A21-043 alongside F-111G A8-272 (known as ‘the Boneyard Wrangler’) and Canberra Mk.20 A84-236, brought to life with a theatrical sound-and-light show and multimedia storytelling by the people who flew and maintained the aircraft.

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CAPTION: Former Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, left, and Royal Cambodian Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Soeung Samnang take part in a smoking ceremony at the reopening of the RAAF Museum. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Annika Smit.


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