ADF wows Skyfire crowds

An ADF aircraft and band featured in the return of Skyfire, after five years, to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin on March 16.

CAPTIONRoyal Australian Navy sailor Able Seaman Dean Hall, Australia’s Federation Guard, performs precision drill movements during a display at Canberra Skyfire 2024 at Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra. Story by Flight Lieutenant Felicity Abraham. Photos by Leading Aircraftman Ryan Howell.

Defence wowed the Canberra community with a spectacular E-7A Wedgetail flyover, while the rock band from the Band of the Royal Military College had the crowds up and dancing with modern-day favourites by Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift.

Squadron Leader Chris Tomlinson captained the E-7A flight and said it was an honour to be part of Skyfire 2024.

“Participation in flypasts involves some meticulous planning, yet is an extremely enjoyable experience, making it one of the most personally rewarding flights for a pilot,” Squadron Leader Tomlinson said.

“Myself and the crew were honoured to be flying over Canberra representing Defence, and were thrilled to see large crowds enjoying the … experience.”

CAPTIONA Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail conducts a fly over while Australia’s Federation Guard precision drill team performs during Canberra Skyfire 2024 at Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra.

Australia’s Federation Guard (AFG), made up of members from the three services, took centre stage to deliver a precision drill and gun salute.

Commander of an M2A2 Howitzer Ceremonial Gun salute Corporal Lukas Dean said he was thrilled to be participating in his first Skyfire.

“It was a real honour to demonstrate the M2A2 Howitzer to the crowd as part of Skyfire, and seeing the fireworks display first-hand was amazing,” Corporal Dean said.

Also part of the AFG was Able Seaman Dean Hall, whose experience includes being part of the Australian contingent for the King’s coronation celebrations in London.

“Having the opportunity to showcase our precision military drill movements involving spinning, throwing and catching rifles to a drum beat without drill commands at such an iconic Canberra event as Skyfire was truly an honour,” Able Seaman Hall said.

Being the ADF’s only ceremonial unit with positions equally shared between all three services, AFG conducts a number of ceremonial tasks regularly, including ceremonial welcomes for heads of state, government representatives and VIPs from all around the world.

AFG has positions available and Able Seaman Hall said they offered many opportunities.

“The cool part about being part of the Guard is that we get to travel all over Australia and overseas, participating in events that people don’t normally see and also getting to meet people from all walks of life,” Able Seaman Hall said.

CAPTIONAustralia’s Federation Guard members stand in formation during the fireworks display at Canberra Skyfire 2024, at Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra.


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