30 Aug 80 – RAAF provided tactical air support to Vanuatu

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On this day, No 38 Squadron Caribou A4-152 departed Richmond for Port Vila, Vanuatu to provide tactical transport support for the PNGDF’s Kumul Force.  The Prime Minister-elect of the newly-formed nation of Vanuatu (formerly the Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides), Father Walter Lini, had asked for help from members of the South Pacific Forum to quell a Francophile secessionist movement centred on the island of Espiritu Santo.  Sir Julius Chan, the PNG Prime Minister, after private talks with Lini, announced that PNG would provide a military force to put down the rebellion in conjunction with Vanuatu security forces. Supported by the ADF, an ad hoc 300-strong PNG light infantry contingent — supported by Australian-donated patrol boats and aircraft —  called Kumul Force deployed with Australian support personnel to Vanuatu.  This force backed up a 65-strong Ni Vanuatu police contingent.   Within a few days key secessionist leaders had been arrested.  Kumul Force returned to Port Moresby after six weeks on operations to a warm and triumphal welcome.


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