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    • #258
      Matt Struthers

      Please introduce yourself to the Association Members.

      Include your time at 38 Squadron, the aircraft you operated with and the locations you operated from. Following on from here the years you were at these locations will help others to recognise whether they were there with you.

      Matt Struthers

    • #260
      Matt Struthers

      I will start you off with my 38 Squadron and Caribou history.

      38 Squadron Richmond
      I was posted from Wagga Instrument Fitter trade training straight into 38 Squadron at Richmond in 1991, 10th September to be precise, 5 days before the Squadron birthday, unbeknown to me. I worked in the Instruments workshop until the end of the year and then started in Flight Line from the following January.
      38 Squadron Amberley
      I moved with the Squadron at the end of 1992 to Amberley to start work in January 1993. I stayed at the Squadron until December 1996. My first son was born in October 1996, while Julie and I were living in our first married quarter, 38 Beaufort St, Amberley (that number 38 has popped up in our lives almost everywhere).
      ALLMSQN Richmond
      I was posted to ALLMSQN, Caribou Section (A04ILM), WEF January 1997. While there I worked with and visited both Amberley and Townsville to sort Avionics issues. I worked closely with Squizzy Taylor (I heard recently he has passed…RIP) and Bogga, from the Blackhander side. I enjoyed this posting even though when I was offered and got the posting I did not know what an LMSQN was for. I did my best to make sure everyone at the Squadrons knew what we did once I realised this. I stayed at ALLMSQN until the end of 2000, along with taking LSL that year, we also had our second and third sons while posted to Richmond.
      38 Squadron Amberley
      I was then posted back to Amberley for a short year, got my aircraft head back on and picked a promotion to SGT and a posting to Townsville. While at Amberley we also welcomed our first daughter, and last child, into the world.
      38 Squadron Det B Townsville
      WEF 28 December 2001 I was posted into the Det, along with a handful of fellow Squadron members from Amberley, to support an extra aircraft transferred up there. While I was posted here I saw PNG and the first Solomons detachment. As well as receiving the gift of Malaria from a rescue in the PNG highlands, I also discharged from here in 2004 and went back to our house at Ipswich.
      23 Squadron Amberley
      Once I was out, I joined the Reserves and continued to work on Caribous almost every second weekend for 23 SQN. This was only for 6 months and then we moved away for work.
      38 Squadron Association
      In December 2016 I was nominated as the Secretary for this Association. Knowing how important this Association felt to me, and understanding how that must flow to others with a similar feeling from working in this great Squadron, I accepted and was voted in at the Founders meeting on the 14th December 2016. Hopefully I can help to provide you all with a place to connect, organise meetups and capture the history of the Squadron.

      Matt Struthers

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Matt Struthers. Reason: Added the Association involvement
    • #273
      John Griffiths

      Richmond Caribou August 1966 to May 1968
      Straight off Pilot’s Course as a Boggie, learning the ropes from the very experienced, Vietnam veterans, Mike Lancaster and Ron Raymond. The Squadron was turning over all crew, both groundcrew, and aircrew, feeding the needs of 35 Squadron Vietnam. We flew many Army exercises in Rocky and flew to Papua New Guinea, learning to operate the Caribou in High and Hot operations. With our experience, little as it was at that stage, Vietnam was a whole lot less demanding than New Guinea.

      Papua New Guinea June ’67 to August ’67 and February ’68 to March ’68
      Operations in 38 Squadron Det A based in Port Moresby. We were working with the Army and Civil Aid. Several Search and Rescue operations later as there were many aircraft accidents in the highlands. With very few roads at that time in PNG, light aircraft were the only means of transport to get produce to the markets, supplies back to the villages and missionaries to do their work. After a very short break back at Richmond, headed off to fly the Caribou in Vietnam with 35 Squadron.

      Richmond again July 1974 to January 1978
      After a tour on C130Es and an instructional tour at Point Cook, it was back to Richmond instructing on the Caribou. Started out as a junior instructor and finishing up as the Training Flight Commander. Plenty of great flying including numerous PNG trainers and an aircraft changeover to Kashmir. Great experience. After leaving 38 in January ’78 I headed to Townsville as the Caribou Flight Commander at 35 Squadron before heading off to the USA, flying the Sabreliner on Exchange with the USAF. No further hands-on with the Caribou but it was one of the aircraft types I looked after in the USAF Safety Center. That set me up for a tour at DFS before heading back to PNG as the Commanding Officer PNGDF with our President of our 38 Squadron Association.

      After 20 odd years as an Aviation Insurance Loss Adjustor, attending many aircraft accidents I returned to the RAAF in the Active Reserve until I aged out at 68.

      A great life, thanks so much to those formative years learning the basics.

    • #836

      Early 80’s. I have been lucky enough to have had a number of associations and experiences with the Caribou. My first was while on posting to 2FTS, we had a Dak and 2 x Huey as SAR Flight and the decision was made to replace the Dak with the Caribou. It arrived and came over with a number of 38SQN óld hands’- I remember Butch Jarret well, along with Al Shaw, Bengy, Schoie, Joe Kozey etc. I was trained on the Bou and did that at Richmond. I experienced training flight, the Canary Cottage, a great social club – and left thinking I’d like to do some time at 38SQN.

      1985. My posting out of 2FTS was 35SQN and as I was already Iroquois and Caribou trade trained, all that was left to do was cross training. Wasn’t the big deal it has become these days and in a SQN like 35 it was common to travel with the aircraft and have a go at fixing most things. Like most of us I got to fly it a fair bit doing time as the autopilot – I’m told there is a rule preventing that… There were adventures aplenty and many of us just kept bumping into each other for years to come. I ended up Flight Line NCO and left 35SQN for the bright lights of HQSC, at least the promotion to SGT cheered me up a little.

      July 1987. Support Command predated SPOs and ALLMSQN and despite the reputation in the SQNs, was very enjoyable. I kept my association with the Bou by being part of the team that did a wholesale Maintenance Requirements Determination (MRD). I didn’t know it at the time but this became very handy in a future posting. It was on this posting I commissioned as an Engineering Officer and after OTS asked for a posting to any of the following – 5/9/12/35/38 SQNs. So after my RADS tour I was posted to 1OSU where I could see 35SQN, but not play. …. sheesch

      1995. Escaped 1OSU for 84WG. 84WG was what was left of the old Tactical Transport Group but at least it had 35/38 and 32 SQN to look after. A great job and came with some exciting development of the Bou – GPS, NVG, a galley! It really gelled the importance of an instep logistics support organisation, something we haven’t always achieved. The OC was a top bloke and he was a WGCDR with 3 subordinate WGCDR CO’s. It worked OK with only one particular CO being a bit uncooperative.

      2000. My 38SQN posting at last – as SENGO. I was the dog that caught the bus. Compared to my memory of 35/38 of the past, it was a shadow of an operational SQN. Very poor serviceability and not all that cheerful. We had a Timor DET and 35SQN had been wound up, along with the DETs, asset stripped and left with us. With a huge effort, we all pulled in the same direction and got the show back on the rails. Those few years are a long story but the MRD experience really paid off here as some geniuses at HQAC had retired a series of aircraft due DLM and we caught the other end of the 4 year cycle. Many DLM extension requests followed. For me, I thought I was done as I’d turned the full maintenance circle.

      2002 – 2016. Ended up at DFS and did the odd Caribou investigation, 27SQN helping with the Bou reserve workforce, RAAFSTT training the techo’s of tomorrow, DP and finally Ground Training Wing. And that’s a 39 year wrap.

      In 2009 I was at the final farewell for the old girl and saw grown men and women cry, how does a piece of machinery get under your skin like that, it was our common bond and I believe it made great people both in and out of the cockpit, on the hanger floor and support organisations. But maybe I’m biased…

    • #837

      I was posted to 38 on return from 75 Sqn Butterworth in March 1974 although I probably arrived in April. I left in July 1977 on posting back to 75 Sqn.

      During that time I spent 6 weeks with Det A in PNG (June/July 1975).

      I was a sumpy, was promoted to Cpl just after returning from Det A and my second daughter was born towards the end of 1975.

      While my time there was only less than 3 1/2 years I do have fond memories – if hazy – from the time.

      I joined the RAAF in 1967 as a member of 21 Apprentice Intake (Hedgehogs). My first posting was to Williamtown, followed by Bu, then 38, back to 75 and did the last 7 years in SupCom, discharging in Jan 87. Most of my time since then has been working in OHS until I retired in 2014. I am currently living in Sydney but planning to relocate to Ballarat towards the end of the year to be closer to family.

    • #840

      I joined the RAAF in May 1985 and trained as an Electrical Fitter, spent 4 years after Wagga Wagga at ATTU in Richmond , working on GSE , Finally after 6 years in the RAAF I was posted to a Flying Squadron, 1FTS and was allowed to work on Aircraft. After 1FTS was closed down two years later, I was posted to TAAMS in Darwin and eventually transferred to 35 Squadron Det A. Enjoyed the small team environment of working in Darwin, we worked hard and played hard.

      After 8 years it came to an end and .I was posted to 38 Squadron Amberley in Jan 2000 and promoted to Sgt. Very much enjoyed Amberley with many trips away, PNG, Solomons, Noumea and New Zealand the highlights. It was time to move again and a spot came up in Townsville which I grabbed, the chance to work in a small detachment environment again with 38 Squadron Det B this time. The four years in Townsville flew by with plenty of trips, rescues and the Squadron moving up in 2008.

      December 2008 saw my discharge from the RAAF after the dreaded offer of a posting to the deep south. Moved to Maryborough, Qld and joined Queensland Air Museum in January 2009 and have been working on their Caribou’s ever since.

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