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RAAF Hercules squadron celebrates its 75th anniversary

July 13, 2018 (by Eamon Hamilton) - The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has celebrated the 75th anniversary of No. 37 Squadron with a spectacular formation flypast of Sydney on July 13.

A formation of RAAF C-130J hercules fly over the Sydney region as part of the 75th Anniversary of No. 37 Sqn on July 13, 2018. [Photo by CPL David Gibbs, © Commonwealth of Australia, DoD]

Seven C-130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron departed from their home at RAAF Base Richmond, flying in a formation over Sydney Harbour and the Hawkesbury area, before returning to land.

No. 37 Squadron was established in Melbourne on 15 July 1943, and since 1966, the squadron has been based at RAAF Base Richmond. Wing Commander Matt Cooper, Commanding Officer of No. 37 Squadron, said the unit had spent much of the last 75 years supporting Defence on operations around the globe.

“It’s a rare occasion that we’re able to have seven aircraft together to fly this formation, and this is our opportunity to say ‘thanks’ to the wider Sydney community for its support throughout our history,” Wing Commander Cooper said.

“Our squadron is a critical part of how Defence personnel are delivered to a frontline, sustained throughout their operation, and returned home safely.”

“This role also extends to supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, which includes flying search and rescue and aeromedical evacuation missions.”

During the Squadron’s history, it has supported post-war forces in Japan; delivered the first aid flight into Darwin following Cyclone Tracy; and carried payloads ranging from the Popemobile and Jackson Pollocks’ ‘Blue Poles’.

Recent examples of No. 37 Squadron’s work include Australia’s response to the Bali Bombings and 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, flood and cyclone relief in Queensland, and airdropping humanitarian aid to Iraqi civilians fleeing Daesh terrorists.

No. 37 Squadron has maintained a continuous deployment of two Hercules and personnel in the Middle East Region since 2006, carrying Australian Defence Force personnel throughout the theatre.

“The nature of our work – whether it’s supporting disaster relief efforts, or Australian forces abroad – often requires our people to be sent away at short notice and for long periods,” Wing Commander Cooper said.

“On July 14, we’ll host a Family Day at RAAF Base Richmond for the 410 members of our squadron, which will be followed by a Reunion of up to 500 past and present members that evening.”

“This anniversary is our opportunity for us to say ‘thank you’ to our families, past and present members, and the wider public for their support over the last 75 years.”

Courtesy of RAAF Air Mobility Group

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A formation of RAAF C-130J hercules fly over the Sydney region as part of the 75th Anniversary of No. 37 Sqn on July 13, 2018. [Photo by FSGT Glen McCarthy, © Commonwealth of Australia, DoD]

RAAF 37 Squadron aircrew are seen posing for a photograph after flying C-130J Hercules in formation over Sydney as part of the Squadron's 75th Anniversary. [Photo by CPL Casey Forster, © Commonwealth of Australia, DoD]