- Suggy's men: RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam, 20 July 1964-8 April 1965
Suggy's men: RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam, 20 July 1964-8 April 1965
In August 1964 Australia deployed six Caribou aircraft and 76 personnel to Vung Tau, South Vietnam, as the new unit RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam (RTFV). In mid-1966 the unit was renamed No. 35 Squadron and remained in South Vietnam until February 1972. This small team of aircraft and support personnel marked the first deployment of an RAAF unit on operations since the Korean War and the first war in which Australians did not fight alongside British. With only six aircraft, Wallaby Airlines, as the unit's operation became known, notched up impressive statistics over its eight years of existence - 80,000 sorties flying 47,000 hours and carrying over 40 million kilograms of cargo.
RTFV was led for the first nine months by Squadron Leader Chris Sugden, DFC and Bar, a veteran of both the Second World War and the Korean War. Suggy was a generation older than most of hte members of his unit and so became a defacto father figure to most of them. There is also no doubt he was looked up to by all and that he enjoyed the highest respect of every member of his unit, aircrew, ground crew and support personnel, as well as the many United States and South Vietnamese personnel who came into contact with him.
This is the story, untold to date, of these first 76 members of RTVF, of Suggy and his men, how the unit came into being, and of the first nine months of its existence - a period of operations which in some ways was quite different to those of the remaining seven years the unit was deployed in South Vietnam.
Details: Non-fiction, published 2016.
Format: Soft cover, illustrations (photographs), 211 pages.
Dimensions: 29.8 cm (h) x 21.1 cm (w) x 1.3 cm (d) / 810 grams.