Vol 6

Page 10


Det A.


One of the better detachments in the late 60’s, early 70’s was surely 38Sqn’s Det A in Port Moresby. Prior to independence, PNG was a good training ground for 38Sqn and 3 Caribous were stationed at Moresby on a permanent basis. The Army thought likewise and based a detachment of their Light Aircraft (Cessna 170’s) alongside the RAAF. Base of operations was 3 Kingstrand unlined aluminium huts, which in the hot tropical sun would have an internal temperature of about 10 million degrees by mid afternoon, every day. Apart from training pilots who got to fly the aircraft over very inhospitable terrain and in some very heavy weather, it was good training for the ground crews who were all “cross trained”. Queer trades were all trained Radio/Elec/Inst. Engine/Airframe blokes were also cross trained.


After preflighting the aircraft and seeing them off, a normal day was spent waiting around for their return. As all component servicing was done at Richmond, all U/S equipment was boxed and sent south for repair. It was logical therefore, instead of just sitting around or playing darts, ground crews normally went with the aeroplane for the day. It was a great way to see the country.


“Home” for 3 months—the Kingstrand hut furthest from camera was 16 Army Light Aircraft (16ALA) HQ.


PNG weather patterns are no different from any other tropical area and during the summer months (the wet), the weather would close in each afternoon. You could see the build-ups starting to develop around 2pm each day, and by 4pm you normally had a full blown thunderstorm. It was prudent to be on the ground when this occurred, so normally days started and finished early. The Mendi, Tari, Hagen triangle (5631 country) was not a good place to be flying late in the afternoon—was it Les?


Groundies were based at Murray Barracks, Boroko, 4 miles out of Moresby, while the Sirs were stationed at Turama. Food which was cooked and served up by the local PNG Army blokes was excellent. The only form of transport into such important places as the Ela Beach RSL (since burnt down) and the Aviat Club, apart from a PMV, was a Mark 3 army truck. Normally this would be swiped and driven into town and backed into the bushes (hidden) beside the ComBank girl’s hostel.



Unloading rice at Tari in the Western Province of PNG. One great long “Conga” line from aircraft to store got the job done in no time.



Nearly everyone who went to Det A bought back at least one 16in desk fan from the Chinese trade stores in Boroko. At the time these were either unobtainable or prohibitively expensive in Australia, so you bought one for yourself, and one for your mate back home.







Well—what can we say?  Once again the response to our competition was to quote an often overworked word—FIERCE. Seems the message is now out, we really do award the lucky winner an unopened bottle of Sparkling Rinegolde. It seems that everyone thought it was only a myth, no-one actually believed that the little old Radschool Association would have the affront to offer such a splendiferous wine as a prize. Normally prizes for this sort of competition are in the order of a 380SEL Mercedes or the like, but not the Radschool Association—not sir, we go for the big stuff. We give away one of the most sought after wines in the whole universe. And give away another one we have. But before we mention who the winner is and completely ruin the man’s life as he gets transformed instantly into the hectic life of a famous celebrity, we should tell you the answer to the question. The question was “What do ‘Laramie’ and ‘A Fist full of Dollars’ have in common” . This was a toughie because there were really a couple of correct answers. The one we were looking for was “They both starred Clint Eastwood”, but a few answered “They were both westerns”, which of course they were, so we accepted those answers as well. A few answered “Don’t have the faintest idea”,  which we reckoned was pretty close, so we gave them 1 point for trying and accepted those answers as well - you’ve got to be fair in these things don’t you?? Anyway, we put all the correct answers in a hat and drew the lucky winner who this time is Ted McEvoy (14 Appy) from Roleystone in the West. Armed guards have already delivered the prize and the equally prestigious certificate of merit across the Nullarbor.


OK!, so here is this issue’s question. We thought it only fitting to bring the questions back to radio type stuff so as to snooker the sumpies and framies who might try and muscle in on our competition and try and win it—so the question this time is ‘What is the significance of an RYRYRY message?”.  That’ll stump them, you wait and see. As always send your written answers to us any way you like, email, fax, post - but please don’t ring. Entries should be in by the end of Oct 2000, and once again we’ll announce the lucky winner in our next edition. Judge’s decision etc etc etc...… Go to it.



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