Passing of our esteemed colleague Swervin Mervyn Mudge

The RAAF C-130 fraternity lost a good mate on Thursday 19 October 2023, , former 36SQN C-130H Flight Engineer.

Merv was the sole occupant of his Jabiru aircraft when it crashed near Warwick QLD, he was flying from his home in Bundaberg QLD to Singleton NSW to attend his granddaughter’s 12th birthday when his aircraft suffered  engine failure.

His quick wit and wicked sense of humour will be sadly missed, our lives are richer for having known him.

Some words from AVM (Retd) Greg Evans: Merv was an expert Flight Engineer and a great squadron character of the old school.  Irreverent yet dedicated, intolerant of fools yet always ready with help and advice for foolish young officers, the life of any party whether it be in a bar in Honolulu or beside a dirt runway under the wing of a Herc with Eric the Esky, totally reliable in the air and likely to be at the centre of any shenanigans on the ground.

So sorry you were taken from us while you still had so much more to give, you will be remembered by your RAAF C-130 fraternity cobber.

RAAF celebrates 65 years of C-130 Operations.

On  Friday, 8 September 2023, in excess of 140 former RAAF C-130 aircrew, maintainers and support staff gathered at the Clarendon Tavern, opposite RAAF Base Richmond NSW, to celebrate the Australian Air Force’s 65 years of C-130 Hercules operations.

The RAAF was the first international customer to fly the C-130 Hercules with the first C-130A model Hercules arriving at RAAF Richmond on 8 December 1958.

Over the last 65 years the RAAF has operated 48 varies models of the venerable C-130 Hercules accumulating in excess of 858,600 flight hours without loss of an airframe.

The various models are:

12 x C-130A 1958~1978 accumulating 148,063.6 flight hours over 20YRS.

12 x C-130E 1966~2000 accumulating 307,007.9 flight hours over 34YRS

12 x C-130H 1978~2012 accumulating 244,618.4 flight hours over 34YRS

12 x C-130J-30 1999 ~ Currently operated by 37SQN from RAAF Base Richmond NSW, having accumulated 158,375.2 flight hours over the last 24 years.

In July this year the Federal Government announced the purchase approval for 20 x C-130J-30 Hercules as replacements for and addition to the current fleet with deliveries commencing in 2027.

 

37SQN involvement in Vietnam Humanitarian Support ~ April 1975

Vietnam Veterans involved with Det ‘S’ ~ April 1975
Former C-130E Pilot Geoff Rose is requesting ex members to put forward their memories of that time, and AFA (Vic) will see if something can be done about recording ‘the factual history of end of Australia’s military involvement in the Vietnam war’. It’s a perfect opportunity since the recent ‘50th Anniversary’ services are now over.
Please email raaf37sqnassoc@outlook.com with any information.  Any additional information will ensure the ‘true’ history is disseminated and preserved.

Multi-billion dollar investment in new C-130J Hercules aircraft

24 JULY 2023
The Albanese Government has announced the purchase of 20 new C-130J Hercules aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force for $9.8 billion. This will provide the Air Force with state of the art C-130 Hercules to meet the air transport needs of the future.
The new acquisitions will replace and expand upon the 12 Hercules aircraft currently operated by Air Force with delivery of the first aircraft expected from late 2027.
There will be significant benefits for Australian industry from the expanded fleet size, with opportunities to construct facilities and infrastructure and to sustain the aircraft.
The Australian Defence Force relies on the C-130J Hercules aircraft for the deployment of personnel, equipment and humanitarian supplies. The iconic aircraft is regularly used in search and rescue missions, disaster relief and medical evacuation.
The C-130J has been involved in almost every major Defence operation in recent decades, from Bougainville assistance and Timor-Leste peacekeeping through to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. More recently the aircraft supported Australia’s response to COVID-19 in the region, delivering vaccines and medical supplies, as well bushfire and flood response.
The C-130J Hercules are made by Lockheed Martin and are being purchased from the United States.
The aircraft will continue to be operated by No. 37 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond in NSW.
   
Quotes attributable to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles MP: “The C-130J Hercules is an important capability for our defence force, but also for Australia as a nation. “From bushfire and flood emergencies across the country, the delivery of crucial supplies to the region during the COVID-19 pandemic and more than two decades supporting peacekeeping operations, this has and will continue to be a crucial asset.
“The Albanese Government is committed to ensuring the ADF is equipped with the capabilities it needs to keep Australians safe, and this targeted expansion of the fleet size will do just that.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Pat Conroy MP:
“The Government is ensuring the Australian Defence Force is equipped with brand new C-130J Hercules aircraft, and more of them, to respond to the wide range of challenges our nation will face in the future.  “Since 1999, the C-130J Hercules has served Australia across our region and beyond, proving to be a reliable workhorse in roles from humanitarian operations to conflict zones.
“Having 20 aircraft, up from 12, will mean more opportunities for local industry to sustain the aircraft, creating more Australian jobs. There’ll also be jobs associated with infrastructure redevelopments at RAAF Base Richmond.”

2023 ~ RAAF C-130s celebrate 65 years of Operations

The RAAF C-130 Hercules story began in 1954.

After WWII AVM Alister Murdoch led an investigation to identify a future cargo aircraft to replace the venerable C-47 Skytrain / DC-3 Dakota which had been Australia’s Defence Force mainstay transport aircraft since 1943. The ‘new’ Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft was identified as that replacement, most suitable for the RAAF’s future requirements.

On the 8th September current and former ADF members will gather at the Clarendon Tavern, opposite RAAF Base Richmond NSW, to reminisce and exchange stories about the last 65 years of RAAF C-130 Hercules transport aircraft operations.

Our association cordially invites C-130 A to J Aircrew, Maintenance personnel plus ANY support staff who have contributed to those 65 years of RAAF C-130 operations to gather at the venue for the celebration.

Further information and booking details are available at https://www.trybooking.com/CFHYR

From the Air Force Facebook site:
This year #AusAirForce celebrates 65 years of operating the C-130 Hercules.
The C-130 platform has long been the backbone of RAAF air transport and has played a significant role within No. 36 Squadron and No. 37 Squadron, operating from RAAF Base Richmond.
Collectively, the suite of C-130 Hercules used by Air Force has impressively flown more than 850,000 hours:
C-130A (1958 to 1978) – 148,063.6 hours
C-130E (1966 to 2000) – 307,007.9 hours
C-130H (1978 to 2012) – 244,618.4 hours
C-130J (1999 to present) – 156,857.3 hours
To commemorate 65 years of C-130 Hercules operations, the 37 Squadron Association will be hosting a function on September 8. The event will celebrate and bring together members both past and present who contributed to the operation of all C-130 Hercules variants throughout the last 65 years, and honour not merely an aircraft, but a symbol of Australia’s commitment to service, humanitarian assistance and global cooperation. For further details contact the 37 Squadron Association.

 

Air Force fleet of C-130 Hercules attain 850,000 Flight Hours

Extract from Air Force News, 17 February 2022 ~ Eamon Hamilton

The Air Force surpassed 850,000 flying hours with the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft on January 21, 2022. The milestone was achieved by a 37SQN crew flying a C-130J Hercules from RAAF Base Richmond to Amberley.

A commemorative medallion was designed and produced by the No. 37 Squadron (RAAF) Association to celebrate the event.  It can be purchased via the on-line shop link on the menu above.

Since 1958, generations of Air Force aviators flying four different variants of the Hercules have provided airlift support to Defence. CO 37SQN WGCDR Anthony Kay said the 850,000-hour milestone was passed during a mission for Operation Tonga Assist 22. “It comes as no surprise that this milestone should occur during a mission to provide important assistance to our Pacific family,” WGCDR Kay said.

A C-130J Hercules aircraft, bound for Tonga, loaded with humanitarian assistance and relief supplies departs RAAF Base Amberley. “Generations of our Hercules workforce have carried urgent relief supplies over long distances to remote airfields, often at short notice, and for long periods away from their family.

“The impressive scope of what we’ve achieved within those 850,000 hours is a testament to the service of thousands of people who have crewed RAAF Hercules and kept them flying.”

The aircraft that flew the 850,000th hour – serial A97-467 – was one of 12 C-130J Hercules that has operated from RAAF Base Richmond since 1999.

 

The current fleet was preceded by 12 C-130As from 1958 to 1978; 12 C-130Es from 1966 to 2000; and 12 C-130Hs from 1978 to 2012.

A  Lockheed C-130A Hercules A97-206  showing the original configuration, prior to the side cargo door being permanently sealed due to failure during flight which caused the deaths of USAF personnel seated in side door seating area.

Throughout those 850,000 hours – the equivalent of more than 97 years airborne – aviators have flown Hercules missions to every continent, including Antarctica. “It’s probably not really possible to properly determine the distance our crews have travelled since 1958, or the amount of cargo they have carried in that time,” WGCDR Kay said.

“The number of passengers carried runs into the millions, and includes Defence personnel on operations, civilian communities, heads of government, celebrities, and even animals requiring urgent air transport.

“A considerable number of Australians, whether they are Defence or civilian, have either flown on a RAAF Hercules, or been the recipient of aid delivered by one of our aircraft.”

The passenger experience of flying inside a Hercules has remained largely consistent since 1958, but in recent years the fleet has been upgraded to deliver greater connectivity. This improves the airlift support available to Defence and has modernised opportunities for those on board. “Crew and passengers flying on future Hercules missions can conduct mission planning and remain globally connected throughout their flight, wherever they may be deployed,” WGCDR Kay said.

“These upgrades will inform not only how we operate the Hercules, but how we may also upgrade and develop other air mobility platforms into the future.”

 FLYING HOURS

  • C-130A (1958 to 1978) – 148,063.6 hours.

  • C-130E (1966 to 2000) – 307,007.9 hours.

  • C-130H (1978 to 2012) – 244,618.4 hours.

C-130J (1999 to Present) – 150,310.1 hours*.

*As of January 21, 2022.

*As of January 21, 2022.

Former 37SQN CO Darren Goldie appointed ACAUST

Former 37SQN Commanding Officer (2012-15) now AVM Darren ‘Golds’ Goldie assumed the Air Commander Australia (ACUST) role on 7 April 2022, the first transport (trash hauler) Pilot appointed to the position.

Air Vice-Marshal Goldie joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1993 and attended the Australian Defence Force Academy. Following pilot training, Air Vice-Marshal Goldie flew C-130 E, H and J model Hercules on Operations in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was an A Category Captain and has 5,000 flying hours.
Air Vice-Marshal Goldie was Commanding Officer No. 37 Squadron in Sydney from 2012 to 2015 and Officer Commanding No. 92 Wing in Adelaide in 2017 and 2018.
His staff appointments include Aide de Camp to the Chief of the Defence Force, Staff Officer VIP Operations, Director Military Strategic Commitments and Director General Air Combat Capability. In 2020-21 he was seconded to International Division at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet where he provided strategic foreign policy advice to Government.
Air Vice-Marshal Goldie received an Australia Day Medallion in 2007 for his work as a Flight Commander at 37 Squadron, a Conspicuous Service Cross in 2012 for his tenure at VIP Operations and was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to Air Mobility in 2015. He also captained a crew that received a Chief of Joint Operations Gold Commendation for the rescue of an international sailor over 1,000km south of Tasmania.
He has a Bachelor of Science from ADFA, a Masters of Management from UNSW and a Masters of Strategic Studies, obtained on posting to US Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama.
He is married to Squadron Leader Kirsty Goldie, an Air Force Nurse, and has two teenage children. His interests include rugby, test cricket and wine.
Air Vice-Marshal Goldie joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1993 and attended the Australian Defence Force Academy. Following pilot training, Air Vice-Marshal Goldie flew C-130 E, H and J model Hercules on Operations in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was an A Category Captain and has 5,000 flying hours.
Air Vice-Marshal Goldie was Commanding Officer No. 37 Squadron in Sydney from 2012 to 2015 and Officer Commanding No. 92 Wing in Adelaide in 2017 and 2018.
His staff appointments include Aide de Camp to the Chief of the Defence Force, Staff Officer VIP Operations, Director Military Strategic Commitments and Director General Air Combat Capability. In 2020-21 he was seconded to International Division at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet where he provided strategic foreign policy advice to Government.
Air Vice-Marshal Goldie received an Australia Day Medallion in 2007 for his work as a Flight Commander at 37 Squadron, a Conspicuous Service Cross in 2012 for his tenure at VIP Operations and was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to Air Mobility in 2015. He also captained a crew that received a Chief of Joint Operations Gold Commendation for the rescue of an international sailor over 1,000km south of Tasmania.
He has a Bachelor of Science from ADFA, a Masters of Management from UNSW and a Masters of Strategic Studies, obtained on posting to US Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama.
He is married to Squadron Leader Kirsty Goldie, an Air Force Nurse (former C-130 Loadmaster), and has two teenage children. His interests include rugby, test cricket and wine.

 

FIRST AUSTRALIAN EVACUATION FLIGHT OUT OF KABUL ~ 18 August 2021

Well done 37SQN ~ ‘FOREMOST’
The first Australian Defence Force evacuation flight has departed Kabul with 26 evacuees on board.

Photo by SGT Glen McCarthy ©Commonwealth of Australia

The RAAF C-130J Hercules landed at Hamid Karzai International Airport overnight and departed safely with all available and willing Australian citizens and visa holders who were at the airport.
The evacuees were taken to a temporary evacuation holding centre at Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East for medical support and further screening.
Australian government officials on the ground are working to facilitate the safe movement of designated evacuees for subsequent flights.
A KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft arrived in the Middle East yesterday and will commence air-to-air refuelling operations with partner nations in the coming days.
Two C-17A Globemasters from 36SQN have also departed and, by the end of today, the majority of the more than 250 personnel being deployed in support this mission will have arrived in the Middle East.
Defence is taking all necessary precautions to protect its people and those designated for evacuation.
The mission will be constantly assessed and adjusted to cater for the latest developments

No. 37 Squadron ~ 55 Years of C-130 Operations function 16 July 2021

 

No. 37 Squadron ~ 55 Years of C-130 Operations function

POSTPONED until MARCH 2022

In this year of the Air Force 2021 Centenary, 37SQN will celebrate 55 years of C-130 Operations.

Actually, out of those 100 years, the RAAF has operated C-130 Hercules medium lift transport aircraft for 63 years, with the first C-130A arriving at RAAF Richmond in 1958. The Australian Air Force was the first foreign country to be granted approval by the USA to operate the aircraft., which we have done over all those years without a major mishap resulting in loss of an airframe.

The 12 x C-130A airframes, operated by No. 36 Squadron, were decommissioned in 1978, replaced by the upgraded C-130H model, again operated by 36SQN.  In November 2006 the 12 x C-130H aircraft were transferred to the operational control of 37SQN.  With the squadron now operating 12 x C-130H and 12 x C-130J-30 airframes the unit became the largest in the Air Force comprising approx 750 personnel.

The H model airframes were decommissioned in 2012.

No. 37 Squadron received their first of 12 C-130Es in August 1966, all of which remained in service until decommissioned in 2000 after 34 years without loss of an airframe. The C-130Es were replaced by, commencing in 1999, 12 x C-130J-30 stretched Hercules airframes which remain in service to this current day.

37SQN’s 55 years of accident free C-130 Hercules transport aircraft is an outstanding tribute to the professionalism and expertise passed down through the generations of aircrew, maintenance personnel and support staff who have contributed to those 55 years of operation without loss of a single airframe, a magnificent achievement envied by C-130 operators worldwide.

The No. 37 Squadron (RAAF) Association, in conjunction with 37SQN, are hosting a function on Friday, 16 July, to celebrate the unit’s 55 years of C-130 Operations (POSTPONED  until MARCH 2022 due to the NSW COVID-19 situation.) Details available at www.trybooking.com/BNVRP

 

 

 

Handover of command ~ No. 37 Squadron

Friday 11 December 2020 saw the handover of command of 37SQN from WGCDR Ben Christie (Assoc member #288) to WGCDR Tony Kay (Assoc member #222).

 

I attended the ceremony and presented the outgoing CO with a C-130J print that highlighted 37SQN’s milestones 2018 ~ 2020. Those milestones included the squadron’s 75th Anniversary and the RAAF’s 60 years of C-130 Operations, both in 2018 plus the squadron’s 20 years of C-130J operations in 2019.

Outgoing Commanding Officer No. 37 Squadron, Wing Commander Benjamin Christie (left) receives a memento from President, No. 37 Squadron (RAAF) Association, Colin Coyne at the 37SQN Change of Command ceremony, at RAAF Base Richmond.
The No. 37 Squadron (RAAF) Association express our appreciation for the courtesy and assistance provided by WGCDR Christie during his tenure and look forward to ongoing cooperation from WGCDR Kay in the future.