TRANSCRIPT: SPEECH TO C-130H RETIREMENT PARADE
TRANSCRIPTION: PROOF COPY E & OE
DATE: 30 NOVEMBER 2012
STEPHEN SMITH: Can I say what an honour and privilege and great pleasure it is to be here today for the farewell parade for the C-130Hs?
The C-130Hs arrived here in 1978 and since that time, originally with 36 Squadron now with 37 Squadron, they have performed magnificent tasks on behalf of Australia both here an overseas.
Can I also take the opportunity of congratulating the squadron on receiving the Gloucester Cup - this is a great honour and also for receiving the maintenance award.
There's nothing quite so important as maintenance for our airlift capacity, whether it's C-130Hs, C-130Js, C-17s or, in the future, our C-27Js.
The first time I flew in a C-130H was in 1989 during the pilot strike and for many Australians that was the first real life introduction to a great platform and a great aircraft.
But, as Air Commodore Martin has said, we've seen over that 34-year span great work done in Australia's name by this squadron and the platform, whether it's been for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, overseas or in Australia itself, whether it's been for peacekeeping in East Timor or the Solomon Islands or on operations in Afghanistan or Iraq.
The squadron has performed great service, the aircraft has performed magnificently.
There's always a touch of sadness at a farewell parade when a platform is formally waved farewell but today, as has been the case for the last week or so, and we've been very pleased to see an extended farewell but over the last week or so and today there is also great pride, great pride in the knowledge that a platform has performed very well over a more than a three-decade period; great pride that the men and women of 37 Squadron have done great work over that period.
Today you can look back on your contribution with pride. You can look back at the squadron's achievement with great pride, you can also look back on the performance of the C-130Hs with great pride, fondness and no doubt a touch of sadness.
But with that touch of sadness also goes a look to the future. We are, of course, in the midst of a transformation of our heavy airlift and tactical airlift capacity.
We now move to our C-130Js. We now have six C-17s and in due course 10 C-27Js.
So there'll be plenty of work for the squadron to do into the future.
Can I again congratulate you on all of the great work you've done over the decades. Can I wish you well for the future in your work as a squadron.
We know that you are highly regarded, reflected by the two awards you've received today, let alone the commendations you've received in the last few weeks as a result of the historic passing of a great contribution.
Thank you very much.