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No 36 Squadron

Formed at Laverton, Victoria in March 1942, No 36 Squadron was equipped with an assortment of aircraft including six DC 2s, two De Havilland DH 86s, a Ford Tri Motor and various other types.

After moving to Townsville in December 1942, the Squadron's aircraft were gradually replaced with the ubiquitous DC 3. Freight was continually flown to New Guinea and the first of several aircraft detachments to that combat zone commenced in 1943. These aircraft conveyed troops and freight to the forward bases, flying supply drops over difficult terrain in treacherous weather conditions.

After the Japanese surrender a No 36 Squadron detachment based at Morotai began courier runs to Japan in support of the Australian component of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. Two years later, half of the Squadron's aircrew were sent to Europe to participate in the Berlin Airlift - flying supplies to the beleaguered city.

In March 1953, No 36 Squadron was based in Japan, carrying freight to and from Korea, evacuating casualties and providing a VIP transport capability for the United Nations Command. After the armistice in July, No 36 Squadron remained in Japan supporting a continued United Nations presence in the Korean peninsula.

After returning to Australia No 36 Squadron soon took delivery of its first C-130A Hercules - becoming the first Air Force outside the United States to operate the type. One of its first missions with the new aircraft was the deployment of No 79 Squadron to Ubon, Thailand. In addition to its role as a strategic airlifter, the Hercules also proved highly suited to civil aid tasks such as fodder drops during floods, air sea rescue work and medical evacuations. With the escalating commitment of Australian forces in Vietnam during the mid 1960s, No 36 Squadron found itself operating a regular courier service to and from that country, carrying troops and equipment, and evacuating wounded soldiers back to Australia.

In 1978, after 20 years of sterling service the Squadron's 'A' model Hercules were replaced with C-130H models. The Hercules continues to play a vital role in both the defence of this country and in supporting Australian interests abroad - such as recent operations including Operation Bastille, Falconer and Catalyst in Iraq from February 2003, Operation Anode in the Solomon Islands, and assisting the civil community after the Bali bombings and the tsunami in Sumatra.

The Hercules continued to play a vital role in both the defence of this country and in supporting Australian interests abroad until November 2006 when the C-130H was handed over to No 37 Squadron ahead of the introduction of the first of four C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift aircraft which arrived in December 2006.

No 36 Squadron continues to operate the C-17 today and has achieved many milestones in its illustrious history. Missions to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) have supported ADF elements in Afghanistan, including aeromedical evacuations for wounded and injured Australian personnel. No 36 Squadron's C-17s have also provided considerable aid to the civil community, both within Australia, and overseas.

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