THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
13 October 2010
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon today honoured the contribution made by a courageous group of airforce personnel who formed the first Commonwealth unit to conduct combat missions in the Korean war, more than 60 years ago.
Mr Snowdon spoke about the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)’s No. 77 Squadron to the Korean War, during a commemorative ceremony at Point Cook near Melbourne.
The ceremony was held to unveil a new plaque in Point Cook’s memorial precinct which honours the No. 77 Squadron’s contribution and replaces a previous plaque.
Commissioned by the Korean Veterans’ Association Australia and the No. 77 Squadron Association, the new plaque includes the names of all 41 personnel of No. 77 Squadron who lost their lives.
The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin and senior retired Air Force officers, some of them veterans of the Korean War joined Mr Snowdon at the presentation.
“The courage, tenacity and dedication displayed by No 77 Squadron became well known within the Defence Force, and the Squadron was the first Commonwealth unit to undertake combat missions in the Korean War,” Mr Snowdon said.
No. 77 Squadron conducted more than 4,800 missions supporting the United Nations ground forces and targeting North Korean military installations and supply lines such as railways and roads
“In all 41, of the Squadron’s personnel died. Thirty-five of them RAAF and a further six personnel on exchange from the Royal Air Force. Seven of the Squadron’s pilots became prisoners of war.
“It is important that the sacrifices made by No. 77 Squadron and all Australian personnel in the Korean conflict be remembered and honoured. The people of the Republic of Korea live in freedom today due to their efforts,” Mr Snowdon said.
Throughout the war, more than 17,000 Australian service personnel served with honour and distinction. No. 77 Squadron was honoured by the South Korean President for exceptionally meritorious service and heroism, and 3RAR was honoured by the United States President for their extraordinary performance against the enemy near Kapyong.
Three hundred and thirty-nine Australian men and women died in the Korean War. More than 1200 were wounded, and 29 suffered the ordeal of being a prisoner of war.
Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999 (onsite)
Defence Media Liaison 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664