A christening of sorts has taken place at RAAF Base Amberley in a tradition that dates back to World War II when names were given to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 33 Squadron’s KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft to recognise the communities around the squadron’s home.
No. 33 Squadron is calling aircraft A39-001 to A39-007 City of Ipswich, City of Brisbane, Wivenhoe, Scenic Rim, Warrego, Willowbank, and Somerset, in that order.
Commanding Officer No. 33 Squadron Wing Commander Sarah Stalker said the names would remind crews of home when they were on deployment.
“Our personnel deploy away from the area frequently for extended periods, and over long distances, leaving our families and friends to rely on these communities for support,” she said. “When we return to RAAF Base Amberley from a mission or deployment, there are few better feelings than seeing these places from above, knowing we’ve come home. The aircraft names bring along a reminder of home with us.”
The squadron’s tradition of naming aircraft began during World War II. No. 33 Squadron formed in February 1942 with five Empire Flying Boats, previously owned by Qantas, which had the names Centaurus, Calypso, Coogee, Coolangatta, and Clifton.
Disbanded after the war, No. 33 Squadron was re-established at RAAF Base Richmond in 1983. The squadron brought back the naming tradition when it called its six Boeing 707 tanker transports City of Sydney, Richmond Town, Windsor Town, Clarendon, Castlereagh, and Wilberforce. The last of the Boeing 707s was retired at RAAF Base Richmond in June 2008, with No. 33 Squadron relocating the following month to RAAF Base Amberley.
Wing Commander Stalker said next year’s centenary of Air Force had reinvigorated interest in the squadron’s history.
“Every squadron has a unique culture that has been cultivated during its service, and the naming of aircraft is one tradition that we’re proud to continue,” she said.