Plaque honours radar crews

Plaque honours radar crews

A plaque was unveiled at RAAF Base Darwin on Remembrance Day to honour RAAF radar personnel who have served in the northern areas of Australia and beyond.

Air Force personnel from No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit (114MCRU) were joined by RAAF Radar Association members and veterans at the unveiling ceremony.

The plaque acknowledges those who served in the south-west Pacific area in World War II, those who served in Malaya and Butterworth from 1958 to 1966 and those who served at all other RAAF radar stations through the top end from 1942 to 1945.

Using the call sign Taipan, 114MCRU has a long and illustrious battle history resting on the shoulders of the women and men maintaining, deploying and operating the radar, and control and surveillance systems necessary to ensure the sovereignty of the airspace within which Australia and its Allies operated.

Since 1943, Taipan has been the only ground-based command and control unit that has been awarded battle honours – Pacific (1943-44), New Britain (1943), New Guinea (1943-44), Borneo (1945), and Malaysia (1963-66). 

After World War II, 114MCRU provided deployable air surveillance and air battle management in the Malayan Emergency, Indonesian Konfrontasi, as well as on Operation Slipper in Afghanistan. 

The unit has deployed on numerous defence operations closer to home, including in Papua New Guinea in 2018 in support of the APEC summit.

At the Remembrance Day commemoration service and memorial unveiling, a flight of 114MCRU personnel was positioned between the two Bloodhound missile gate guards at RAAF Base Darwin with the unit’s colours on display. 

Senior Australian Defence Force Officer RAAF Base Darwin Wing Commander Andrew Anthony, Base Manager RAAF Base Darwin John Cox, Commanding Officer No. 452 Squadron Wing Commander Andy Hoare, and friend of the RAAF Radar Association Leslie Stowers all attended the unveiling. 

Commanding Officer 114MCRU Wing Commander Sean Gell and a representative from the RAAF Radar Association Kevin Funnell addressed the socially distanced gathering, speaking of the significance of the memorial.

The ceremony coincided with 114MCRU’s tactical air defence radar system departing in convoy for an upcoming exercise, passing by the parade at the time the Ode was read and a minute’s silence held.

“The perfectly timed RAAF radar drive-by sent tingles down the spines of those present,” Wing Commander Gell said.

“It was a privilege to honour the radar men and women of the north with this ceremony and plaque as an enduring reminder of their important service contribution.”

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