Description

Description: Squadron Patch – No.2 Flight, ADG Williamtown (Unofficial) – 1970s

Condition: Very Good

Comments: Squadron Patch – No.2 Flight, Air Defence Guards (Unofficial) – 1970s. Variation with a large scorpion.

The Airfield Defence Guard (ADG) mustering of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) performs specialist ground defence tasks to protect air power assets from hostile ground action. The mustering is composed of non-commissioned members, commonly called ‘ADGies,’ most of whom are employed within an Airfield Defence Squadron (AFDS). Their primary role is the protection of RAAF equipment, personnel, assets and facilities during operations. While ADGs train to counter special forces as the primary ground threat to the projection of air power, ADGs are themselves conventional forces. Other duties include training RAAF personnel in weapons handling and basic ground defence tactics.

ADGs are commanded by commissioned officers known as Ground Defence Officers (GRDEFO) who receive initial training at the Australian Army’s Royal Military College (RMC), Duntroon. Following graduation from RMC, GRDEFOs undertake the Army Regimental Officer Basic Course (Infantry) prior to RAAF-specific training at the RAAF Security and Fire School (RAAFSFS), RAAF Base Amberley.

ADGs do not operate anti-aircraft weapons, which are the responsibility of the Army’s Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery. They are comparable to the British Royal Air Force Regiment, or the United States Air Force Security Forces.

ADG Flights were deployed to South Vietnam with 2 Squadron at Phan Rang Air Base and No. 1 Operational Support Unit (1OSU) at Vung Tau. ADGs were also deployed to Ubon Air Base, Thailand to protect the RAAF detachment based there, including 79 Squadron flying Sabre jets. In Vietnam ADGs conducted both static security tasks and security patrols outside the base perimeter, thus disrupting the Viet Cong ability to conduct stand-off attacks against the bases. Corporal N.E. Power became the first airman to win the Military Medal (MM) since the Second World War for a night action on 11 February 1970, during which an enemy reconnaissance party was successfully ambushed near the perimeter of the Phan Rang base. Airfield Defence Guards also provided most of the door gunners on UH-1 Iroquois helicopters with No. 9 Squadron during the war.

When the government of South Vietnam collapsed in 1975, Australia ordered the evacuation of its embassy in Saigon. The final mission undertaken by ADGs in Vietnam was to provide security for the evacuation. The “last” evacuation aircraft was severely overloaded and four ADGs were left on the tarmac at Tan Son Nhut airfield, each armed with a pistol and four rounds of ammunition; a C-130 was diverted from Thailand to evacuate them later in the day. Over 350 ADGs served in Vietnam, six being killed in the conflict. In addition to the MM awarded to Powers, GRDEFOs and ADGs were awarded an MBE, eight mentions in dispatches and four Distinguished Flying Medals of the ten awarded to RAAF members.