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Major changes in organisation and training for the citizen air force



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983 FOR PRESS r■'. r) Statement by the Hon F.M. Osborne, Minister for Air FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, WEDNESDAY. DECEMBER 2. 1959 -

Major changes in the organisation and training for the Citizen

Air Force were announced in Canberra today by the Minister for Air, Mr. F.M.

Osborne.

The announcement followed a statement last week by the Minister

for Defence that the CAF squadrons would give up their flying role shortly to

concentrate on other duties.

Mr. Osborne explained that the great complexity of modern aircraft

made it impracticable to train Citizen Air Force pilots in their spare time to

fly these aircraft, and that the decision had been reluctantly reached that

flying training would have to be given up.

The very high performance and complicated nature of m o d e m opera­

tional aircraft made great demands on pilots and required very high standards,

which could only be maintained by full time training.

The introduction of missiles (the Air Force has announced its

adoption of the Bloodhound surface-to-air guided weapon) will demand increasing

numbers of highly qualified reservists in that field.

These developments had made it necessary to change the role of the

CAF squadrons and it was intended that they would concentrate in future on

training reservists in important tasks required to be done in war or emergency in

support of the flying squadrons or missile units. *

Mr. Osborne said that the new scheme fitted in with the general

pattern of Air Force re-organization, which gave emphasis to mobile, highly

trained forces armed with modern equipment and supported by readily available

voluntary reserves.

WILL BECOME "AUXILIARY" SQUADRONS

The CAF squadrons will continue as units of Operational Command,

which will also be responsible for the direction and co-ordination of all their

activities.

While all squadrons will retain their present titles, the word

11 Auxiliary" will be substituted for "Fighter"; eg, the Adelaide CAF squadron

will be titled "No 24 City of Adelaide (Auxiliary) Squadron".

(MEMO FOR CORRESPONDENTS --- No 21 City of Melbourne (Auxiliary) Squadron1 No 22 City of Sydney (Auxiliary) Squadron; No 23 City of Brisbane (Auxiliary) Squadron; No 25 City of Perth (Auxiliary) Squadron.)

Each siuadron will have a CAF Commandant, whose appointments will

be announced later, and the squadron commanding officers will be experienced

General Duties Permanent Air Force members, assisted by a permanent staff of

from four to eight officers and NCOs.

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Squadrons will remain in their present headquarters, with the

exception of No 24 Squadron, for which accommodation will be found in Adelaide.

The re-organisation of Nos. 22, 23 and 24 Squadrons is expected

to be completed by March 1960 and that of Nos 21 and 25 Squadrons by May 1960.

RANGE OF DUTIES TO BE DECIDED

Mr. Osborne said that the precise range of duties for which

reservists would be trained had not yet been fully determined, and this would

need more working out in practice.

It was expected that it would cover the whole range of operational

and other tasks performed on the ground. These included aerodrome control,

maritime headquarters staff, aircraft and engine maintenance, scientific and

medical services, intelligence, and particularly the manning and maintenance

of radar control and reporting units and guided weapons systems.

All of these tasks were potentially within the range of the future

reservists.

CAP training would normally be held once a month, at weekends, on

a squadron basis, and in addition individuals would be attached periodically

for short periods of continuous training to one or other of the Permanent Air

Force units.

Mr. Osborne appealed to serving members of the present Citizen

Air Force squadrons to continue serving in the new Auxiliary Squadrons.

He hoped to be able to announce shortly the date on which the new

squadrons would be operating, and when recruiting would commence. Priority

would be given to existing members, whose past training and experience would

be of great help to the young men whom the Air Force would be recruiting when

the scheme was under way.

Mn Osborne said that the success of this scheme would depend upon

the recruiting of young men from civilian life who had a real determination

to serve their country in the Air Force and were prepared to give up their spare

time to do so. They should understand that they would have a real job to do

which would involve hard work and regular training.

This new scheme would provide an avenue for continual activity in

the RAAF for selected members of the Air Training Corps after they have passed

out of the Corps at 18 years, and of the University Squadrons after graduation.