Possums & Bird Dogs: Australian Army Aviation's 161 Reconnaissance Flight in South Vietnam

By Peter Nolan | Go to book overview

Preface

As the first Australian Army Aviation unit to be deployed on active service, 161 Reconnaissance Flight made an important contribution to Australian operations during the conflict in South Vietnam. In the longer term, its success was vital to the ongoing development of Army Aviation’s role and capabilities. The Flight’s history assumes added significance when viewed in this light. The men who flew its aircraft using the Possum call sign went on to become leaders in Army Aviation. Similarly, the task force officers who flew with them during battalion operations later occupied very senior posts in the Australian Defence Force. They had first-hand experience of the vital role that versatile aircraft, used with initiative, could play in the prosecution of the ground war. With their support, Army Aviation has not looked back. Among its current flying units is a later version of 161 Reconnaissance Flight that continues to perform with distinction in areas where units of the Australian Defence Force are sent in pursuit of military and humanitarian objectives.

My aim in compiling this history was to ensure that 161’s story was recorded while opportunities remained to obtain oral histories. We have already lost many of our colleagues. The passing of my good friend Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Tom Guivarra in 2004 was a reminder that time is precious. He was one of a kind who is sadly missed wherever

-xv-

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