Today marks 100 years of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
From its modest beginnings in 1921, the Air Force has grown into a world class fighting force, which Australia relies upon in both conflict and peace.
The men and women of the RAAF are our greatest asset, and they have achieved great success in serving Australia and its national interests over the past 100 years.
From our ‘Top Gun’ fighter pilots to RAAF peacekeepers to support and ancillary staff on the ground, as well as the air force cadets and ex-service organisations, more than 350,000 Australians have served in Air Force, and more than 11,000 have died in service.
Indeed, the daring exploits of our brave airmen in the Battle of Britain and Bomber Command in Europe during the Second World War are the stuff of legend, though tragically, they experienced a very heavy loss of life.
Today, we also recognise the families of current and former Air Force personnel, who do so much to support their partners in the force and are just as impacted by their service, especially those left behind following the death of a loved one.
A range of commemorative events have been held at RAAF Bases and elsewhere around the country today and in the lead-up to today’s anniversary.
This includes a Queen’s Colour Presentation Parade and flypast over Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra today, involving current and former aircraft.
In my own electorate, RAAF Base Amberley – Australia’s largest air force base – recently hosted a special centenary-framing photograph featuring a range of military aircraft.
This is an important day to reflect on the service and sacrifice of all generations of Australians who have proudly worn the Air Force uniform, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
To our Air Force members and veterans, congratulations on your centenary.
We are proud of you, we salute you and we thank you for your service.
For more information about the Air Force Centenary program, visit: https://airforce2021.airforce.gov.au/