No 96 Wing first formed as No 396 Combat Support Wing

20 Nov 2000

Motto: Steadfast in Support

No 96 Wing was first formed as No 396 Combat Support Wing on 20 November 2000 at RAAF Base Darwin. It is part of the Combat Support Group which is headquartered at RAAF Base Amberley. The Wing’s motto and badge is shared with Base Squadron Darwin.

The principal formation of No 96 Wing was to provide the permanent air base operational capability, with specialisation in all air base operational support. To achieve this, No 96 Wing contributes personnel and resources to deployed operations and exercises.

The formation of the Wing streamlined Combat Support at Darwin and Townsville. The Wing headquarters and Nos 321, 322, 323, 324 Combat Support Squadrons were located across RAAF Bases Darwin, Tindal, Townsville, and Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth. The Wing also controlled three Bare Base Management Flights at RAAF Bases Learmonth and Curtin in Western Australia, and RAAF Base Scherger in Queensland.

In December 2001, a restructure saw almost all Air Force Health Services Flights reassigned to another command centre. However, Darwin, Townsville, and Butterworth stayed as part of the renamed No 396 Wing. Another restructure on 1 July 2005 saw Air Command fixed air bases come under the command of the Officer Commanding No 396 Combat Support Wing, which meant No 396 now included a headquarters and Nos 321 (Darwin), 322 (Tindal), 323 (Townsville) and 324 (Butterworth) Combat Support Squadrons (as per past command allocations), as well as the Combat Support Units at Amberley, Edinburgh, Richmond, and Williamtown.

Another restructure changed the assignment of units again on 1 January 2007, with the Wing renamed to No 396 Expeditionary Combat Support Wing. In 2009, further reforms saw an expansion of the Wing's responsibilities, and from 1 July 2010 the Wing had command of the 12 city squadrons. On 1 August 2011, some city squadrons were transferred away from the Wing.

On 1 January 2014, a staged restructure resulted in the name changed to 96 Wing, and again, the city squadrons were reassigned. Following additions to the Wing on 1 October 2017, No 96 Wing now has eleven city squadrons, three other squadrons (dispersed across Australia), and No 19 Squadron in Malaysia under its command. It also has responsibility for the RAAF Bare Bases at Learmonth, Curtin, and Scherger.

To learn more, see this extract from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force by Despina Tramoundanis.

Related base

  • RAAF Base Amberley
  • RAAF Base Darwin