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No 4 Squadron

No 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, formed at Point Cook, Victoria, in October 1916. After embarking for England to complete its training, the squadron deployed to France in December 1917. From the outset, No 4 Squadron aircraft regularly engaged the Red Baron's elite 'Flying Circus' and, in spite of their lack of experience, quickly gained the ascendancy over the German squadron. During its brief war service, No 4 Squadron destroyed some 128 enemy aircraft and spawned a total of eleven aces. The squadron's highest scoring airman was Captain Cobby who, in addition to shooting down 29 aircraft, also destroyed 13 observation balloons.

World War II saw No 4 Squadron Wirraways deployed to Port Moresby in support of Australian troops fighting in the New Guinea jungles. In their slow and vulnerable aircraft, losses from anti-aircraft fire were high, however, this never deterred the Wirraway crews from completing their assigned tasks. This aggressive spirit was exemplified by Pilot Officer Archer and his crewman, Sergeant Coulston, who, while on a reconnaissance mission, found themselves above a Japanese Zero fighter. Despite operating a vastly inferior aircraft, Pilot Officer Archer dived to the attack and shot down the enemy aircraft.

In June 1943, No 4 Squadron received its first Boomerang fighters and continued to support Allied troops during the Cape Gloucester landings before moving to Morotai. No 4 Squadron ended the war in Borneo and returned to Australia in November 1945, where it was renamed No 3 Squadron - thus closing the chapter on a very distinguished and proud unit.

In July 2009, No 4 Squadron was reformed, combining the resources and responsibilities from the Forward Air Control Development Unit (FACDU) and the Air Combat Group Special Tactics Project. No 4 Squadron now operates the PC-9/A aircraft in the FAC training role, and also provides training for ground based personnel as Joint Terminal Air Controllers (JTAC).

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