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No 77 Squadron

Equipped with Kittyhawk fighters No 77 Squadron formed in Western Australia in March 1942, moving to the Northern Territory in August.

During the Squadron's defence of Darwin, Squadron Leader R Cresswell made the first enemy 'kill' over Australian soil when he shot down a Japanese bomber over Darwin.

February 1943 saw No 77 Squadron join Nos 75 and 76 Squadron in the defence of Milne Bay. Soon after its arrival, sixty-five Japanese aircraft raided Milne Bay and were engaged by fifteen Kittyhawks from both Nos 77 and 75 Squadrons. In the ensuing combat four bombers and two fighters were shot down and a further five bombers probably destroyed for the loss of one Kittyhawk.

After deploying to Goodenough Island in June, No 77 Squadron flew fighter escort missions for bombers attacking Gasmata. A succession of moves saw the Squadron in Labuan in the last months of the War, from where it was deployed to Japan to participate in the Allied occupation force of that country as a component of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces.

On 25 June 1950, No 77 Squadron was committed to support United Nations forces in Korea. With the Squadron's deployment, Australia became the first United Nations member, outside the United States, to conduct combat operations in the defence of South Korea.

The Squadron's Mustangs were used extensively in the close support and interdiction roles, striking Communist targets both south and north of the 38th parallel. In April 1951 No 77 Squadron was re-equipped with Meteor jet fighters. The Australians gained their first confirmed MiG "kill" on 1 December when twelve Meteors were engaged by over fifty MiG 15s over Pyongyang. For the destruction of one MiG the squadron lost three Meteors with a further two damaged. This encounter highlighted the MiG's superiority in aerial combat, and as a result, the Meteors were confined to ground attack operations. In this role, the Meteors took a considerable toll on North Korean and Chinese ground forces, however, the Squadron suffered heavily at the hands of the MiGs and anti-aircraft units. By the end of hostilities in July 1953, No 77 Squadron had lost thirty-eight aircrew, with another seven captured by the enemy.

Equipped with Australian-built Sabres in November 1956, the Squadron was soon deployed from its base at Williamtown to Malaya, in support of Commonwealth forces engaged in anti-terrorist operations. The Sabres flew a few ground attack missions against jungle covered targets before the "Malayan Emergency" was officially concluded in mid-1960.

Remaining at Butterworth during the period of "Confrontation" with Indonesia, the Squadron provided a vital air defence capability for the region during this period of instability.

Returning to Williamtown in early 1969, the Squadron converted to the Mirage supersonic fighter and with this superb aircraft participated in numerous air defence exercises both within Australia and overseas.

By 1987, after a short period operating Macchi jet trainers, No 77 Squadron was re-equipped with F/A-18 multi-role fighters. With these highly capable aircraft, No 77 Squadron operates in the both air defence and ground attack roles and remains at the forefront of Australia's air defence. Between 2000 and 2003, No 77 Squadron also operated specially converted PC-9 aircraft in the forward air control role, before the formation of the RAAF's Forward Air Control Development Unit. No 77 Squadron has recently participated in combat operations as a component of the RAAF's commitment to the International Coalition Against Terrorism.

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