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No 9 Squadron

9 Squadron Crest

No 9 Squadron was formed in January 1939 at Point Cook, Victoria, from No 5 Fleet Co-operation Squadron. The unit's Seagull V amphibious aircraft - commonly referred to as the Walrus - were designed to be embarked on Royal Australian Navy cruisers to provide reconnaissance, anti-submarine and artillery-spotting for the Navy.

After the declaration of war in September, several Walruses and their crews - embarked with their Australian cruisers - found themselves in the Mediterranean, where they continued serve until early 1942.

With the entry of Japan into the war in December 1941, the Australian cruisers returned to the Pacific theatre to play a direct role in the defence of Australia.

During the war, No 9 Squadron personnel invariably suffered the same fate as the ships in which they were embarked. In a night action off Guadalcanal on 8 August 1942, five squadron personnel were killed and a further two wounded when HMAS Canberra was sunk. Similarly, when HMAS Sydney was lost with all hands in an action on 19 November 1941, six squadron members were among those killed. Another five personnel died on 1 March 1942 when HMAS Perth was sunk in the Sunda Strait.

No 9 Squadron's combat record continued with its deployment to Vietnam in 1966. Equipped with Iroquois helicopters the unit provided essential support for Australian and New Zealand forces.

In late 1967, No 9 Squadron was re-equipped with the more capable 'D' and 'H' models and, for the first time, Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal Australian Navy pilots joined the unit.

In order to provide vital suppression fire during the "hot" extraction of troops under fire, a number of No 9 Squadron Iroquois were converted into attack helicopters or "gunships". These helicopters often came under enemy fire and on several occasions gunships were either shot down or badly damaged.

In early 1982, eight Iroquois and a contingent of personnel deployed to the Middle East on peace-keeping duties as part of the Multi-National Force and Observers - a commitment which was maintained until 1986.

In February 1988, No 9 Squadron began to re-equip with S-70A Black Hawk helicopters, but after conversion training had been completed, the unit moved to Townsville where it disbanded on 14 February 1989. The squadron's personnel and helicopters were then used to form the nucleus of the Army's 5th Aviation Regiment.

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