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 28 Squadron celebrates 65 anniversary

28 Squadron was formed on the 1st of June 1943. The entry in the war diary for that date reads – “In humble surroundings at SAAF Base Depot Almaza, Cairo, Middle East, 28 Squadron is Born”. The first Officer Commanding was Maj A.A.D. McKellar and the bulk of the personnel were drafted from 34 and 35 Flight South African Air Force (Maritime Reconnaissance). As the first air transport squadron of the SAAF, operating under 216 Group RAF, the squadron was equipped with 7 Anson, 5 Dakota and 2 Wellington aircraft. During the Second World War the squadron supported the allied forces in North Africa, the islands of the Western Mediterranean, Italy and France. By April 1944 the squadron was equipped with 30 Dakotas and 14 Ansons and during that year flew a total of 35 859 flying hours, transporting 87 029 passengers and more than 33,6 million lbs of freight. Nearing the end of the war, during the latter half of 1945 and early 1946, the squadron formed an integral part of the now famous “Shuttle Service” from Cairo to Pretoria.

Early in January 1963 the SA Air Force’s new C130 Hercules aircraft were flown from the USA to Waterkloof by members of 28 Squadron, to herald in a new era of transport flying in the SAAF. On the 25 of August 1967 the squadron was presented with its Colours by the then Commandant General of the South African Defence Force, General R.C. Hiemstra, SSA, SM. The squadron’s battle honours for its operations in the “Mediterranean 1942-1945”, “Sicily 1943” and “Italy 1943-1945” are depicted on its Colours. In August 1969 the squadron’s air transport capability of 7 Hercules aircraft was expanded with the introduction into service of an additional 9 X C160Z Transall aircraft.

On Sunday 01 June 2008, the squadron turned 65 years old. We wish the squadron a very happy birthday. We know that the squadron will live up to its motto “Portamus” which means “We Carry” and continue to serve the Air Force in the same diligent and proud manner as a senior transport squadron.

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