Air Force hero honoured in Middle East ceremony
27 September 2017
Under the glaring sun of the Middle East, approximately 200 personnel of the Air Task Group (ATG) came together to mark the dedication of the Australian Domestic Compound (ADC) at the ATG’s main air operating base in the MER.
Just over 100 years after the deed that saw the late Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Frank McNamara awarded the Victoria Cross, the Air Task group named the ADC the McNamara VC Compound after the pioneering Australian airman.
Present for the occasion was the Chief of Joint Operations, Vice-Admiral (VADM) David Johnston, who said McNamara symbolises the modern Joint-Forces officer.
"Air Vice-Marshal McNamara first served in the Army and then transferred to the Air Force,” VADM Johnston said.
“He is a reminder of the importance of having a Joint Force mindset.
“McNamara was a leader and his deeds should inspire all to do their best to contribute to the operational effort.
“In unveiling this sign, I hope to remind all of us of the bravery and devotion to duty of airmen like Air Vice-Marshal McNamara, who set a benchmark for us all.”
VADM Johnston and Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Terry Van Haren, the Commander of the Air Task Group, jointly unveiled the sign naming the unit.
AIRCDRE van Haren outlined the significance of AVM McNamara’s actions to the assembled personnel.
“McNamara was deployed to the Sinai with No. 1 Squadron of the Australian Flying Corp in the First World War,” he said
“Back then, they conducted air interdiction and close air support missions, similar to what we are conducting over Iraq today.
“It is significant that we again have No. 1 Squadron, now Royal Australian Air Force, here in the same region, excelling in a similar mission which was first conducted 100 years ago.”
Lieutenant Frank McNamara was awarded a Victoria Cross after his actions on 20 March 1917, during which he landed and carried out the rescue of a downed fellow pilot despite himself being severely wounded and with a Turkish cavalry unit rapidly approaching their location.
The idea to name the compound after McNamara was submitted by a member of the task unit who recognised links between McNamara’s service and those of the ATG during Operation OKRA in the same geographic region.
There are approximately 300 people deployed with the ATG which is conducting air operations over Iraq and Syria to degrade and defeat Daesh.
Deployed to the ATG are six F/A-18F Super Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail, a KC-30A Multirole Tanker Transport and a ground based command and control unit called ‘Kingpin’.