Air Force’s No. 24 Squadron exercised its right to Freedom of Entry to Adelaide on May 7 to mark the 70th anniversary of the city giving the squadron permission to carry its name.
A special indigenous ceremony was incorporated into the tradition, which dates back to medieval times.
This was the fourth time No. 24 (City of Adelaide) Squadron had exercised its Freedom of Entry to the city, which is the highest honour a city can bestow on a military unit.
Commanding Officer No. 24 Squadron Wing Commander Alison Tinker said the parade through the streets of Adelaide was a proud moment for the men and women of the squadron.
“Over the 100 years of the Air Force, 24 Squadron has existed for over 80 years and has been part of the Adelaide community for over 70 years,” Wing Commander Tinker said.
“We are very honoured to be awarded the highest honour a city can confer on a military unit, noting there are only 10 squadrons around Australia that are ‘City of’ squadrons.
“Our relationship with Adelaide has continued to evolve, including when the AP-3C Orions arrived in South Australia – our unit became part of the special relationship the city has had with the Orion aircraft.
“This aspect was reflected by an AP-3C Orion doing a flypast over the march.”
Prior to the march, the Governor of South Australia Hieu Van Le reviewed the squadron at Torrens Parade Ground.
During the march and upholding the ancient tradition, South Australian Police Chief Superintendent Stuart McLean challenged No. 24 Squadron as the parade neared Adelaide Town Hall.
In an addition to the traditional challenge, City of Adelaide Kaurna Custodian Robert Taylor, RAAF Base Edinburgh Indigenous Liaison Officer and Kaurna man Flight Lieutenant Steve Warrior brokered a cultural relationship in which Kaurna allowed No. 24 Squadron access to the traditional lands of the Kaurna people.
The two Kaurna men then came together and cleansed the squadron with a traditional smoking ceremony.
In recognition of the long relationship with Adelaide, Wing Commander Tinker presented Adelaide’s lord mayor with a RAAF ensign to be placed in the town hall.
“We presented the RAAF ensign to the city in recognition of our close and enduring relationship and the work and support the squadron provides to Adelaide in so many ways and likewise the support the city provides to our squadron,” Wing Commander Tinker said.