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Defence Minister congratulates Air Force on 75th anniversary

The Minister of Defence, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, has formally thanked the RNZAF for its 75 years of service to New Zealand.

A function in Parliament tonight was the first event to commemorate the 75 years since the RNZAF became an independent armed service.

“It has been 75 years of a job well done and worthy of recognition,” said Dr Coleman.

“Throughout its history the RNZAF has contributed to the maintenance of peace; either through allied contributions in wartime, or to peacekeeping throughout the world.”

“The government respects the Air Force for the way in which it carries out these tasks, be it helping transport our soldiers on deployments, evacuating people and providing support in disaster zones, and on search and rescue missions.”

“As we take stock of our Air Force at this anniversary there is reason to feel proud about its current capability with the new NH-90s and A109s, the C130s undergoing life extension and the P3 Orions being upgraded,” he said.

”This is also a time to acknowledge the Air Force staff that lost their lives recently in the course of their work: Corporal Ben Carson, Flying Officer Dan Gregory, Flight Lieutenant Hayden Madsen, Squadron Leader Nick Cree, and Flight Sergeant Andrew Forster,” said the Minister.

The parliamentary function was marked this evening with the launch of a book “Fighting Spirit -75 Years of the RNZAF, and New Zealand Post collaboration to launch a stamp and coin collection.

The Air Force is also marking its 75th anniversary with an international air show at the Ohakea base on March 31st.

Updated on 23rd July 2015