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25th Birthday of the Rhodesian Air Force


Message from the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall A.O.G. Wilson, to mark the 25th Birthday of the Rhodesian Air Force.

25th Birthday of the Rhodesian Air Force The Cavalcade of events that has led to the Rhodesian Air Force celebrating its 25th anniversary is a tale of notable achievement by any standard.  That the Force remains posed as a potent and viable shield against overt aggression, despite the vicissitudes of recent years, is evidence enough of the calibre and efficiency of the men in all branches of this dedicated fighting service.

Serving members can, therefore, with justifiable pride bask in the aura of accomplishment that today’s event signifies but, in doing so, minds must surely retrace the track of progress to those whose foresight, energy and perseverance paved the way.  We are all aware of the priceless contribution made by the recognized father founder of the Regular Rhodesian Air Force, the late Ted Jacklin, whose perspicacity and enthusiasm generated a spirit, which pervades the Force to this very day.

However, we must with humility and respect salute also those earlier stalwarts who, recognizing the need conceived and launched the pre-war Territorial Air Unit which was the forerunner of our present air arm; nor should we overlook those thousands of young Rhodesians who, responding to the call to arms in the 1939-45 war years, established for posterity a fighting reputation and quality equal to the best and convincingly demonstrated to our Government and people the over-riding requirement of air power as a “key to survival”.

These young airmen and air-minded officials of the past set the course for our Air Force and gave it that hallmark by which standards have since been maintained.  Thus, those who serve today pay tribute to all those airmen down the years whose endeavours and sacrifices are rewarded by the regard in which the Force in universally held.

A new generation of young officers and men is fast emerging to carry on the splendid tradition of Rhodesian airmen, and I can assure my fellow countrymen that the fibre and proficiency of the men who fly, administer and maintain our operational squadrons is of a very high order and a credit to the nation.  Moreover, our Air Force will continue to fulfil its role with quiet efficiency and is ready and able to do its duty – come what may.

Tony Cowell - Sam Samson - Frank Robinson

Tony Cowell - Sam Samson - Frank Robinson on parade
Upper photo: Mike Mulligan accepts the Air Force colours from Clifford Dupont

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