30 Communications Unit RAAF

Although 77 Squadron was the best known RAAF unit that served in the Korean War, it was not the only one. 30 Communications Flight, 491 (Maintenance) Squadron, and 391 (Base) Squadron also participatd in the war. In October 1950 all RAAF units attached to the United Nations Command in Korea were regrouped into 91 (Composite) Wing. With the exception of 77 Squadron, which flew combat missions, the wing’s other squadrons were based at Iwakuni in Japan.

30 Communications Flight was subsequently redesignated to 30 Transport Unit and had two C-47 Dakotas and two Auster light aircraft. One of these Dakotas was supplied to Lieutenant General Horace Robertson, the commander of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF). 30 Unit’s flight commander was also Robertson’s personal pilot. Due to operational demands the unit received two additional Dakotas from Australia.

The unit played a major role in supporting 77 Squadron in Korea, transporting equipment and supplies to the squadron, as well as material and stores for the army assisting both the Australian and British ground forces. In addition to its transport and resupply role, the unit also evacuated wounded personnel from Korea and carried official visitors for the United Nations Command. In March 1953 30 Unit was succeeded by the newly formed 36 Transport Squadron.

30 Flight conducted a training flight over South Korea just before the outbreak of war. Its successor unit, 36 Squadron, was the last RAAF unit to leave the threatre. The unit, therefore, claims to have been the “first and last” in Korea.

In 1953, after the armistice had been in force long enough to show it would be effective, the size of the Commonwealth forces in Korea were considerably reduced. Most RAAF units returned to Australin in late 1954 and early 1955. 36 Squadron returned to Australia between January and March 1955, leaving behind four Dakotas which became RAAF Transport Flight (Japan). The flight remained in the theatre until 8 July 1956. It was disbanded a few days later, after returning to Australia.

Glossary

Equipment

Battle Honours

  • nil

Casualties

  • nil

For more information please see the Roll of Honour and Korean War Nominal Roll (external website) databases.

Commanding Officers

  • Gerber, John Ewen

Decorations

  • 13 AFC
  • 16 Commendations for Meritorious Service in the Air
  • 2 MID

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

References

  • AWM64/6/10: Unit history sheets, 91 Composite Wing RAAF
  • O'Neill, Robert J. (Robert John), 1936-, Official History, Korea Vol.II: Australia in the Korean War 1950-53. Volume 2, Combat operations, (Canberra : Australian War Memorial and the Australian Govt. Pub. Service, 1985)
  • Stephens, Alan, The Australian centenary history of defence Vol. 2, The Royal Australian Air Force, (Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 2001)