Home' Advance In Review : Advance in Review July 2014 Contents Upon learning that the Air Force Band was to be involved with
the arrival of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to RAAF Base
Amberley near Brisbane recently, I knew it was going to be a
significant event to be a part of. I had no concept of the scale of
the preparation and planning that would take place in the weeks
leading up the Easter Saturday, 19 April 2014.
The Royal Australian Air Force Band is synonymous with
military ceremony. Graduation parades, military tattoos, service
funerals, commemorative services and Anzac Day are just some
of the events that our ceremonial band contributes to. For me,
participation in a parade for the arrival of members of the Royal
Family was a new experience, and for three band members
(Commanding Officer Squadron Leader Shelley, drummer Flight
Sergeant Ben van den Akker and trombonist Sergeant Andrew
Heading) the opportunity to speak with The Duke of Cambridge
during his inspection of the band gave them an extra reason to
remember the day.
It was during the final briefing prior to the arrival that I became
acutely aware of the magnitude of the visit. All the key players
had been summoned to the base conference room to dissect the
final full dress rehearsal of not only the arrival involving the 100
person Royal Guard, Colours and band, but for the entire 2 1⁄2 hour
base visit. Every minute of the visit had been meticulously planned
and nothing had been left to chance.
Each segment of the visit was analysed and discussed. Minute
detail such as the exact placement of the red carpet once the
plane carrying The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had come
to a complete stop, the angle the stair vehicle should approach
the rear of the aircraft for speedy disembarkation of support
staff, who would stand where for official photos and how much
pressure to apply to the hand of The Duke or Duchess if they
offered to shake your hand during the base visit. I received specific
instruction and even rehearsed the hand shake. To explain, I was
to apply no pressure whatsoever to the Royal hand (instructed by
the Duke of Cambridge via the palace I would later learn).
The base visit would include a tour of 1 Squadron and official
photographs and inspection of an F/A-18F Super Hornet, followed
by a short flight in the F/A-18F simulator. It was then on to the
Memorial Garden, where The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
were joined by base personnel, veterans and their families before
planting a tree of remembrance in honour of the service and
sacrifice given freely by the men and women of the RAAF. The
final stop was at the Officer’s Mess for a short reception with
RAAF Base Amberley personnel, veterans and their families. Both
Army and Air Force personnel are currently located at RAAF Base
Amberley, and both services were represented.
Our final task was to play for the salute by the Royal Guard as the
Royal motorcade departed the base. Each side of the roadway was
lined with service personnel presenting arms (a military term for
the position the rifle is held when saluting). There were even a few
quizzical cows that had wandered over for a look from a paddock
adjoining the base. Like me, I hope they were suitably impressed
by what was a significant event to be a part of.
Flight Sergeant Eden Stubbings
On the first weekend of March, the Air
Force celebrated the Centenary of Military
Aviation with an air show at its birthplace,
RAAF Base Point Cook.
Eric Harrison’s historic maiden flight
aboard a Bristol Boxkite was re-enacted by
Squadron Leader Steve Bekker in a Boxkite
replica. This was built especially for this
event by volunteers at the museum, and it
was a truly remarkable experience to see
it fly. Also among the must-see displays
was a replica of the F35A Lightning II which
will become part of Australia’s Air Force
in the coming years, the Heron Remotely
Piloted Aircraft, and of course the Air Force
The Air Force Band also had a busy time,
with nine performances over the weekend.
Saturday saw the band perform a new
marching display, which was especially put
together for the air show by our two Drum
Majors, Flight Sergeant Eden Stubbings
and Sergeant Adam Schlemitz. Next on
the program was a special recognition
ceremony which featured the famous
Sunset showcasing the bugle-call talents
of Corporal Ben Mansted. Finally, the band
played for the Chief of Air Force’s official
launching of the new General Purpose
Uniform – including music from the films
The Dambusters and The Battle of Britain.
Needless to say, the Chief of Air Force, Air
Marshall Geoff Brown, had a large crowd
Sunday’s performance was broadcast
live on Libbi Gorr’s morning program on
774 ABC radio. Our Commanding Officer
was interviewed by Ms Gorr following the
marching display, and the segment’s finale
was a performance of 633 Squadron. We in
the Air Force Band would like to thank all
those who dropped by our corporate stand
to say hello, and hope to see you all at our
Sergeant Andrew Heading
THE ROYAL VISIT
CENTURY OF MILITARY AVIATION
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge speaks to Sergeant Andrew Heading at
RAAF Base Amberley. Photo by Corporal David Said.
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge reviews the Royal Guard at RAAF Base
Amberley. Photo by Corporal Shannon McCarthy.
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge speaks to Flight Sergeant Ben van den
Akker at RAAF Base Amberley. Image Courtesy of Channel 7 News Live Broadcast.
Air Force Band supported the Centenary of Military Aviation air show at RAAF Williams – Point Cook.
Images by Corporal Cameron Scott.
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