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air transport auxiliary,women,ATA,
22 March 2019
In the first lecture of the RAF Museum’s 2019 series of Cold War Lunchtime Lectures, Dr Steven Paget will discuss the experiences of 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, during the Vietnam War.
Much has been written about the Vietnam War, but as Jonathan Colman and J.J. Widen have outlined, ‘many texts’ overlook the fact that it was an ‘example of coalition warfare’. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) made a modest contribution to the air power effort during the Vietnam War relative to the American commitment. The decision to pass operational control to the US Seventh Air Force and to have 2 Squadron be subordinate to, but not directly commanded by the Commanding Officer of the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (35th TFW) created a number of challenges. 2 Squadron’s employment of Canberra bombers meant that the United States Air Force (USAF) had to acclimatize to the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) of the RAAF, in addition to contending with differing approaches to command and control, logistical challenges and variations in rules of engagement (ROE). Notably, 2 Squadron achieved the best bomb damage assessment performance of any allied squadron in spite of the challenges posed by multinational integration. The squadron received high praise, with Brigadier General W.T. Galligan, who commanded the 35th TFW between August 1969 and June 1970, commenting: ‘I can’t speak highly enough of their outstanding professionalism, across the board. I only wish that all USAF units could do as well.’
The experiences of 2 Squadron are an exemplar of coalition operations as the Vietnam War highlighted both the advantages and drawbacks of multinational cooperation. The employment of non-standardized aircraft and differing ROE presented a learning curve, but operations over South Vietnam, ultimately, enhanced the relationship between the RAAF and USAF, which had been built during operations in the Second World War and Korean War. This talk will provide a detailed analysis of the conceptual and practical challenges encountered in enacting multinational cooperation and consider the level of success achieved.
The lecture will be held at the Royal Force Museum, Cosford at
12:30pm on Friday 22 March 2019.
Please note that lectures are subject to change.
Dr Steven Paget is the University of Portsmouth’s Director of Academic Support Services at Royal Air Force College Cranwell. He is also a member of the editorial board of the journal Air Power Review. Prior to joining the University of Portsmouth, he was a Lecturer in Strategy and Operations at the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Command and Staff College and an NZDF Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Defence and Security Studies, Massey University. He has also taught at the Australian National University and the University of Canberra. His research focuses on multinational operations, particularly from the Korean War to the present day, and professional military education.
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