A week ago today, my husband Barry asked me to make a commemorative quilt for the Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch's newly acquired Iriquois helicopter which will be put on display in the Sub-Branch's Memorial Garden. This quilt will be raffled to raise funds for the continued maintenance of this aircraft.
We have quite a few 9 Squadron and 6RAR former members in our Sub-Branch and on the Sunshine Coast, hence the wish to acquire this Huey.
A2 10-22 which is the name of the chopper was gifted by the Royal Australian Air Force to the town of Nyngan in NSW after the helicopter was used in flood relief in the town and area years ago. Someone from our Sub-Branch heard of this chopper being located down in Nyngan and which has HUGE significance to Vietnam Veterans. This chopper was used to provide artillery support to Australian troops, specifically D Company 6RAR on August 18, 1966 in the Battle of Long Tan, which for Australians, was one of the biggest battles of the Vietnam War (or Conflict as it technically is).
To cut a long story short Bogan Council (the local government area where Nyngan is part of) agreed to give our Sub-Branch A2 10-22 if we could supply an exchange Iriquois. This project started way back in 2009 and has meant that the Sub-Branch has had to acquire a replacement chopper, restore that, transport it down to Nyngan (about a 12 hour drive south of Caloundra), then transport the actual A2 10-22 back here, fiannly restoring it to its former glory. Oh ... and that has all cost the Sub-Branch in the vacinity of $50 000. Hence the need for fundraising ...
So now, having chased all over the place for Air Force and Army uniforms, photos of the restoration project and photos from Long Tan during the Vietnam War, gathering unit badges etc, I am ready to start.
First place ... unpicking the uniforms so I can use the fabric, insignia and cuffs, collars etc as part of the front of the quilt, whilst I wait for photos to come in to me, via E-mail etc so that I can start printing these off tomorrow morning.
Did I mention I have a deadline of March 12, which is now just 2 weeks away? The dedication ceremony is on March 16 and several hundred people are expected to arrive in town for this.
Here's a link to our RSL front page which features the Dedication Ceremony date:
Army and Air Force uniforms, badges, fabric etc
A2 10-22 on the tarmac at Nui Dat which was the closest Australian military base to Long Tan plantation where the Battle of Long Tan occurred on August 18 (which is now commemorated as Vietnam Veterans' Day here in Australia)
Information can be found on these websites about the Battle of Long Tan. Both websites are worth looking at especially the 6RAR one.