WAGGA'S RAAF Base celebrated a special milestone today when it reached 80 years since first opening as a training base in the city at the start of World War II.
While a lot has changed since then, RAAF Wagga's Base Commander Group Captain Chris Ellison said one thing remains the same and that is the relationship between the base and the city of Wagga, which grows stronger every year.
The base has served as a training centre since it first opened in 1940 at the start of the Second World War when recruits passed through the gates to commence their flight training.
As the war came to a close, Group Captain Ellison said they had moved into a world where the base delivered a whole collection of ground and technical training, which has been the common theme continued through to today.
"We take people in from the streets as civilians and teach them how to be airmen and women with a whole collection of other trade training in movement and supply logistics, before sending those people free into the defence force at large," he said.
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"We are very pleased that people will continue to look to us as an employer of choice.
"The base stands ready to take those increased numbers and train them as initial recruits and move them into trade training in other corners of the base."
Usually a significant milestone such as this would warrant a Freedom of Entry to the City parade like many would remember at its 75 anniversary, but amidst a global pandemic Group Captain Ellison said the base has dialled back its celebrations.
Instead, the base will be marking the occasion by "cutting a cake" at its "socially distanced birthday" with hopes of carrying out the parade later this year, he said.
"If we cannot do it in what's left of 2020, we will put that event into 2021 combined with a collection of events that celebrates 100 years of airforce," he said.