Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
35 Squadron: Crash landing at A Ro
Hammond’s Caribou after the crash at A Ro. [National Archives of Australia A703/140 400/64/626, reproduced with the permission of the Department of Defence]
Enemy fire was not the only hazard faced by the crews of No. 35 Squadron in Vietnam. Remote and barely serviceable airstrips posed their own dangers as these documents suggest.
On 18 November 1964 Flying Officer Brian Hammond, unable to drop supplies while airborne, attempted to land at A Ro, a special forces camp in remote country near the Laotian border. With his windscreen covered in mud, Hammond veered off the runway, crashing the aircraft but delivering much needed supplies to the beleaguered troops on the ground. Parts of the aircraft were salvaged but much of the fuselage was left at the site where it was later used as part of an observation and briefing
post. Such incidents were relatively common, during the course of 35 Squadron’s involvement in the war from an operational strength of 13 aircraft some 20 were hit by ground fire or mortars or crashed on operations.