161st Independent Reconnaissance Flight (Australia)

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161 (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight
BranchAustralian Army
RoleReconnaissance / Observation
Part of1st Australian Task Force
Garrison/HQVung Tau, Nui Dat and Bien Hoa
Aircraft flown
Observation helicopterBell H-13 Sioux, Bell OH-58 Kiowa
ReconnaissanceCessna O-1 Bird Dog
TransportCessna 180, PC-6 Turbo Porter

The 161 (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight was an Australian Army aviation unit of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. In June 1965, the 161 Reconnaissance Flight was raised part of the No. 16 Army Light Aircraft Squadron based at RAAF Base Amberley for deployment to the Vietnam War.[1] In September that year the flight deployed to South Vietnam with two Cessna 180 planes and two Sioux light observation helicopters in order to support the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment based at Bien Hoa airbase The unit deployed to Vung Tau on 13 May 1966. The Flight was re-designated the 161 (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight.[1] when unit strength was increased, so making it an Independent unit (and able to draw its own rations and rations). Following the expansion of the Australian commitment, the Flight continued to serve in this role as part of the 1st Australian Task Force, with an enlarged, established and expanded responsibilities, operating out of Vung Tau and Nui Dat until the end of 1971 when it was withdrawn to Australia.[1][2] In March 1967, the 16th Army Light Aircraft Squadron was renamed the 1st Aviation Regiment.[3]

On return from Vietnam, the Flight was located at Oakey, Queensland, from January 1971 until January 1974.[1] On 31 January 1974, 1st Aviation Regiment was reorganised with 171 Air Cavalry Flight based at Holsworthy re-designated as 161 Reconnaissance Squadron.[1] 161 Reconnaissance Flight based at Oakey was re-designated as 171 Operational Support Squadron.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Unit History". 161 Possums. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  2. ^ Horner 2005, p. 299.
  3. ^ "1 Aviation Regiment". The Australian Army Aviation Association. Archived from the original on 22 June 2009.


  • Horner, David (2005). Strategic Command: General Sir John Wilton and Australia's Asian Wars. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-555282-2.

Further reading[edit]

  • Eather, Steve (1995). Flying Squadrons of the Australian Defence Force. Weston Creek, Australian Capital Territory: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 1-875671-15-3.
  • Nolan, Peter (2006). Possums and Bird Dogs: Australian Army Aviation's 161 Reconnaissance in South Vietnam. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74115-611-9.

External links[edit]