Introducing Air Commodore (retired) Kevin Henderson, Master Defence Studies.
Learning to fly on Tiger Moths and Chipmunks at Newcastle Aero Club while he was still at school, Kev had his pilot’s licence 12 months before he was legally able to drive a car.
Kev completed the RAAF pilots course in 1962 after which he gained experience on the Dakota transport aircraft.
Kev was a 22 year old flying officer when he flew into Vung Tau, South Vietnam in a Caribou short field transport aircraft as part of the original RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam. This tour was eye opening and challenging and he returned to Richmond in 1965 a changed and much more mature person than when he left in the previous year.
After Vietnam, Kev flew two ferry flights of Caribou across the Pacific – earlier ferries had been across the Atlantic.
In late 1965, he flew in Papua New Guinea establishing Caribou operations there.
A posting to 37 Squadron followed, flying the new C130E Hercules until 1970. Kev spent a lot of this time on freight shuttles and medevac flights between Vung Tau and Richmond.
1970 saw Kev on posting with the United States Air Force at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina flying the Hercules C130E tactically. He later used that experience when he became Commanding Officer of 36 Squadron in 1979 to introduce the new C130H.
Kev spent two years with the Army’s Headquarters 1 Division at Enoggera in the mid 1970s as the Army’s first Divisional Air Liaison Officer.
Kev also spent three years in the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in the mid 80s as Air Attache.
His long and broad career saw him retire in 1992 as one of the RAAF’s most experienced tactical air transport operators.