Ron Glew- Air Force Association NSW President

Air Force Association of NSW President and Malaysian Emergency, Vietnam, and Indonesian confrontation veteran, Ron Glew, will feel immensely proud on 26 March when the Association commemorates the Centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force and the Association’s 101st birthday.

Ron, also known as ‘Sticky’ and ‘Glewie’, served in Singapore and Malaya in 1958-61 and in Vietnam in 1965 -66 as a loadmaster in Caribou aircraft that flew supplies to the front line and outposts, often under a hail of bullets. He received the American Air Medal for his service whilst in Vietnam.

Ron is also a Level 3 Advocate for veteran pensions and welfare claims and received an Order of Australia Medal in the 2021 Australia Day honours for his work within his local community and for services and advocating for development of better support for veterans and their families. He is the Vice President of the Sydney ANZAC Dawn Service Trust and a member of the RSL NSW Western Metropolitan Council and an avid member of RSL NSW for 50 years.

After recruit training, Ron served with 77 Squadron, followed by 1 Squadron in Singapore and then the setting up detail for RAAF Butterworth Malaya, 4 RAAF Hospital, 38 Squadron, RTFV/35 Squadron Vietnam, Base Squadron Richmond, 1 Medical Operations Support Unit, 3 RAAF Hospital, 4 RAAF Hospital Malaysia and then Headquarters Operational Command until retirement.

Ron spoke to ANZAC House about what the Air Force 2021 Centenary celebrations mean to him.

Tell us about a vivid memory from your RAAF service and how this shaped your future.

The witnessing of and being involved in man’s inhumanity to man leaves an indelible impression on you for life. Without the love and support of my family and the companionship, care and camaraderie of my fellow veterans and RSL NSW members, I would have found it difficult to cope and for their help I am eternally grateful. Consequently, I am committed to assisting my fellow veterans and their families in return for the support I have received.

How have you seen the RAAF evolve over time?

The Air Force that I was part of has long gone with the evolution and modernisation of aircraft and state-of-the-art equipment, and the manner in which it operates. The organisation is a now a huge business, has far more flexibility for its personnel, and has embraced women into all ranks, which was not the case when I served.

The RAAF has evolved into what is now; the most modern Air Force in the world and despite its size, is a potent force.

What does the Air Force 2021 Centenary celebration mean to you?

The celebration recognises the RAAF and its heritage as the second oldest Air Force in the world. It will be an important time to reflect on its enduring contribution to the security of Australia and its allies, and its responses to natural disasters.

The Air Force has grown into a world-class Air Force for which Australia relies upon in both conflict and peace. The Force is ready for when Australia needs it – they are always ready to respond.

The organisation has a proud reputation of ‘can do’ and meeting all challenges. It affords us the opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifices and bravery of its airmen and airwomen and the many significant achievements over the course of the last century.

The Air Force Association of NSW will reconsecrate and entrust the RAAF Memorial Book to the Rusi Library at the Anzac Memorial Hyde Park Sydney for display in perpetuity at the ceremony on 26 March.

The celebrations will also include a flypast of HARS Aviation Museum aircraft including a Dakota, Caribou, Catalina, Orion, and Neptune during the ceremony.

Listen to the recollections and experiences of both retired and serving Air Force personnel here.