This year, the Royal Australian Air Force marks 100 years of service to our nation.

Since its establishment on 31 March 1921, bravery, resilience, innovation and teamwork have been the legacy passed on from one generation to the next, making it one of the most effective air forces in the world.

From when the fledging service was first established with just 149 people, and aviation itself was only two decades old, through the Second World War, when more than 215,000 of our Air Force men and women served in Europe, North Africa, Asia, the Pacific and across Australia. Then in Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, UN Missions and now in the Middle East, which has been a continuous commitment of almost 20 years.

Today, the Air Force comprises almost 21,000 members, including nearly 5,000 reservists. Globally, on any day, the Air Force has between 500 and 700 people deployed on active duty helping those in need. More than 350,000 Australians have served in Air Force since 1921, and more than 11,000 have died in service,” Mr Chester said.

In the last 12 months alone, the men and women of the Air Force have provided crucial support to our COVID-19 response and in recovering from the devastating bushfires. As we commemorate this milestone, it’s important to pause and acknowledge our Air Force veterans, today’s members and all the families who have supported our personnel throughout the last century.

This year will be an important time to reflect on their enduring contribution to the security of Australia. As it enters its second century and faces rapidly evolving strategic challenges, we are inspired by the talent and commitment of the next generation of Air Force men and women who carry the legacy forward.