Quiet achievers in the most dangerous workplace in the world?
They are the ?Birdies' - the proud members of a unique fighting force unknown to the majority of Australians whose land and lives they have long protected.
Officially known as the Australian Fleet Air Arm, they have operated as an aviation component of the Royal Australian Navy since 1947; quiet achievers in what is considered the most dangerous workplace in the world.
Their "airfields" are the decks of purpose built aircraft carriers, landing strips pitching and rolling in deep blue water, far from land.
Launching and landing their fixed wing aircraft in often atrocious weather and with no margin for error.
These daring naval aviators were forever flying in the face of continually changing and challenging conditions. A unique form of aviation that has been variously described as like having an orgasm and a bowel evacuation simultaneously, or as the greatest ride of your life!
From the early years of mostly seaborne activity the Birdies have evolved through search and rescue, anti-submarine warfare, and peacekeeping and humanitarian missions to global policing, anti-terrorism and anti-piracy.
Today's Birdies, as intrepid as ever, now operate squadrons of the most sophisticated helicopters in the world, often within multinational forces.
Researcher and author Sharron Spargo has close ties both to the veterans from those formative years and to those who are serving today. She has gathered their intensely personal accounts of front line action in the Korean and Vietnam wars, the Indonesian confrontation, the Cold War and the Gulf War; stories of a unique service that for too long has gone unheard and unacknowledged.
This fascinating book places these quiet achievers, the Birdies, in their rightful place in Australia's naval and aviation history.