Te unit was initially billeted on the aireld atVung au, but the conditions there were consideredso poor, with noisy equipment operating 24 hours aday, an open sewage ditch running through the middleo camp, and the troops were being quartered inbuildings without walls. Te entire unit picked up andmoved into town, selecting a villa which they rented.As the unit grew in size, other villas were taken overor accommodation. Te initial villa that was used by 35 Squadron (at rst still known as RFV), was ‘VillaAnna’ and that became quite notorious, particularly with the rumours that came back to 38 Squadron atRichmond. Te villas were nothing special. Some o them were rat inested and some needed a air bito work to get up and running, but at least the unit’smembers had a roo over their heads, they had wallsaround, there was no open sewage ditch—and the unitwas together.At rst the unit was placed under the commando the senior US ocer in Vietnam and this wasdelegated to the 315th Air Commando Wing. Later,command arrangements changed, so that RFV cameunder the 834th Air Division o the US 7th Air Force.Even using the word ‘command’ here is a little bitconusing, because it was really operational control.We were tasked through the American Air ransporttasking agencies, but Australian ocers maintainedcommand o the unit in the true sense throughout itstime in Vietnam.Te call sign adopted was ‘Wallaby’, ollowed by a mission number. Tat led to the RFV being reerredto as “Wallaby Airlines” and it quickly establishedan excellent reputation. It had to develop tactics tominimize the danger rom small arms and groundre. Tere were quite serious dangers, particularly inthe northern regions up in I Corps (said as ‘Eye Core’)and the northern part o II Corps. Te tactics involvedtransiting at above 3500 eet wherever possible,and remaining at that height until very close to thedestination aireld. Only at that stage would the pilotinitiate a steep spiral descent and y a short, airly steep, nal approach to land. Te aim o the game was,o course, to avoid providing a no-deection shot tosomeone sitting on the ground who wanted to have ago at you.Te aircrat were also most vulnerable on theground, and so, quick ofoad tactics were developed tominimize spending time where we were exposed likethat. Many o the little airelds into which we operateddid not have any gear or loading and unloadingaeroplanes. I we were carrying ammunition, ood oruel, or anything else that was palletized, we had theoption o breaking the pallet down and unloading itor else speed ofoading it. Breaking the pallet downwould take considerable time on the ground, makingaircrat very vulnerable.Te ellows developed the technique where they would undo all the straps, put the ramp level, backthe aeroplane up at a reasonable pace (with the loadmaster calling the distance to go), then drop it out o reverse into orward thrust and put a bit o power on,and virtually drive the aeroplane out rom under thepallet. It sounds a bit tricky and a bit dangerous, butreally it was the saest way to do it. Te pallets stayedairly horizontal all the way to the ground and ellat. Te Americans didn’t adopt this, but used to justpush the pallet over the ramp. It invariably landed onan edge and rolled back, damaging the ramp. And i it didn’t damage the ramp, it damaged the load thatwas attached to the pallet, because it was not beingsupported by the honeycomb structures that wereunder the load.With uel drums it was a simple case o using asimilar technique, but with the ramp down at about45 degrees. With a bit o practice we could neatly stack 13 uel drums in a nice line right in the middleo the uel arm and save any ground handling as well.So these were the techniques that were developed,and they were maintained throughout the whole o the deployment. As a result o that, we suered very little damage compared to some o the other tacticaltransport units.Te operations soon settled into a airly routinebasis. wo aircrat operated rom Vung au into theDelta and Saigon area. One aircrat was deployed toNha rang in the lower hal o II Corps area, romwhere it ed the Central Highlands, and the otheraircrat deployed to Da Nang, in about the middle onthe coast o I Corps. Da Nang essentially serviced ICorps and the aircrat met all the requirements o theairelds in that area, and more in II Corps. In the early days some air delivery activities carried out by RFV were to areas that were possibly the most demandingand dangerous imaginable, especially up towards theDemilitarized Zone that separated North and SouthVietnam—places like Dong Ha, Khe Sanh, Quang riand the ancient capital o Hue. In II Corps we operatedinto all the airelds in the most contested area, romDak Pek, Dak Seang, Ben Het, Dak o, Kontum, Pleiku,Phu My, Phu Cat, etc.