Mirage F1CZ Last Flight at 3 Squadron

Mirage F1CZ Last Flight

By: Sgt Jarret Clark
Photo: Cpl C. van Rooyen

On 30 September 1992, the “Fighting Wasps” of 3 Squadron SAAF, one of the country’s most famous fighter squadrons, took to the skies for the last time and then finally fell silent. At a farewell parade at Waterkloof Air Force Base, the Mirage F1CZ’s put on an air display and fly-past, then taxied to the front of their hangar and shut down their engines simultaneously.

Mirage F1CZ Last Flight

“Thundering jets” fall silent

The parade and display were attended by the Squadron’s Honorary Colonel, Mr Pik Botha, in full dress uniform and by Deputy Minister Wynand Breytenbach.
From its formation in 1940, 3 Squadron has lived up to its motto “Semper Pugnans” (They Always Fight) and has established a proud and distinguished record in many theatres of war.

In his farewell address, the Chief of the Air Force, Lt Gen James Kriel, paid tribute to the squadron and commended its role in securing peace for South Africa. He stated that 3 squadron had excelled in operations over Angola where over 600 sorties had been flown without the loss of a single aircraft.

Today, in circumstances where more peaceful conditions prevailed and no significant military threat faced South Africa, it had become necessary to close down certain squadrons and bases. However, the General stressed that this would not affect the ability of the SAAF to maintain its air power and to perform its assigned functions.

3 Squadron Disbanded
The Honorary Col, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Pik Botha, the Chief of the Air Force, Lt Gen James Kriel and Officer Commanding 3 Squadron, Cmdt W.J. Hartogh pay their homage.