SURVIVAL JERKIN -sent to me by Adrian Rosenberg -we did not normally wear our brevets or nametags on our jerkins in case of capture by the enemy. The maroon nametag denotes that Adrian was from seven squadron as all RHAF Squadrons were allocated a colour. It is also interesting to note that RHAF Helicopter Technician/gunners were not issued with emergency radios in case of being shot down or crashing, they would have to rely on the emergency radio issued to the pilot.
Dick Paxton would always tell me that if we had to force lob and have to leg it in Indian territory he would shoot me in the leg and head off in the opposite direction so that the Gooks could follow my bloodspoor and give him a chance to escape!!!
STANDARD SCALE OF EQUIPMENT TO BE CARRIED BY ALL HELICOPTER CREWS IN SURVIVAL JERKINS
Copy of a circular sent to Seven Squadron members circa 1978.
It is proposed that the existing survival jerkins be scrapped and replaced by a stronger canvas version more in the form of webbing. The replacement version will do away with buttons and Velcro and instead pouches will be secured with metal studs. The front will be secured with metal rings thus ensuring that the jerkin will not open of its own accord so would be the case of Velcro.
Provision for two water bottle pouches will be made. A pistol holster will not be incorporated in the replacement jerkin and instead it is to be mandatory for helicopter crews to be issued with pistol holsters and belts. It will then be mandatory for pistols to be worn at all times in the bush. This situation will assist in improving base security.
Regrettably it is impossible to issue all pilots and techs with the full standard requirement of kit to be carried in the jerkins. The aim is for all helicopter pilots to be fully equipped and for techs to get together as much of the kit as possible. Obviously a downed crew will stick together if possible so that for rescue purposes, it will be known what the standard survival equipment that crew has in its possession.
As regards 7 Sqn aircraft, the standard aircraft packs to be removed and the crews of these aircraft are only to carry the standardized survival jerkin. 8 Sqn. Aircraft are more likely to be involved in long range external operations and as a result these aircraft will continue to be equipped with aircraft survival packs.
Listed below is the standardized scale of kit to be carried in survival jerkins. Until such time as the replacement jerkins are in hand it will be necessary to continue in the best possible way with the existing item.
Mini Flares 1pack up
Nite Flying torch 1
Day Nite distress flare* 1
Marching compass* 1
Knife clasp* 1
Label code emergency* 1
Dayglo Panel 32cmx32cm* 1
Personal first Aid Kit 1
Boxes matches* 2
Tablets water purifying 1 bottle
Water bottles 2
FN Magazines 2
NOTE: - The items asterisked are issued together in a sealed plastic pack up on a personal loan basis and it will be an offence to make use of these items unless for obvious emergency