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SAAFA East Rand flies high

The SAAFA East Rand branch invites aviation enthusiasts to its table.

Thirty places were set at a table befitting an extravagant luncheon at Café @ The Range, Kempton Park, when South African Air Force Association (SAAFA) East Rand Branch members arrived for their monthly gathering on June 14.

Former colleagues and new friends shared crisp handshakes when they celebrated the common denominator that brought them together – aviation in all its facets.

Welcoming those in attendance, branch chairperson Roelf Rossouw said he is delighted to see more seats added to the SAAFA table monthly.

“Our branch has continued to grow in numbers and, so too, allowed us to extend our reach through our benevolence projects,” he said.

New to the crew. Stephan and Jared Goodyear recently became SAAFA East Rand members.

“Every member’s commitment to our branch further grows interest in keeping our country’s rich aviation history alive and further ensures we can continue extending a helping hand to those who soared through the skies before us.”

Rossouw used the opportunity to highlight one particular member’s dedication.

“Grant Smith may be one of our quieter members, but when we signal a call for benevolence, he is first to radio in. We are grateful to share a table with a man with such a gracious spirit,” said Rossouw while presenting Smith with a certificate of appreciation.

During its recent national executive conference, the Benoni City Times received a certificate of merit for its service to promoting SAAFA East Rand and SAAFA as a whole, and this was handed over at the luncheon.

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Major Mari Odendaal, the telecoms official and cryptographer at the South African Air Force’s headquarters at Waterkloof military base, was welcomed as the rose among a band of merry aviation enthusiasts and former servicemen.

Odendaal launched her career in the air force merely five weeks after completing her matric. The ballerina traded her tutu for a uniform, completing her training in Hoedspruit before assuming the communications officer role at the Overberg command post.

At the start of the year, she accepted a promotion to major in the operational communications administration division at Waterkloof.

“The South African Air Force is flexing its muscle and proving to still be at the top of its game,” she said.

Ronel Engelbrecht dons a SAAFA fedora.

“We are constantly reassessing and reinventing our operational capabilities and careers in the force, beckoning the younger generation to pursue the unique opportunities it offers.”

With lunch served, members immersed in conversation shared tales of yore and Francois ‘Doc’ Malan cracked some of his signature jokes.

The organisation is preparing celebrations to commemorate the branch’s 45th anniversary in September and invites aeronautical enthusiasts, young and old, to join the festivities.

For more information, contact Roelf Rossouw on 073 186 7761 or rossouwrj1@gmail.com

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