Retired Flight Lieutenant Richard Tanner spent almost 20 years with the Australian Air Force, and in his two decades of service, one aircraft stood out among all the rest.
"The RF-111C was the best reconnaissance aircraft in the world, you couldn't surpass it for what it had in those days," Flight Lieutenant Tanner said.
"You just couldn't compare it. It's so unique."
While the aircraft were retired from service in 2011, one of the jets will now form part of the Australian War Memorial's collection.
The memorial will house the jet in its new Mitchell storage facility, which will open to the public in October 2020.
The RF-111C was the only remaining aircraft that participated in missions over East Timor in 1999.
Flight Lieutenant Tanner worked with the aircraft as an interpreter during reconnaissance missions, helping to interpret photos and data from the jet.
"I worked with it all over Australia on the missions. We traced oil slicks off the coast of Australia and we also planned missions across Cape York tracing the path of explorer Ludwig Leichhardt," he said.
"We did lots of work with the army for things such as camouflage protection and we were able to take photos with the aircraft from 15,000 or 20,000 feet above the target."
The aircraft flew with the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War and conducted air strikes against Libya in the 1980s and in the Gulf War.
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson said the aircraft had been in service for more than 40 years. "This aircraft and its type evoke great emotion for the two generations of Royal Australian Air Force men and women who flew and maintained it, and for the families who loved and supported them," Dr Nelson said.
"Over 37 years of extraordinary service, the men and women of the air force have enabled this aircraft to serve our nation so magnificently."
While the aircraft will be housed in the memorial storage facility in Mitchell, Dr Nelson said it would take pride of place as part of the memorial's $500 million expansion.
"There'll be a new atrium connecting the new Anzac Hall to the existing memorial and this aircraft will be there under that atrium," he said.
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