When Cabinet decided to commit Australian military personnel to Malaya in 1950, the RAAF was able to respond quickly because No. 38 Squadron crews had returned home from Europe in late 1949 after taking part in the Berlin Airlift.
No. 38 Squadron RAAF flew its first mission of the Malayan Emergency in July 1950 when it carried wounded Commonwealth soldiers from airstrips at Ipoh and Taiping to Kuala Lumpur. During its two and a half years in the area the squadron carried out a wide variety of operations including troop transportation and evacuation, paratroop and leaflet drops, target marking, and meteorological observation.
After the squadron moved to Kuala Lumpur in April 1951 and began working with No. 1 Squadron RNZAF, most operations consisted of supply drops. During the year in which the two squadrons were stationed at Kuala Lumpur they dropped more than 400 tonnes of supplies to Commonwealth ground forces. Most of the supplies were dropped in 90-kilogram bags suspended from parachutes. No. 38 Squadron also carried out cargo flights throughout the region and as far afield as Japan, Korea and Sri Lanka.