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This gazette
Administered by: Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief
Published Date 01 Jun 2018

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                Government House

                                                                                                                   CANBERRA  ACT  2600

                                                                                                                        1 June 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNIT CITATION FOR GALLANTRY

 

 

The Governor-General is pleased to announce the following award of the Unit Citation for Gallantry:

 

 

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY HELICOPTER FLIGHT VIETNAM

 

For acts of extraordinary gallantry in action in South Vietnam from October 1967 to June 1971.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By His Excellency’s Command

 

Mark Fraser LVO OAM

Official Secretary to the Governor-General


 

THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY HELICOPTER FLIGHT VIETNAM

UNIT CITATION FOR GALLANTRY

 

For acts of extraordinary gallantry in action in South Vietnam from October 1967 to June 1971.

The Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam, as part of the Experimental Military Unit of the United States Army 135th Assault Helicopter Company, exhibited exceptional and extraordinary gallantry whilst engaged in offensive operations continuously throughout its four-year deployment. This exceptional gallantry was enabled by the efforts of the entire Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam.

The Flight was a unique unit and every member, regardless of mustering or category, either performed their duties with demonstrable gallantry or were used in roles for which they were not trained and still performed bravely. The administrative and maintenance staff were required to assist in the provision of base security in addition to their normal duties and almost all of the support personnel regularly volunteered to act as aircrew employed as door-gunners and Crew Chiefs. This was in addition to the extremely long maintenance hours required to support the tempo of operations conducted by the Flight. Over the course of the operations in Vietnam, the Flight accumulated a formidable record of operational flight hours and citations for individual gallantry. This has set it apart from other operational units.

While exposed to hostile fire and at great personal risk, aircrew flew on average 50 per cent more operational hours per month than other Australian aircrew in comparable roles with other units. Aircrew were constantly engaged by the enemy, faced the danger of booby-trapped landing zones and frequently found themselves fired upon by friendly forces. The personnel who flew with the Flight arguably saw the most intense combat of any Royal Australian Navy personnel in the war. Despite the fact that none of the personnel had previous operational service and none had been under fire, they were courageous in battle, exhibited exceptional and extraordinary gallantry and did so with great skill and heroic dedication in executing a mission far removed from those for which they had been trained. Over the period of the Flight's operations in South Vietnam, five members of the unit died and 22 were wounded in action.

The extraordinary gallantry, dedication to duty and astonishing record of the Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam conducting tasks far removed from the expectations of Naval service, has forever set it apart from other units. The extraordinary acts of gallantry and heroism consistently displayed by the personnel, combined with their loyal devotion to duty were in keeping with the finest traditions of the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Defence Force.