Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence - Inquiry into unresolved recognition for service with the United States Army Small Ships Section

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The Hon Darren Chester MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Media contact
  • Brie Colley (Mr Chester’s office) (02) 6277 4029
  • James Cannon (Tribunal) 0433 884 238
  • Defence Media (02) 6127 1999

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12 November 2014

The Government has accepted the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal’s recommendations of its inquiry into unresolved recognition of members of the US Army Small Ships Section, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Darren Chester, announced today. 

“This inquiry has sought to resolve questions of recognition and ambiguity caused by the former Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal 2009 Inquiry into Recognition for Service with the US Army Small Ships Section” Mr Chester said.

“I am pleased to announce that the Government has accepted the Tribunal’s recommendations and that Australian seamen embarked on merchant ships operated by the United States Army Small Ships Section between 1942 and 1945, will now be recognised with the Australia Service Medal 1939-1945.”

During the Second World War a number of small ships and boats provided direct support for the armed services in the field under the category of US Army Small Ships Section.

These ships assisted with the transport personnel and equipment in support of US and allied forces operating in New Guinea and the Pacific, where smaller ships were required to navigate shallow waters and beach landings.

The recommendation that Australian civilians serving with the US Army Small Ships Section during the Second World War be eligible for the Australia Service Medal 1939-1945 has required the Government to carefully consider a number of factors.

“The Tribunal’s recommendations represent a balanced position on the equitable recognition of those serving with Australian organisations and those serving with foreign allied organisations,” Mr Chester said.

For further information please contact the Defence Honours and Awards Directorate:

                     Directorate of Honours and Awards

                     Department of Defence

                     CP2-1, PO Box 7952

                     CANBERRA BC ACT 2610

                     Ph: 1800 111 321 (10.00am – 4.00pm Monday to Thursday, AEST)       Email:

Applications can also be made online via the Defence Honours and Awards Directorate website: 


Media contact:
Chloe Petch (Darren Chester’s office) 0477 395 356
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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