Recognition for Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Vietnam Veterans

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The Hon Darren Chester MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel

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18 August 2018

The outstanding service of Royal Australian Navy’s Helicopter Flight Vietnam (RANHFV) was today recognised with the presentation of the Unit Citation for Gallantry at a ceremony conducted by the Governor-General of Australia, his Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC (Retd) and former Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO CSC RAN(Rtd).

Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the outstanding service of the personnel of RANHFV was worthy of the Citation and paid tribute to the members and their descendants, thanking them for their courage, dedication and service.

“I am proud to be part of today’s ceremony to acknowledge all those who served and it is appropriate that on our national day of remembrance we recognise the contribution of the RANHFV,” Mr Chester said.

Deployed to South Vietnam between October 1967 and June 1971, the 196 officers and sailors of RANHV were integrated with the US Army 135th Assault Helicopter Company (AHC).

With AHC they flew helicopters in both utility and gunship configurations averaging 750 flying hours per month. Sadly, five Navy personnel died whilst serving with the RANHFV and 22 were wounded in action.

Mr Chester said the motto of RANHFV “get the bloody job done” personified the nature of the Australian service personnel both then and today.

“This attitude is evident in service men and women I meet today in the Australian Defence Force including the Navy’s modern Fleet Air Arm.

“Today we acknowledge the bravery and courage shown by the members of Helicopter Flight Vietnam, and the critical role families and loved ones played in these events of our past,” Mr Chester said.

“Your bravery during the battle, your care and support upon their return, your never-fading memories of those who didn’t return and those who did but are not longer with us, will never be forgotten.

“The extraordinary courage displayed by Royal Australian Navy personnel in Vietnam in adapting to offensive helicopter operations in the field in both a joint and coalition force environment was unique in our history at the time and a forerunner to the adaptability and attitude of the Fleet Air Arm today.”

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