Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon Darren Chester MP, today announced the extraordinary gallantry displayed by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Helicopter Flight Vietnam (HFV) will be recognised by the Unit Citation for Gallantry.
Mr Chester said the outstanding service of the pilots and the maintenance and support personnel during RANHFV’s deployment in South Vietnam from October 1967– June 1971 is worthy of the Citation.
“In 1967, a detachment of the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm was integrated with the US Army 135th Assault Helicopter Company. The newly established RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam flew helicopters in both utility and gunship configurations,” Mr Chester said.
“In addition to their usual duties, a significant number of the maintenance and support personnel also worked as aircrew and door-gunners, and ensured the security of their bases.
“RANHFV did extraordinarily dangerous work and spent most days flying combat assault missions, with the expectation of coming under fire on every second sortie.”
The recommendation for the RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam to be awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry was accepted by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) following an inquiry by the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal.
Veterans of the RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam are encouraged to apply for the Unit Citation for Gallantry through the Department of Defence Medals Online Application form available at: www.defence.gov.au/medals.
Family members of deceased veterans are also encouraged to apply to receive the insignia.
An event will be held later in the year for recipients to receive their awards.