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Vietnam awards to RAAF



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MINISTERIAL PRESS RELEASE RAAP PR S4049/66

NOT FOR RELEASE BEFORE 0001 HOURS (EST) WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 9TH

STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE PETER HOWSON. MP. MINISTER FOR AIR

VIETNAM AWARDS TO RAAF

The award of Mention-in-Despatches to six memhers of the

Royal Australian Air Force for service in VIETNAM was announced today

"by the Minister for Air (Mr Peter Howson). '

One of the six decorated, Squadron Leader Lyall Klaffer, of

Adelaide, South Australia, received the award for service in Vietnam

with the United States 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. Squadron

Leader Klaffer was on exchange duty with this squadron in the United

States when it was assigned to operations in Vietnam.

The five other awards were for service under fire or the

threat of fire with the RAAF Caribou Flight in Vietnam.

The RAAF members decorated are:-

SQUADRON LEADER LYALL ROBERT KLAFFER, pilot of Prospect, SA

Awarded Mention-in-Despatches.

The citation states that "as a temporary assignment he

accompanied 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on deployment for

service in Vietnam from 30th October 1965 to 18th January 1966.

During this period, Squadron Leader Klaffer supervised the entry of

the first RF-I4 C reconnaissance aircraft into a combat operational

theatre and was responsible for the development and briefing of the

tactics to be used in the reconnaissance role. The excellent'manner

in which he accomplished this task was reflected in the high sortie

rate and the minimal damage sustained by the aircraft from anti­

aircraft fire. By personal effort, Squadron Leader Klaffer also

contributed directly to the improved facilities in the squadron

operations centre, the conversion and indoctrination pf replacement

aircrew without interference to the operational efficiency of the

squadron, and the excellent frontline servicing that was provided by

the ground staff personnel. The exemplary leadership, determination

and devotion to duty displayed by Squadron Leader Klaffer reflects

great credit on himself and the Royal Australian Air Force” .

FLIGHT LIEUTENANT GRAEME ALEXANDER NICHOLSON, pilot of Adelaide, SA

Awarded Mention-in-Despatches.

The citation states that during his operational tour with

the RAAF Transport Flight in Vietnam he ”flew a total of 727 hours

and at all times displayed a very high level of professional skill

and operational efficiency. During the siege *f Plei Me in late 1965

Nicholson was responsible fqr the dropping of vital ammunition supplies

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to a "besieged garrison. Despite concentrated small arms fire he

delivered the supplies into a restricted area with remarkable accuracy.

These supplies helped in relieving the situation thus contributing to

the saving of many lives. This incident was typical of this officer's

determination and devotion to duty”.

FLIGHT LIEUTENANT GEORGE GODFREY, pilot of Collie, WA

Awarded Mention-in-Depstaches

The citation states that Flight Lieutenant Godfrey "was posted to RAAF Transport Flight, Vietnam in May 1965 and during his operational tour flew a total of 730 hours. At all times, he displayed a high standard of professional skill and, on many occasions whilst

subject to enemy ground fire, his determination in the air and devotion to duty contributed greatly to the Success of the operations. His fine leadership qualities and his performance under adverse conditions set a splendid example to other members of his unit".

■ FLYING OFFICER PETER YATES, pilot of Perth, WA

Awarded Mention-in-De spat che s

The citation states that "during his Vietnam tour, Flying Officer Yates carried out his operational duties in a highly professional manner and displayed courage and determination under threat of enemy fire. Jiis leadership and untiring devotion to duty made a direct contribution

"to the success if many important operational missions. Flying Officer Yates set an outstanding example to his fellow officers and subordinates and played a major part in setting the high Standard of operational efficiency achieved by his unit".

CORPORAL RAYMOND CHARLES CHANDLER, of Laverton, WA

Awarded Mention-in-Despatches

The citation states that "during his operational tour in Vietnam, Corporal Chandler was instrumental in maintaining a high standard of aircraft serviceability by working long hours on vital aircraft metal repairs. On the night of 12th March 1966, when the Vung Tau airfield was mortared by the v iet Cong, two Caribou aircraft

sustained battle damage. Corporal Chandler worked continuously to effect repairs, end it was through his untiring work and devotion to duty that the flight was able to maintain its flying aommitments in the following days. This incident typifies this NCO's unselfish attitude and devotion to duty* Corporal Chandler's resourcefulness, enthusiasm, professional skill and persenal example were in accordance with the best traditions of the Service and set an outstanding example to other

members of his unit".

CORPORAL STANLEY DONALD MELLOW, of Hastings, Victoria

Awarded Mention-in-De spat che s

The citation states that "throughout his Vietnam tour, Corporal Mellow constantly displayed untiring devotion to duty and set a fine example to all members of his unit. He frequently volunteered fpr work on unserviceable aircraft away from base, and in these situa­

tions displayed outstanding resourcefulness when forced to work under the threat of enemy fire and with the minimum necessary servicing equipment. His ability to diagnose faults and correct them quickly and efficiently inspired confidence in the aircrews who flew the Caribou

aircraft, and his cheerfulness in adverse conditions was reflected in the high morale of the airmen who worked under his leadership. Corporal Mellow's diligence, efficiency and leadership under exacting conditions were in accordance with the best traditions of the RAAF".

Enquiries: Department of Air, Directorate of Public Relations. Telephone No - Working Hours 652323, After Hours, 91684 EMBARGOED EMBARGOED · EMBARGOED