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Twelve RAAF men get awards for service in Vietnam



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MINISTERIAL PRESS RELEASE

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28TH OCTOBER, 1968 RAAF PR S4255/68

NOT FOR RELEASE BEFORE 0001 HOURS ON 29TH OCTOBER 1968

STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE GORDON FREETH. M.P., MINISTER FOR AIR

TWELVE RAAF MEN GET AWARDS FOR SERVICE IN VIETNAM

Twelve members of the RAAF have been decorated for service in

Vietnam, the Minister for Air, Mr. Gordon Freeth, announced today.

The awards cover six Distinguished Flying Crosses and six

Mention-in-Despatches.

The complete list iss-Distinguished Flying Cross .

Squadron Leader P.J. Reed, of RAAF Base, Fairbairn, ACT

Squadron Leader A.C. Jory, of RAAF Base, Fairbairn, ACT

Squadron Leader N.J.G. Watling, of RAAF Base, Richmond, NSW

Flight Lieutenant A.P. Ford, of RAAF Base, Butterworth, Malaysia

Flight Lieutenant P.G. Smith, of 101 Ocean Avenue, Anna Bay, NSW

Flying Officer B.H. Fooks, of 9 Main Street, Beverley, SA

Mention-in-Despatches

Flight Lieutenant R.C. Thompson of 20th Street, Renmark, SA

Flight Lieutenant W.A. Gill, of 52 Olympus Way, Lyons, ACT

Flight Lieutenant R.A· Fisher, of 2 Rumbalara Crescent, RAAF Base, Darwin

Flying Officer P.A. Davidson, of 1 Jones Arena», Warners Bay, NSW

Corporal M.D. Johnson, of 9 Woodend Road, Ipswich, Old

Corporal A.D. Gale, of 52 Fourth Street, Boolaroo, NSW

DFC's:

Squadron Leader Peter John Reed recently completed an operational tour of

duty in Vietnam as Commanding Officer of No 9 (Iroquois Helicopter) Squadron.

The citation for his DFC said that during his tour he displayed outstanding

professional skill, judgement and determination. He led over 50 missions

to deliver and collect members of clandestine patrols deep in enemy held

territory. In addition, he flew many rescue missions to evacuate friendly

casualties, often under enemy fire. The citation said that he developed

many new tactics for helicopter operations in support of ground forces.

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Squadron Leader Athol Charles Jory a pilot with No 9 (Helicopter)

Squadron, RAAF, recently completed an operational tour of duty in '

Vietnam. While in Vietnam he was responsible for the advanced

operational training of helicopter pilots and crews. His advice

and calm demeanor helped to build the confidence of junior crews,

particularly when under enemy fire. His DFC citation said that his

rescue, in adverse weather conditions and under the threat of enemy

attack, of an injured pilot from a crashed aircraft was typical of

the skill and determination shown throughout his tour.

Squadron Leader Nicholas James Gregory Watling was responsible for

the supervision of flying activities of No 35 (Caribou Transport)

Squadron in Vietnam. During his tour of duty as a pilot, he exhibited

exceptional courage and tenacity which enabled him to complete every

flying mission he undertook in spite of the hazards of adverse weather

and enemy ground fire. His DFC citation said that he frequently

delivered urgently needed combat supplies to insecure airfields, often

under enemy attack. His flying skill and devotion to duty were an

inspiration to other members of the squadron.

Flight Lieutenant Anthony Philip Ford recently completed an operational

tour of duty as a Forward Air Controller with the United States Seventh

Air Force in Vietnam. The citation for his DFC said that he distinguished

himself by gallantry in operations against an enemy force near Cai Lay on

25th March, 1968. Enemy ground fire in the area was so intense that he

was advised to withdraw by the ground force commander. However, even

though his aircraft was hit by enemy fire six times, he elected to

continue marking targets for ground attack aircraft and directing

artillery fire until the enemy was forced to withdraw with considerable

losses.

Flight Lieutenant Peter Graham Smith as a Forward Air Controller with

the United States Seventh Air Foroe in Vietnam, distinguished himself

by gallantry in connection with operations against the enemy in Gia Dinh

Province on 16th February, 1968. He attempted to mark the positions of

enemy forces for the ground attack aircraft but, owing to the nature of

the soil, the marking rockets would not operate. Disregarding the

intense ground fire, he circled at low level directly over the enemy

positions. This action permitted the attacking aircraft to locate and

destroy the enemy.

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Flying Officer Brian Harris Fooks distinguished himself as a Forward

Air Controller with the United States Seventh Air Force in Vietnam.

His DFC citation said that he distinguished himself by gallantry in

connection with the defence of a support base near Trang Bom, Bien Hoa

Province, on the night of 29th February, 1968. He repeatedly presented

his aircraft as a target for ground fire to establish enemy positions

and then skilfully co-ordinated flare drops with attacks by supporting

fighter aircraft. His actions resulted in the routing of the enemy

attacking force. The citation said that his courage and devotion to

duty on this night and throughout his tour had brought great credit on

himself and the RAAF.

MENTION-IN-DESPATCHES

Flight Lieutenant Robert Charles Thompson, a pilot with No 9 (Iroquois

Helicopter) Squadron in Vietnam earned his MIDs "For bravery in evacuating

casualties in hazardous conditions, and his devotion to duty throughout

his tour".

Flight Lieutenant William Allen Gill, a pilot with No 9 (Iroquois

Helicopter) Squadron in Vietnam, reeeived his MIDs.. "For bravery in

evacuating casualties under fire and courage in action against the

enemy".

Flight Lieutenant Richard Allan Fisher, an Air Defence Controller with

the United States Seventh Air Force in Vietnam, earned his MID: "For

skill and devotion to duty controlling air operations in the Saigon

area, especially during aircraft emergencies".

Flying Officer Peter Alexander Davidson, a pilot with No 9 (Iroquois

Helicopter) Squadron in Vietnam, received his MIDs "For bravery in

rescuing an army patrol under fire, and his example to others throughout

his tour".

Corporal Murray Denis Johnson, an airframe fitter with No 2 (Canberra

Bomber) Squadron, at Phan Rang, Vietnam, received his MID: "For his

example to others - by his devotion to duty, and effective efforts to

improve the welfare of squadron members".

Corporal Arthur Douglas Gale.an airfield defence guard with No 2

(Canberra Bomber) Squadron in Vietnam received his MIDs "For his

leadership and devotion to duty in the ground defence of Phan Rang

Air Base, Vietnam".

Enquiries:

Department of Air Telephone No - Working Hours 652321-22-23

Directorate of Public Relations After Hours 815785 Russell Offices CANBERRA ACT EMBARGOED

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NOTE

Pictures of main award winners, mentioned above,

have been mailed to capital city newspaper offices. The only

exception is Fit Lt Smith whose picture is available for

gramming, if required, at the Central Post Office, Canberra.