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High US Awards to two RAN Units



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NAVY NEVS INFORMATION

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HICtH US AWARDS TO TWO RAN UNITS

The United States Navy would award its Meritorious

Unit Commendation to each of two RAN units for "valour and

meritorious performance", the Minister for the Navy, Mr. D.J.

Killen, said today.

The high award had been made tos­

, The RAN* s 817 (Helicopter) Squadron for .

meritorious achievement on June ? 1969,

while participating in rescue operations

following the collision between HMAS

MELBOURNE and USS FRANK E. EVANS, and

. To the guided missile destroyer HMAS PERTH

for meritorious achievement while participating

in combat operations in Vietnam from. '

September 24, 1968 to March 31, 1969. ■

Both awards had been approved by Her Majesty the Queen,

Mr. Killen said.

The awards will entitle the units to wear a distinguishing

flag and members of the unit a separate distinctive ribbon.

HMAS PERTH was previously awarded the US Navy Unit

Commendation for her performance of duty in Vietnam on a previous

tour. A similar award was also won by PERTH’S sister ship,

HMAS HOBART, during her 1967 Vietnam tour while the RAN Clearing

Living Team Three was awarded t he.Meritorious Unit Commendation

for its 1967 Vietnam tour of duty, .

The citation to PERTH’S latest award said that as a

member of the U3N Seventh Fleet, PERTH contributed significantly

to combat operations by conducting numerous successful fire

missions against heavily defended enemy installations and lines

of communications.

. . ,/2

The citation to the award to 817 Squadron, says that

the helicopters and men of 817 Squadron were called upon for

maximum effort during rescue operations not only during the

first critical minutes when survivors were "being illuminated

"by searchlights of the squadron's helicopters, "but also during

the more than 15 hours in which search operations continued.

Two men were recovered "by the squadron within a short time

after the collision and many others were assisted by the

directions and lights provided by the helicopters.

CANBERRA., 6th July, 1970.