AWARDS & CITATIONS EARNED BY APC CREW MEMBERS IN VIET NAM

I believe the most important award on this page is the The United States Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, which was won by the 173rd Airborne Brigade 1RAR GROUP, and part of that group was 1 Troop A Sqn 4th/19th PWLH, who were the first Armoured unit from Australian into Viet Nam. The Citation for 1 RAR Group.

By the direction of the Secretary of the Army, the Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to the 1st BATTALION, ROYAL AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT GROUP for exceptionally meritorious achievement in the performance of outstanding service. Included in this group where 1 Troop, A Squadron, 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse & 1 Armoured Personal Carrier Troop.

The 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, distinguished itself in the conduct of military operation in the Republic of Vietnam from 5 May 1965 to 16 May 1966 while attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate) of the United States Army. As the first ground combat unit in-country, the 173rd Airborne Brigade and its assigned and attached units conducted extensive combat manoeuvres in the Bien Hoa area and in the Viet Cong strongholds of War Zone D and the Iron Triangle during the period 5 May 1965 to 4 May 1967. In every confrontation with the stubborn insurgents, the 173rd Airborne Brigade displayed marked aggressiveness which enabled them to neutralize enemy strongholds and capture thousands of logistical items. In addition to remarkable skill and tenacity in combat, the sky soldiers of the brigade carried on an extensive civic action program characterised by sincere compassion for the   suppressed local populace. During each of the brigade's combat operations, the sky soldiers immeasurably aided the allied counterinsurgency effort by winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people.  The remarkable proficiency and devotion to duty displayed by the members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect distinct credit upon themselves, the Armed Forces of the United States, and the Armed Forces of Australian and New Zealand.

Army Number: 235254

Substantive Rank: Captain

Christian Name: Thomas Henry

Surname:. ARROWSMITH

Honour or Award: MID. Now upgraded to Medal for Gallantry (MG)

                           

Captain Thomas Arrowsmith graduated from Royal Military College, Duntroon on 11th December 1963 and was allotted to The Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment in South Vietnam in October 1968, and was transferred to B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment in May 1969.

On 19th January 1969, Captain Arrowsmith was the Commander of a combined Special Air Service, infantry and cavalry ambush which had been observing an enemy 'supply route for several days. At 1715 hours a successful ambush was initiated against an enemy party. Several hours later the enemy probed the ambush site and attempted to overrun the Special Air Service position. Captain Arrowsmith calmly deployed his troop and with skilful timing and fire control extracted the Special Air Service group to safety, without casualties.

On 29th May 1969, Captain Arrowsmith was deployed in combined infantry and cavalry ambush sites on Route 328. At 2030 hours, two ambush points were initiated against a force of over 50,.resulting in substantial casualties to the enemy. Throughout the night Captain Arrowsmith calmly controlled his troops in the ambush sites, reassuring his force by his own confidence, although out of artillery range and expecting an enemy counter attack at any time. Next day, in returning to base down Route 328, he again came in contact with the enemy. In close country and whilst being fired upon by enemy rocket launchers, he skilfully manoeuvred his force, completely routing the enemy, without casualties to his troops.

In these contacts with the enemy and in other such engagements, Captain Arrowsmith has displayed a standard of professionalism and personal courage, that has been an inspiration to troops serving under him and to the remainder of the Squadron.

Army Number. 38317                                                    

Substantive Rank; Trooper

Temporary Rank: Corporal

Christian Name: John Alexander

Surname: CARTER

Honour or Award: DCM    

   

At approximately 1800 hours 18th August 1966 Corporal John Carter was the Crew Commander of an armoured personnel carrier of 3 Troop, 1 Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron. This Troop had been given the task of carrying a relieving force of Infantry to assist D Company 6 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment which was in heavy contact with a brigade sized enemy force. Orders were for the carrier Troop to advance with two sections forward. Weather conditions at the time were extremely difficult due to a severe rain storm.

When contact was made with the enemy, Corporal Carter's vehicle was engaged by fire from 57 millimetre recoilless rifle, machine gun and small arms fire. The projectile from the 57millimetre recoilless rifle missed his vehicle and exploded against a rubber tree. Corporal Carter returned fire using his .50 calibre machine gun. The gun jammed. He then grasped the driver's Owen Machine Carbine and without hesitation leapt onto the top of his vehicle and returned fire killing the 57 millimetre recoilless rifle team a fraction after another 57 millimetre recoilless rifle round had been fire. This round exploded and dazed the crew and passengers. Corporal Carter still undeterred continued to fire killing five other enemy.

By his actions Corporal Carter also drew additional fire onto himself enabling the other vehicles of the Troop to advance.

Through the action which was fought at very close range, Corporal Carter showed outstanding courage, initiative and determination. His actions were an inspiration to all his comrades and contributed greatly to the success of the assault by the relief force, the heavy casualties inflicted on the enemy, and immediately afterwards, the relief of D Company, 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.

Army Number: 17023

Substantive Rank: Major

Christian Name: Henry John

Surname: COATES

Honour or Award: MBE,  RVN Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star

                        

Major Henry John Coates graduated from The Royal Military College Duntroon on 14th December 1955 and was allotted to The Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He arrived in South Vietnam on 27th May 1970 as Officer Commanding B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment.

From the outset Major Coates displayed drive and aggression characteristic of a sound cavalry Commander. Through his assessment of the capacity of each of the sub units under his command he was able to deploy the correct force to meet the particular requirements of a given task.

On 29th November 1970, in the village of Kuen Noc, Phuoc Tuy Province Vietnam, when a Vietnamese post was over-run by the enemy, Major Coates was appointed to the command of a relief force to stabilise the situation. his swift reaction and determined leadership on this occasion was an inspiration to the whole force in the Corps area of operations.

Major Coates was appointed the principal Operations Staff Officer on Headquarters 1st Australian Task Force on 4th January 1971. In this position, Major Coates used his professional ability and operational experience to readily assess a situation thereby providing sound staff direction and support of units deployed on operations. His singular success in carrying out operational and staff tasks reflect credit to himself, his Corps and the Australian Army.

Army Number: 214099

Substantive Rank:    Corporal

Christian Name: Eric John

Surname: COLLINS

Honour or Award: MID 

Corporal Collins enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on the 8 June 1961 and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He arrived in South Vietnam to join A Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment on 12 September 1967

On Operation Pinaroo in March 1968, a vehicle in Corporal Collins' section was damaged by rocket fire and the crew wounded. Corporal Collins immediately brought his own vehicle forward to an exposed position to engage the enemy and provide covering fire whilst the injured crewman was rescued

On Operation Toan Thang in May 1968, a vehicle in Corporal Collins' section detonated an anti-tank mine and the crew commander was wounded. There were no engineers present so Corporal Collins operated the mine detector to clear the area for the medical evacuation helicopter. Disregarding his personal safety he then swept the area of the mine crater and discovered a second mine. His prompt actions, personal courage, initiative and leadership enabled the safe evacuation of the casualty.

During a land clearing operation in August 1968, Corporal Collins was escorting a bulldozer which detonated an anti-tank mine wounding two engineers. Corporal Collins immediately secured the area and personally supervised the evacuation of the wounded.

Corporal Collins has consistently shown that he is a cool, quick thinking NCO who has shown above average qualities of initiative, courage and leadership. His action whilst in contact with the enemy has been an inspiration to other members of his Troop.

Army Number: 38619

Substantive Rank: Second Lieutenant

Christian Name: John Frederick

Surname: CROSSMAN

Honour or Award: MID

Second Lieutenant John Crossman graduated from the Officer Cadet School, Portsea on 1 1 June 1966 and was allotted to The Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment in South Vietnam in January 1968.

He commenced his tour of duty as a Troop officer and then later became the Squadron intelligence and liaison officer. An extremely dedicated and competent young officer he approached all his responsibilities in a most professional manner.

As Squadron intelligence officer Second lieutenant Crossman was very thorough in the performance of his duties and constantly sought ways and means to improve his knowledge. On several occasions he successfully devised new ambush techniques for cavalry, which he personally put into practice.

During Operations Harvest, Capital and Goodwood between October 1968 and January 1969, he was deployed as a liaison officer with the United States Army units working in support of the Australian Task Force. His exemplary conduct, bearing, manner, cooperation and grasp of military affairs at all times enabled him to be held in the highest regard by the Allied units to which he was attached.

In all respects an outstanding young officer, Second Lieutenant Crossman set a fine example to his fellow officers and to the men who served under him.

 

Army Number: 215419

Substantive Rank: Corporal

Temporary Rank: Sergeant

Christian Name: David William

Surname: DAVIES

Honour or Award: MID

 

Sergeant David William Davies enlisted into the Australian Regular Army on 26yh February 1963, and was allotted to The Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined B Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment in South Vietnam on 3rd December 1969.

On 18th February 1970, the Cavalry Section Sergeant Davies was commanding was moving along a jungle trail at the base of the Long Hai mountains when it made contact with the enemy. Sergeant Davies' armoured personnel carrier was hit and penetrated by an enemy anti-tank rocket. The driver was seriously wounded. Although Sergeant Davies himself received a serious wound to his foot and the enemy was still in the area, he removed the driver from the driver's seat and drove the damaged armoured personnel carrier out of the danger area. Sergeant Davies discovered at this time that his radio had been damaged. Without considering his own injuries, he ran to another carrier and organised counter fire against the enemy. As a result of this fire, the enemy quickly withdrew.

Throughout the incident, Sergeant Davies displayed calmness, courage, presence of mind and leadership which were a credit to himself, to his Regiment and to the Australian Army.

 

Army Number: 42463

Substantive Rank: Lieutenant

Temporary Rank; Captain

Christian Name. Ramon

Surname. DE VERE

Honour or Award: MC

Captain Ramon De Vere was commissioned from the ranks on 15th June 1966, and was allotted to The Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined 3rd Cavalry Regiment in South Vietnam on 7th January 1969.

Captain De Vere has commanded a cavalry Troop for ten months and has been in many actions against the enemy. In the month of February during the TET offensive, his Troop was deployed as part of the Task Force Ready Reaction Force. On 18th February, his Troop took part in an attack to dislodge an enemy force from the village of Long Dien. On the night 22nd, 23rd February his Troop was involved in actions when the enemy attacked the Province Capital Baria. In both these actions, Captain De Vere displayed a high standard of professionalism and personal courage.

On 6th June 1969, he commanded a combined force, consisting of a tank Troop and his own Troop, against a strong enemy force in the village of Binh Ba. In this action, he displayed complete calmness and control whilst under fire. His personal actions and orders significantly contributed to the defeat of the enemy. On 7th and 8th June 1969, his Troop redeployed to the village of Long Dien where once again they performed creditably.

On 5th August 1969, Captain De Vere sited his Troop in ambush positions on the coast near the Nui Tam Bo hills. One of the ambush points was sprung against a party of twenty five of the enemy. The subsequent actions of his Troop at night resulted in fifteen of the enemy being killed.

On these and many other occasions, Captain De Vere displayed above average leadership qualities. He moulded his Troop into a proficient fighting force and his personal efforts and the excellent performance of his troop are a credit to him and a fine example of all.

Army Number: 335157

Substantive Rank: Captain

Christian Name: Rodney Michael

Surname: EARLE

Honour or Award: MID

 

Captain Rodney Earle graduated from the Military College on 9th December 1964, and was allotted to The Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined B Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment in South Vietnam on 24th September 1970. He continued to serve with A Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment from 7th January 1971.

On arrival in South Vietnam Captain Earle was appointed to command 1 Troop and has continued in that capacity. Immediately after his arrival, Captain Earle was deployed on operations and has been on operations constantly since then.

By an excellent display of devotion to duty, practical and theoretical knowledge, and the finest qualities of leadership, he has welded his Troop into an extremely effective and professional group. During his period of command, his Troop has accounted for 57 enemy killed or captured.

In all matters pertaining to command and control of his troop, Captain Earle has shown a high degree of skill and initiative which reflect great credit upon himself, his Regiment and the Australian Army.

 

Army Number: 52989

Substantive Rank: Sergeant

Christian Name: John William

Surname; FOGARTY

Honour or Award: MID

 

Sergeant John Fogarty enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on 12th September 1955 and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He was posted to 3rd Cavalry Regiment in May 1967 and arrived in South Vietnam to join A Squadron in December 1967.

On all occasions when he has been in contact with the enemy he has displayed above average ability to overcome hazardous situations.

On 1st March 1968 when his troop was employed to assist in clearing an enemy force from Baria, Sergeant Fogarty's armoured personnel carrier was hit by an enemy rocket and caught fire. The ammunition in the carrier commenced to explode but Sergeant Fogarty remained inside the vehicle until he was sure that all troops aboard it had escaped.

In the period May to June 1968 Sergeant Fogarty was at Fire Support Base Coral when it sustained numerous heavy mortar and rocket attacks. During these attacks Sergeant Fogarty displayed exceptional coolness under fire when lie repeatedly exposed himself to cheek the safety of his own Troop and to determine the direction of the enemy attacks. In July 1968, on operations, a vehicle in his section was mined causing one fatal and several other casualties. Although the area was being swept by enemy fire Sergeant Fogarty successfully extracted the casualties and his section from the area.

On these and all other actions, the high degree of personal bravery, leadership initiative and coolness under fire shown by Sergeant Fogarty reflected great credit upon himself and provided an excellent example to all.

Army Number: 1203040

Substantive Rank: Trooper

Christian Name: Daniel John

Surname: HANDLEY

Honour or Award: MID. Now upgraded to Medal for Gallantry (MG)

                                               

Trooper Daniel John Handley enlisted in the Australian Army on 6th January 1970, and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined B Squadron, 3rd Calvary Regiment in South Vietnam on 22nd October 1970, and continued to serve with A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment from 7th January 1971. On 12th June 1971, the Troop in which Trooper Handley was serving reacted to a contact with the enemy. On deployment, this Troop came under enemy fire from several areas and the armoured personnel carrier which Trooper Handley was driving was struck by anti-tank projectiles, badly wounding the crew commander jamming the turret. Trooper Handley was also wounded in this engagement.

Handley left his position, removed the commander from the turret, placed him on the side of the vehicle away from enemy fire and rendered first aid. He then returned to the turret and engaged the enemy with machine gun fire. Trooper Handley left the turret to render additional first aid and then again continued to engage the enemy until his vehicle was recovered. Trooper Handley and the crew Commander were subsequently evacuated. Displaying cool courage and competence, Trooper Handley behaved in an exemplary manner which are qualities he continued to

On realising that his crew commander was wounded, Trooperdisplay during his tour and reflect great credit upon himself, his Regiment and the Australian Army.

 

Army Number-. 51407

Temporary Rank: Captain

Christian Name; Robert Keith

Surname: HILL

Honour or Award. MC Bronze Star for Meritorious Service

                       

Captain Hill has commanded 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Troop of the Prince of Wales Light Horse since the arrival of the unit in South Vietnam in June 1965.

In addition to supporting 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, to which the Troop is attached, Captain Hill's unit has participated in a number of operations under command of the American D16 Armour of 173 Airborne Brigade (Separate), It was during one of these joint operations, on the night of 28th June 1965, that Captain Hill distinguished himself in a display of conspicuous gallantry.

While in a defensive position at the abandoned hamlet of Phuoc Loc in War Zone D, an attempt to infiltrate Captain Hill's Troop perimeter was made at about 2200 hours. Captain Hill rushed to the point of contact and assisted in repulsing the Viet Cong by throwing hand grenades. During this action, he repeatedly exposed himself to fire and was wounded in the right side, Although in great pain, he refused to be evacuated and continued to direct the efforts of his men during the action and for the remainder of the night. He was finally evacuated at approximately 0900 hours the next morning.

His bravery inspired those around him and was singularly instrumental in preventing the enemy from penetrating the tenuous position. Captain Hill's actions on the night of 28th June 1965 are indicative of the service he has rendered since coming to South Vietnam and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.

 

Army Number: 1733339

Substantive Rank: Lance Corporal

Christian Name: David John

Surname: IZATT

Honour or Award: MID

 

Lance Corporal David Izatt, a National Serviceman, commenced his military service on 12th July 1967, and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined A Squadron, 3rd Calvary Regiment in South Vietnam in October 1968 and was transferred to B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment in May 1969.

On 18th January 1969 during Operation Goodwood, Lance Corporal Izatt was the crew Commander of the lead vehicle in an armoured personnel carrier section conducting a resupply mission for an infantry company. At approximately 1143 hours, the Section Commander's vehicle, which was moving behind Corporal Izatt's vehicle, detonated a large anti-tank mine. The detonation severely damaged the armoured personnel carrier, fatally wounded the crew Commander and seriously wounded the other five occupants of the vehicle.

Corporal Izatt reacted immediately and organised his own crew and the attached engineer element to secure the area from possible enemy action and to check it for any further mines. He then calmly organised assistance to the wounded and their evacuation by air. All these events took place in a very rapid space of time. With this completed he then proceeded to organise the recovery of the damaged carrier.

Corporal Izatt, by his presence of mind, reacted immediately to master a confusing situation. Despite his inexperience, his was an above average performance under adverse conditions and his personal conduct set an example to all.

Army Number: 235100

Substantive Rank: Major

Christian Name: John David

Surname: KELDIE

Honour or Award: MC

Major John Keldie graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon in December 1956. After various staff and regimental appointments in Australia and advanced armoured training in England and Germany, Major Keldie assumed the command of A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on 18th February 1968.

Major Keldie's service with A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment has been an outstanding example of fine leadership both in and out of battle. The consistently excellent performance of his unit under arduous and hazardous circumstances has been largely the result of his drive, determination and sound judgement.

During May 1968, the Task Force was deployed to intercept strong enemy forces advancing towards Saigon. In its offensive operations from its Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral, the Task Force continually encountered heavy and determined enemy opposition. In all these operations Major Keldie's Squadron contributed to a marked degree to the successes the Task Force gained in inflicting severe losses on the enemy.

In the early hours of darkness on 15th May 1968, the enemy attacked Fire Support Base Coral with three Battalions over a period of four hours, before being repulsed by the defenders. Throughout this attack Major Keldie manoeuvred his Squadron to reinforce threatened sections, personally organised and directed his armoured personnel carriers in the resupply of troops becoming short of ammunition and in the evacuation of casualties from the forward defences. Throughout the attacks he remained in an exposed position under heavy mortar and rocket fire in order to command his troops and direct them.

His unfailing energy, determination, and personal courage in this and other operations have been in the finest traditions of the service and have brought credit on himself and the Royal Australian Armoured Corps.

 

Army Number: 43040

Substantive Rank: Sergeant

Christian Name: Grantly Michael

Surname. KEMBLE

Honour or Award: MID

 

Sergeant Grantly Michael Kemble enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on 14th March 1962, and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He arrived in South Vietnam to join his Squadron on 11th June 1970.

On 30th December 1970, Sergeant Kemble was commanding a section of APC's in support of a rifle platoon operating in the Phuoc Bu area, when the rifle platoon became heavily engaged with an enemy company group in a bunker system. Sergeant Kemble, who was some distance from the contact area, quickly assessed the situation and without hesitation led his section through thick and close country to the contact area where he came immediately into action. His prompt action forced the enemy to withdraw from the right flank of the contact area and greatly relieved the pressure on the rifle platoon. He then picked up the four badly wounded, moved to the nearest clearing and secured the area so that a helicopter could evacuate the wounded.

His coolness and initiative were conspicuous throughout the whole action, and reflect great credit upon himself, his Squadron and the Royal Australian Armoured Corps.

 

Army Number: 37178

Substantive Rank: Sergeant

Christian Name: Edmund Sidney

Surname: LEVY

Honour or Award: DCM, RVN Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star

                        

Sergeant Edmund Sidney Levy enlisted in the Australian Army on 4th May 1961 and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined B Squadron, 3rd Calvary Regiment in South Vietnam on 2nd September 1970.

Early in the morning of 31st December 1970, a large enemy group entered an ambush area south-east of Xuyen Moc. The ambush was initiated by Sergeant Levy at precisely the right moment and for the next three hours he calmly and resolutely directed the fire of his section of three armoured personnel carriers. The fire from his small force was so effective that 21 enemy were killed and subsequent intelligence showed that many more were wounded.

On the evening of 7th January 1971, Sergeant Levy was commanding his section in an ambush position near the Horseshoe feature. When an enemy group approached his position, Sergeant Levy initiated the ambush which resulted in three enemy killed and one prisoner captured.

At 2210 hours on 21st June 1971, Sergeant Levy was again commanding his section in an ambush position in southern Long Khan Province when an enemy group approached from the west. Contact was initiated on Sergeant Levy's order and continued until 0400 hours the following morning resulting in twelve enemy killed and three prisoners captured.

On all occasions Sergeant Levy's calmness, resolution and sound judgement enabled his section to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy. He displayed exemplary conduct and leadership of the highest order which were a credit to himself, his Regiment and the Australian Army.

 

Army Number: 216883

Rank: Corporal

Christian Name: Ronald Charles

Surname: MACEY

Honour or Award: MM

On 18th February 1970, during Operation Hammersley in the Long Hai Hills, Phuoc Tuy Province, a company of infantry mounted in armoured personnel carriers was engaged by heavy enemy anti-tank and small arms fire. One armoured personnel carrier was hit by two anti-tank rounds, severely damaging it and causing it to catch fire. Attempts by other armoured personnel carriers to recover it, failed because of heavy enemy anti-tank fire. Two crew members and five soldiers were trapped in the crippled and burning vehicle.

Corporal Macey and Lance Corporal Coe who were travelling in an adjacent armoured personnel carrier, saw the plight of the soldiers trapped in the burning carrier and despite heavy small arms and grenade fire from enemy bunkers, dismounted in full view of the enemy and ran to the disabled vehicle. Together they forced open the heavy rear door of the carrier and with complete disregard for their own safety, Corporal Macey and Lance Corporal Coe rescued the five trapped soldiers and their weapons. All five, two of whom were unable to move, were in a dazed and shocked condition and had to be led or carried to safety.

Corporal Macey and Lance Corporal Coe again ran to the burning carrier, intending to rescue the two trapped crew members. In the face of increased enemy small arms fire being directed at the disabled vehicle, their task had become even more hazardous. As they reached the burning carrier, a satchel charge exploded making the recovery of the crewmen impossible.

Corporal Macey and Lance Corporal Coe by their immediate actions undoubtedly saved the lives of the five passengers in the disabled carrier. Their courage and complete disregard for their own safety was an inspiration to all and reflects great credit on themselves and on the Australian Army.

Army Number: 47015

Substantive Rank:. Major

Christian Name: Gordon James

Surname: MURPHY

Honour or Award: MID

 

Major Gordon Murphy graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, on 14th December 1955, and after regimental and staff appointments in Australia and overseas, arrived in South Vietnam in February 1967 as Officer Commanding A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment.

Major Murphy led his Squadron during 12 months of operations in Vietnam. During this period his unit took part in all Task Force operations; carrying infantry into battle, fighting as armoured vehicles, providing alternative communications, escorting convoys and casualty evacuation under fire.

At all times Major Murphy's planning co-ordination and supervision were of the highest order. On many occasions he exercised his command responsibilities in the face of enemy fire without regard for his own safety. His aggressive attitude and sound tactics made his unit a most effective force, and one to be very seriously reckoned with by the enemy.

Major Murphy's unit was continuously committed to operations, in whole or in part, for the whole of his tour. His command involved long and arduous hours in the field and continuous planning for future operations; a task which he did with drive and enthusiasm.

Major Murphy contributed directly to the operational successes of 1st Australian Task Force. His professionalism, devotion to duty and courageous leadership, reflect great credit on himself, his Regiment and the Australian Regular Army.

 

Army Number: 36906

Substantive Rank: Sergeant

Christian Name: John Patrick

Surname: MURPHY

Honour or Award: MID

 

Sergeant John Murphy enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on 28th March 1960 and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined 3rd Cavalry Regiment in November 1966 and arrived in South Vietnam to join A Squadron in April 1967.

During his tour he acted as Troop Sergeant as well as Section Commander of 3 troop, A Squadron, and in both capacities his enthusiasm, commonsense and efficiency were exemplary. Sergeant Murphy took part in many operations, and very early earned the reputation for hold leadership and skilful tactics. When working with other Arms and Allies his unusual ability to establish pleasant relations made for close and harmonious co-operation, not only with his section and Troop, but for the Squadron as a whole.

On 1st February 1968 as it member of 3 Troop A Squadron, Sergeant Murphy assisted in the defence of Sector Headquarters in Baria, Phuoc Tuy Province.

Twice during the battle Sergeant Murphy assumed command of 3 Troop, firstly when his Commander's vehicle was knocked out and secondly when his Commander was later wounded. On both these occasions the Troop was under fire and in difficulties. Nevertheless, with great professional skill and judgement, he continued the action, organised the evacuation of Australian and American casualties, and also the recovery of a damaged armoured personnel carrier. His coolness under fire and his personal courage when he dismounted to connect tow ropes to a disabled carrier steadied and encouraged his Troop and contributed greatly to the success in this action.

Throughout his tour in Vietnam Sergeant Murphy showed initiative, professional skill, leadership and personal courage of a high order, which reflect great credit on his Regiment and the Australian Regular Army.

 

Army Number: 36432

Substantive Rank: Lieutenant

Temporary Rank: Captain

Christian Name. Peter John

Surname: MURPHY

Honour or Award: MID

 

Captain Peter John Murphy enlisted in the Australian Military Forces on 12th January 1956 and was appointed to a commission in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps on 1st March 1967. He arrived in South Vietnam to join B Squadron, 3rd Calvary Regiment on 7 January 1970.

For most of 1970, Captain Murphy and his Troop of armoured personnel carriers have supported 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment on operations. Throughout the period Captain Murphy has set a high example of personal bravery coupled with excellent judgement and quick decision. On one occasion when commanding his troop in the field, his own armoured personnel carrier detonated an enemy mine, which badly damaged the carrier, caused several casualties and threw Captain Murphy bodily around the vehicle. He then continued with coolness and fortitude to command his Troop from another vehicle.

He has personally led many patrols and ambushes into enemy base areas resulting in contact and casualties to the enemy. His troop has performed with outstanding success due largely to the leadership and example of Captain Murphy.

His actions reflect great credit upon himself, his Squadron, the Royal Australian Armoured Corps and the Australian Army.

 

Army Number: 57033

Substantive Rank: Major

Temporary Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Christian Name: Laurence George

Surname: O'DONNELL

Honour or Award: MID

 

Major Laurie O'Donnell graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon on 15th December 1954 and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. After various appointments in Australia and overseas he was appointed General Staff Officer Grade Two (Operations) at Headquarters, Australian Force Vietnam and subsequently assumed command of A Squadron, 3rd Calvary Regiment on 17th September 1968.

Throughout nine months of continuous operations, Major O'Donnell maintained his Squadron at a high standard of efficiency and participated in a wide range of successful operations. These varied from convoy escort and route clearance to ambushes and the insertion of Special Air Service patrols.

In addition to commanding his Squadron, Major O'Donnell had the added responsibility of defence commander for the Task Force headquarters when it was deployed. This involved much detailed and exacting work in the early stages of each redeployment and was always accomplished without prejudice to his other responsibilities.

Major O'Donnell displayed unfailing energy, fine leadership and a highly professional ability. His command of A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment throughout this period of intense activity was exemplary.

Army Number: 312784

Substantive Rank: 2nd Lieutenant  

Christian Name: David Edward

Surname: PAKES

Honour or Award: American Army Commendation Medal with "V" Device

Authority: By direction of the Secretary of the Army under the provisions of AR 672-5-1

For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force:

Second Lieutenant Pakes distinguished himself by heroic action on 30 and 31 December 1970 while serving with the 3d Cavalry Regiment, 1st Australian Task Force, Vietnam. As a result of a previous days heavy engagement with units of the Australian army, the enemy elements of the D445 Battalion, which was the HQ Company, were expected to withdraw along known routes. Lieutenant Pakes, with 3 personnel carriers [11 Section] and HQ D Coy 7 RAR, was given the mission of blocking these escape routes. Once into the ambush position, he organised the ambush to take maximum advantage of cover and concealment.

At 0357, 31 December 1970, the enemy entered Lieutenant PAKES trap. The small Australian unit caught the superior numbered enemy force completely by surprise. In the insuring battle, Lieutenant Pakes repeatedly risked his life by exposing himself to the intense enemy fire. At day break, the contact was broken and the enemy withdrew, leaving twenty one of his dead behind.

Lieutenant Pakes' leadership under fire, courage and professional competence contributed immeasurably to the enemy's defeat: Second Lieutenant Pakes' heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Australian Military Forces and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.

 

Army Number: 2785969

Substantive Rank: Lance Corporal

Christian Name: Peter Francis Joseph

Surname: PURCELL

Honour or Award: MID

 

Lance Corporal Peter Purcell, a National Serviceman, commenced his military service on 1st February 1967, and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined 3rd Cavalry Regiment in June 1967, and arrived in South Vietnam to join A Squadron in April 1968.

In August 1968, during street fighting in Long Dien in Phuoc Tuy Province, several soldiers of 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment were wounded. Lance Corporal Purcell was asked by the infantry to collect the wounded in his carrier. While moving forward, his vehicle was engaged by enemy rocket and small arms fire. Lance Corporal Purcell returned fire and in spite of enemy ground fire he continued to move his vehicle forward and made several halts to collect all the wounded infantrymen. He then turned his vehicle about and withdrew through the enemy fire to take the wounded to safety. His coolness and personal courage in advancing in the face of enemy fire to rescue the wounded were of great reassurance to the infantry he was supporting.

Army Number: 54548

Substantive Rank: Lieutenant

Christian Name: Francis Adrian

Surname. ROBERTS

Honour or Award: MID

 

On the evening of 18th August 1966 Lieutenant Roberts commanded 3 Troop, 1 Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron which carried A Company, 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment to the relief of D Company, 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, who were virtually surrounded by a vastly superior enemy force.

Lieutenant Robert's personal conduct in commanding and controlling his Troop was of the highest order. While moving to the D Company location, the Troop encountered an enemy Company equipped with anti-tank weapons, and at this time the Troop consisted of only seven armoured personnel carriers. After a short action the enemy withdrew east.

Continuing the advance the Troop moved through supporting artillery fire, as the fire could not be stopped due to a temporary loss of radio communications.

One crew Commander was seriously wounded in the chest, and was evacuated. The troop carried out a final assault and forced the enemy to withdraw from the D Company position.

Later, during the night, in pitch blackness, the Troop assisted in evacuating D Company and its casualties to a helicopter landing zone. lieutenant Roberts, under orders from the Officer Commanding D Company, acted as controller for the helicopters.

At all times lieutenant Roberts acted with skill and judgement and fought his Troop with determination and courage. The action was accomplished in spite of the poor radio communications existing in the 3 Troop vehicles, and in spite of heavy torrential rain and poor light during the enemy contacts.

 

Army Number: 235073

Substantive Rank: Major

Christian Name. Ronald Ellis

Surname: ROOKS

Honour or Award: MID

Major Ronald Rooks graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon on 15th December 1954 and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. After a number of regimental and staff appointments in Australia, he was appointed to command B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. He arrived in Vietnam on 7th May 1969.

Major Rooks, throughout twelve months in command of B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on operations in South Vietnam, exercised command of his unit with a great deal of commonsense and understanding. His fine tactical sense and thorough appreciation of the use of his Armoured Personnel Carriers enabled him to give sound advice to the Task Force Commander and firm confident guidance to his troops.

During his tour of duty, the enemy intensified his use of mines causing more frequent and serious damage to the Armoured Personnel Carriers and increasing the casualties to crewmen in the Squadron. Despite this, Major Rooks inspired leadership was such that the Squadron was not daunted from any task and continued to operate at a high peak of efficiency.

The efficiency of the Squadron and the high regard in which it is held by the Infantry Battalions reflect great credit on Major Rooks ability.

 

Army Number: 2139599

Substantive Rank: Corporal

Temporary Rank: Sergeant

Christian Name: David William

Surname: SHEPPARD

Honour or Award; MID

 

Sergeant David William Sheppard's service in the Regular Army and the Citizens Military Forces commenced in early 1950. He re-enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on 14th August 1968, and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined B Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment in South Vietnam on 27th August 1969.

On 18th February 1970, Sergeant Sheppard's Cavalry Section was given the task of deploying a platoon of infantry into the jungle edge at the base of the Long Hai mountains. The platoon had just dismounted from the armoured personnel carriers when the force came under accurate enemy anti-tank rocket and small arms fire.

Sergeant Sheppard's vehicle was hit and penetrated by one of the anti-tank rockets, seriously wounding the driver and blowing Sergeant Sheppard out of the turret onto the ground. Although suffering from severe neck injuries, he immediately remounted his vehicle, organised his section into an all round defensive position and directed the fire of his section at the enemy.

His calm and determined action enabled the infantry platoon to reorganise and prevented the enemy from following up their initial success. His actions under fire were a credit to him and a fine example to all.

Army Number: 5715553

Substantive Rank: Trooper

Temporary Rank: Corporal

Christian Name: Peter Frazer

Surname: STRUDWICK

Honour or Award: MM

 

Corporal Peter Frazer Strudwick, a National Serviceman, commenced his military service on 4th October 1967, and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined 3rd Cavalry Regiment in South Vietnam on 15th October 1968.

On 6th June 1969, Corporal Strudwick's troop was deployed to the village of Binh Ba, where they came under heavy enemy anti-tank and small arms fire during house to house fighting. The infantry on the right were pinned down by intense machine gun fire from a house. A tank which moved forward in support, was forced to withdraw because of accurate anti-tank fire.

Corporal Strudwick immediately moved the armoured personnel carrier he was commanding into open ground to outflank the enemy anti-tank rocket position. Although his vehicle was without support from the remainder of his Troop, he remained in an exposed position and directed accurate machine gun fire killing the anti-tank rocket crew. He remained in this position neutralising the enemy machine gun until such time as the tank moved forward and destroyed the machine gun position.

Corporal Strudwick continued for the remainder of the operation to show outstanding bravery and initiative during similar incidents. On all occasions, he has displayed above average leadership qualities in actions against the enemy. His prompt and courageous actions have been an inspiration to all, and in the highest traditions of his Corps and the Australian Army.

Army Number: 217083

Substantive Rank: Lance Corporal

Temporary Rank: Corporal

Christian Name: Jeffery James

Surname: SWAN

Honour or Award: MID

 

Corporal Jeffery James Swan enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on 24th August 1966 and was allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment in South Vietnam on 19th December 1968.

On the afternoon of 21st May 1970, Corporal Swan was commanding an armoured personnel carrier in a combined infantry and armoured force, when contact was made with the enemy in a strongly held bunker system.

In the first few minutes of the contact one soldier was killed and twelve wounded. One of the infantry sections, in a dangerously exposed position and under continuous enemy fire from both anti-tank rockets and small arms, was unable to evacuate its wounded.

With deliberate disregard for his own safety, Corporal Swan manoeuvred his armoured personnel carrier into the area of enemy fire so that the casualties could be removed from the danger of the heavy small arms fire. Although his carrier was struck by an enemy anti-tank rocket, he removed one group of the wounded to a safe area before returning for the remainder.

His calmness in the face of the enemy, and his fine example were a credit to himself, his Regiment and the Australian Army.

 

Army Number: 54702

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Christian Name: Roger Leslie

Surname. TINGLEY

Honour or Award: MC, RVN Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star, RVN Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star

                                                                        

Second Lieutenant Roger Tingley enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on 2nd May 1963, was commissioned on 11th December 1965, and allotted to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. He joined 3rd Cavalry Regiment in November 1966, and arrived in South Vietnam to join A Squadron in April 1967.

On 1st February 1968, as commander of 3 Troop A Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Second Lieutenant Tingley assisted in the defence of Sector Headquarters in Baria, Phuoc Tuy Province. His troop was in contact from approximately 0845 hours until 1910 hours, during which time they evacuated twenty-eight casualties as well as providing support to the infantry company and assisting in the defence of Sector Headquarters. While under sniper fire Second Lieutenant Tingley killed three snipers. Later when his armoured personnel carrier was struck by a rocket he continued to fire his machine gun and killed the enemy who engaged him. He changed vehicles and when another carrier near him was hit by a rocket he brought his own vehicle between it and the enemy. He engaged the enemy but his own vehicle was then hit. He was wounded and thrown from his vehicle. Later he directed armed-helicopter fire which assisted the recovery of the two damaged vehicles.

In all these events, the high degree of personal bravery and initiative shown by Second Lieutenant Tingley reflects great credit upon himself, his Regiment and the Australian Regular Army.