One final salute for an old sailor

Published on CMDR Andrew Burnett (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Adelaide, SA

Topic(s): Unit Citation for Gallantry

Jeff McIntyre, RAN (left) points out the bullet hole in his helmet to a US Army colleague in Tan An, South Vietnam in 1968. (photo: Unknown)
Jeff McIntyre, RAN (left) points out the bullet hole in his helmet to a US Army colleague in Tan An, South Vietnam in 1968.

CO NHQ-SA, CMDR Andrew Burnett attended Rose Court Residential Aged Care Home in Adelaide recently to present the Unit Citation for Gallantry (UCG) to Jeffrey McIntyre, a former member of the RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam (RANHFV). On 1 June 2018 The Minister for Defence Personnel, The Hon Darren Chester, announced that the RANHFV had been awarded the UCG. Jeff served in the RAN 10 July 1961 to 5 May 1972, paying off as a Petty Officer. He was a member of the RANHFV October 1967 to October 1968.

The presentation was made in front of family and friends in Jeff’s private room. While bedridden, Jeff had lost none of his memories or sense of humour and entertained the group with stories of his time in the RAN and Vietnam. The black and white photograph accompanying this article was passed around those gathered and was the subject of much discussion. It was taken after Jeff returned from a mission with a bullet hole in his helmet. He did not realise he had been hit until a colleague pointed out blood in his hair. On closer inspection the bullet passed through his helmet and grazed his scalp, leaving the bullet track through the foam padding inside the helmet. A very lucky escape!

Sadly, Jeff passed away four days after the presentation. CO NHQ-SA noted “It was a privilege to be able to present Jeff with his UCG. Notwithstanding his condition, his joy and pride in the award were obvious and I am grateful that his family invited me to make the presentation.”

On 18 August the RANHFV will be honoured at a ceremony at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial at the Australian War Memorial.