Just before Christmas the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced that certain Australian service personnel who served in the Vietnam War will be honoured due to a reassessment of eligibility.
Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving Team Three, Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam, Royal Australian Air Force Transport Flight Vietnam/35 Squadron and 9 Squadron have been recognised with the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC (Retd) formally approved the awarding of the Citation in recognition of the military assistance provided to the former Republic of Vietnam while under the operational command of the United States Military Assistance Command 50 years ago.
The Citation was originally awarded by the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) to all units subordinate to Military Assistance Command Vietnam during the period 8 February 1962 and 28 March 1973, and to United States Army Vietnam and its subordinate units for the period 20 July 1965 and 28 March 1973.
The extant policy at the time regarding foreign awards to Australian military units, required the foreign government to make a formal offer to the Australia Government. As no such offer was made, some units were overlooked for the Citation.
During a recent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal review, the Royal Australian Air Force identified that Transport Flight Vietnam/35 Squadron was eligible for the Citation. After additional research, Navy identified that Helicopter Flight and Clearance Diving Team were eligible for the Citation and Air Force identified that 9 Squadron was eligible. Army identified that no other units were eligible for the Citation.
To be eligible for the Citation members must have served in Vietnam under the command of Military Assistance Command Vietnam and posted to one of the following units, during the eligible dates:
- Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving Team Three from 5 February 1967 to 5 May 1971
- Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam from 16 October 1967 to 8 June 1971
- Royal Australian Navy personnel in 9 Squadron (8 personnel) from February 1968 to April 1969
- Royal Australian Air Force personnel in 9 Squadron from June 1966 to December 1971
- Royal Australian Air Force Transport Flight Vietnam/35 Squadron from August 1964 to February 1972
The palm on the Citation is bronze, rather than gold, and previously issued citation devices are incorrect. Personnel wishing to obtain the bronze palm device should return their existing device for replacement to the Directorate of Honours and Awards at:
Directorate of Honours and Awards
PO BOX 7952
CANBERRA BC ACT 2610
Further details about the award and eligibility requirements and the exchange of incorrect devices are available on the Directorate of Honours and Awards website at: www.defence.gov.au/medals