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1 RAR recognised for Vietnam service

5 December 2015

The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove (Retd), AK, MC, has 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 173rd Airborne Brigade.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Darren Chester, welcomed the decision.

“I am delighted to confirm that the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation will be awarded to members of 1 RAR,” Mr Chester said.

“This decision follows a three year review by the Defence Honours and Awards Appeal Tribunal, which determined that the awarding of the Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation was intended not only for the 173rd Airborne Brigade, but also the Australian forces who operated under their command.”

“This award finally acknowledges those Australian soldiers and recognises the important contribution they made 50 years ago.”

In May 1965, the Australian Government agreed to provide military assistance to the Republic of Vietnam. Initially, 1 RAR was restricted to operating in the Bien Hoa tactical area of responsibility (TAOR). When the 173rd Airborne Brigade deployed to operate away from Bien Hoa, 1 RAR was left to conduct operations within the Bien Hoa TAOR and to provide defence for the air base. However, on 30 September 1965 the Australian Prime Minister agreed to lift the restrictions on the deployment of 1 RAR. For the remainder of their tour of duty in Vietnam, the members of 1 RAR served alongside the other units of 173rd Airborne Brigade on every operation and became the third battalion of the Brigade.

1 RAR participated in seven operations with 173rd Airborne Brigade between 5 May 1965 and 31 May 1966 that were referred to in the citation that awarded the Republic of Vietnam CGWP to 173rd Airborne Brigade.

About the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation

The Citation was awarded by the former Government of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) to specific military units that distinguished themselves in battle.

To be eligible for the CGWP members must have served in Vietnam under the command of 173rd Airborne Brigade from 5 May 1965 to 31 May 1966 in one of the following units;

  • 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
  • 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Troop RAAC
  • 105th Field Battery, RAA
  • 3rd Field Troop, RAE
  • 161st Reconnaissance Flight, AAAVN
  • 1st Australian Logistic Support Company
  • Battery Section, 4th Field Regiment Light Aid Detachment RAEME
    (and redesignated in country to 105th Field Battery Section, 12th Field Regiment Light Aid Detachment RAEME.

Further details about the award and eligibility requirements are available here. 

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5 December 2016

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