Message from COMFAA for the RANHFV

Message from COMFAA for the RANHFV

COMFAA,  Commodore Chris Smallhorn, has asked that the following message be published on this website.

“On 18 August 2018 our Helicopter Flight Vietnam (HFV) veterans were finally recognised for the extraordinary feats of gallantry displayed every day and night throughout the four 723 Squadron detachments to Vietnam between September 1967 and June 1971.

On a predictably cold, wet  and blustery Canberra Day many of the brave men of HFV and their families gathered at the Australian War Memorial where the Governor General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC (Retd) invested the citation on 723 Squadron. The Governor General and former Chief of Navy VADM Tim Barrett AO CSC, representing Chief of Navy VADM Mike Noonan AO, presented all attending members of HFV their Unit Citation for Gallantry insignia. A moving ceremony and one where I find hard to express the pride in our Fleet Air Arm and in particular the HFV members who have waited a great deal of time to be recognised. There have been only five Unit Citations for Gallantry awarded prior to this  investiture thus re-enforcing the special and unique achievement of our FAA vets during the Vietnam War.

To all members of the HFV I, and the whole of the FAA, past, present and future, offer our sincere congratulations on this historic recognition. In the cauldron of war you have stood tall and showed the courage which each of us today hope we can live up to should we be called. You are so very much an integral part of what and who the Fleet Air Arm is today, your story is woven into the fabric that makes up our proud history, and now all of Australia will know more of your gallantry. BZ HFV.

COMFAA sends.”

Note: The Webmaster now has (courtesy of Bob Ray) a disk of ‘official’ photographs taken of the event.  It comprises one group photo, as shown below, and 69 one-on-one shots of individuals being presented with their UCG certificate/insignia by either the Governor General or Chief of Navy.    Regrettably there are no names on the images and it is too big to post them all on this website – but if you would like a copy of the images please contact the webmaster.  Alternatively, if you would like the group picture and your ‘personal’ shot emailed to you, please identify your self from the image below and he will endeavour to get that to you asap.    You can use the ‘Contact Us’ form at the foot of this page to make the request, but be sure to identify yourself.   (Click on image below to enlarge). 

Above: Members of Helicopter Flight Vietnam and after the presentation of Unit Citation for Gallantry with guests, including the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC (Retd); Minister of Defence Personnel, The Honourable Darren Chester MP; and Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN (Retd); at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.  (Navy News)

Left: Commanding Officer Flight 1, Rear Admiral Neil Ralph, AO,DSC, RAN (Retd) (right), presents the Unit Citation for Gallantry Burgee (pennant) to Commanding Officer 723 Squadron, Commander Bruce Willington, RAN, at the presentation of the Unit Citation held at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. (Navy News) Please note this image is not on the disk of photographs mentioned above – it was in Navy News only. 

You can read a little more about the award of the citation here.