Members of AATTV were awarded US, Vietnamese and Cambodian medals and citations during the course of the Vietnam War. While the list remains incomplete, I have included most of the awards that were earned by various Team Members and which have been recognised by the Australian Government.
It is important to take note in the early years of the Vietnam conflict, some AATTV members were offered Foreign Awards and Decorations but due to Australian Government policy at the time, were not allowed to accept such awards. Indeed, many members who were awarded foreign decorations on the battlefield may have received the award but no documention, some got documentation but no award and some who would have been decorated, received neither the award or documention. No doubt the complete history of Foreign awards for Team members will never be fully revealed or known.
United States of America, awards:
Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star for Valour
Air Medal for Valour
Army Commendation for Valour
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star for Meritorious Service
Joint Services Commendation Medal for Service
Army Commendation Medal for Service
Air Medal for Service
Republic of South Vietnam, awards:
The National Order of the Republic of Vietnam
Legion of Merit 2nd Class
National Police Honour Medal 3rd Class
Fouragee of National Order of the Republic of Vietnam
Fouragee of Military Merit Medal
Army Distinguished Service Order
Cross of Gallantry with Palm
Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star
Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star
Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star
Life Saving Medal
Armed Forces Honour Medal 1st Class
Armed Forces Honour Medal 2nd Class
Staff Service Medal 2nd Class
Technical Service Medal 1st Class
Training Service Medal 1st Class
Training Service Medal 2nd Class
Civil Actions Medal 1st Class
ARVN Armour Badge
There were also certificates of outstanding achievement and commendations. Civilian awards were also presented, but they are not authorised to be worn by any nation.
Republic of Cambodia, awards:
National Defence Medal with Silver Star (FANK)
National Defence Medal with Bronze Star (FANK)
Cambodian National Defense Medal as awarded to Australians who served with the FANK / UITG program.
MEDAY KARPEAR CHEAT
( Medal of National Defense)
( Medaille de la Defense Nationale)
Silver Star Bronze Star
The medals come in three class's.
1. Medal with Gold Star attachment. For the mention in dispatches at the Kingdom or Republic level.
2. Medal with Silver Star attachment. For mention in dispatches at Army / Khet level.
3. Medal with Bronze Star attachment. For mention in dispatches at Battalion / Khum level.
It is recorded 43 Australians received the CNDM ( MEDAY KARPEAR CHEAT)
10 with Silver Star attachment, all Officers and 33 with Bronze Star attachment
all Warrant Officers.
The Cambodian training program was full on training. There were not any siginificant actions by Cambodian battalions in training with AATTV against the VC/NVA. Some Cambodian units did have clashes but not with AATTV trainers present.
There were 63 members of AATTV who served with the FANK / UITG program. For reasons unknown 20 of those who served were not awarded the medal.
The FANK / UITG program, between May 1970 to January 1973 trained 85 Infantry Battalions and 1 Marine Battalion.
Australian personnel served at;
Bien Hoa HQ. FANK / UITG.
Long Hai FANK / UITG Training Battalion.
Phuoc Tuy FANK / UITG training Battalion.
A number of AATTV members received the US Silver Star while serving in South Vietnam, among them were our Victoria Cross winners, WOII K.A. Wheatley VC, Maj P.J. Badcoe VC, WOII R.S. Simpson VC, DCM. WOII K. Payne VC was recommended for the award of the Silver Star which was later upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross.
Below is a copy of the Award of the Silver Star to WO2 J.G. Pettit MID (Post) who was killed in action on 4th April 1970. John Pettit was on his third tour of duty with AATTV when KIA. The awards were finally made available in April 2002.
WO2A. (Tony or Nino) ParrelloMID (Post) aged 30 years served with AATTV from 2nd September 1967 until he was killed in action on 1st February 1968 at Baria, Phuoc Tuy Province at the beginning of the TET Offensive 1968. Tony initially served with RF/PF at Hoa Long, Phuoc Tuy from Sep to Dec 67 and then with PRU, Baria District from Jan 68.
Tony was subsequently awarded a MID (Post) which should have been a higher decoration giving consideration of his actions on the night of 31 Jan and 1 Feb 68.
The citation for the MID (Post) reads as follows:
Officer Parrello enlisted in the Regular Army in 1958 and served with the
1st and 4th Battalions. The Royal Australian Regiment, including a tour
of duty in Malaysia. He joined the Australian Army Training Vietnam in
On the morning of 1 February 1968, Warrant Officer Parrello distinguished himself by repulsing a determined attack on an American adviser’s compound dwelling in Baria, Phuoc Tuy Province. With complete disregard for his own safety, he was able to withstand with the assistance of the American adviser and four Vietnamese guards, the determined assault of an estimated two Viet Cong platoons. He continually exposed himself to heavy small arms fire and rocket fire to bring his own weapons to bear on the attackers. His complete disregard for his own safety and his bravery was an inspiration to the defenders.
Later in the day, Warrant Officer Parrello guided an Australian relief force in armoured personnel carriers to another besieged American adviser’s dwelling. Again he exposed himself to enemy fire and succeeded in moving the adviser into one of the carriers. Rocket fire disabled the carrier covering this operation, and the carrier with Warrant Officer Parrello and the American adviser aboard immediately went to the assistance of the wounded Australians from the disabled carrier. Warrant Officer Parrello was delivering heavy fire on the enemy when the carrier in which he was riding received a direct hit from a rocket, resulting in his death. Warrant Officer Parrello’s conspicuous gallantry in evacuating the American adviser and in attempting to assist the crew of the disabled carrier reflect great credit on himself and the Australian Army.
Robert Hede, MACV Team 89 involved in the same action made the following recommendation for the award of the US Silver Star subsequently awarded to WO2 A. Parrello. Spelling of name was later amended. Extract taken from original.
For gallantry action Warrant Officer Antonie Parella, Royal Australian Army, distinguished himself by gallantry action in connection with ground action against a hostile force. Phuoc Le, Phuoc Tuy Province Republic of Vietnam. On this date an estimated two Viet Cong platoons launched a heavy attack upon homes American Advisors in the area. Throughout the morning, WO Parrella, an American Advisor and Vietnamese guards effectively withstood the attack on their position during this time, WO Parralla continually exposed himself to heavy small arms and rocket fire in order to bring effective fire upon the enemy and repeatedly resupplied the others with needed ammunition and supplies. His courage and complete disregard for his own safety was an inspiration to the defenders and enabled them to repel the attack. Later that day he guided an element of an Australian armoured relief force to the nearby house of an isolated American Advisor under attack. Again exposing himself to heavy enemy fire without regard to personal safety, Parrella succeeded in moving the lone advisor from his house to an armoured personnel carrier. When rocket fire destroyed the carrier covering this operation, the carrier in which Parrella and the rescued advisor were riding immediately went to the assistance of the wounded Australians in the destroyed carrier. Parrella was delivering heavy fire on the enemy when his carrier received a direct hit from an enemy rocket, resulting in his death and the death of the American Advisor whose life he had saved only moments earlier. As a result of WO Parrella’s singularly impressive display of battlefield courage, a small but inspired force was able to successfully repel the attack on their post without casualties. WO Parrella’s conspicuous gallantry in action, evacuating an American Advisor and attempting to assist he crew of the destroyed armoured personnel carrier were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Royal Australian Army and reflect great credit upon himself, family and the military service.
In the same action as WO2 J.G. Pettit MID (Post)
who received the US Silver Star (shown above), WO2 L.B.C.'Locky'
Scowcroft AATTV received the Bronze Star for Valor. The award was
finally granted on 22 March 2002. John Liner USA was instrumental in getting
the awards for both John Pettit and Locky Scowcroft recognised.
WOII F. (Fred) A. G. Callender MID was also a recipient of the US Silver Star. This award was not presented to Fred until Anzac Day 1999 at Bundaberg, Queensland.
Mike Perkins USA sent me the following information which I have taken the liberty of editing for presentation purposes.
"Fred commanded a company of Chinese mercenaries in the I Corps Mike Force. During an operation at Con Thien in May 1967 the company encountered a much superior force during a meeting engagement just south of the Ben Hai river. One platoon commanded by Clarrie (WOII C.R. Upton) was outflanked and Clarrie carried one wounded on his back as he laid a base of fire for his retreating platoon.
Fred, exposed and alone, repeatedly dragged a number of wounded soldiers to cover and then engaged the NVA as he organized a perimeter. His repeated acts of courage were witnessed by hundreds of US Marines who watched from ramparts at the Con Thien base -- 400 metres away. The Marines laid a base of direct and indirect fire which enabled Fred to break contact and bring his company 'thru the wire'.
Fred Callander, Buck Rogers and Max Hanley,MM (KIA 20th February 1967) were submitted for the US Silver Star in March 1967 for actions at Ha Thanh in Feb 67 (where Hanley was KIA), but the immediate Australian commander discarded it -- for personal reasons. I was able to give Roger's nomination direct to the commanding general of the Australian Army when he visited the Mike Force compound in April 1967. Buck got his DCM as a result.
In May-June 1967, I submitted Callander again for the Silver Star and also Clarrie Upton for the fight at Con Thien. Again the Australian commander did not forward them - for personal and selfish reasons.
In 1970 when I discovered they still had not received the awards, I resubmitted the nominations again but apparently the Australian Ministry of Defence ignored them. Finally, I found copies of the Hanley's nomination and those of the Con Thien nominations in 1995 and submitted them again. Both Hanley's and Upton's nominations was downgraded to the Bronze Star.
Footnote: WO2 C.R. Upton subsequently received the US Bronze Star for Valor for the action at Con Thien in February 1999 at Townsville, Queensland.
Mike Perkins also offered the following on WOII W.B. (Buck) Rogers, DCM.
"Earlier in 1967, I submitted William (Buck) Rogers for the Silver Star for his valor on 19 February 1967. I personally gave the nomination to the Australian Chief of Staff, when he visited Mike Force. Buck was eventually awarded the Australian Distinguished Conduct Medal in lieu of the US Silver Star (Australians could not accept foreign awards at the time)."
US Bronze Star Medal
Bronze Star Bronze Star with "V" Device
Bronze Star with 'V' Device - WOII M.P. Hanley MM Killed in Action on 20 February 1967
Mike Perkins also submitted a nomination for the Silver Star for Max Hanley in March 1967. Max Hanley's widow recently received the Bronze Star for Max's heroism (19 Feb 1967) near HA Thanh RVN. This award has been approved by the Australian Government.
For those of us with poor eyesight, the citation reads:
FOR exceptional heroism at the cost of his own
life while serving as platoon leader, Det A-113 Company C, 5th Special
Forces Group on 19 February 1967, near He Thanh, Republic of Vietnam.
In the early morning hours on this date, his platoon was attacked by a
numerically superior Viet Cong Force. When the attack began, Warrant
Officer Hanley alerted his platoon, and then directed his lone machine
gunners fire against enemy automatic weapon positions. Shorly thereafter,
the enemy attacked and overran the friendly position. Realizing the critical
importance of expelling the enemy, he gathered his few remaining personnel
and led them in a valiant counterattack. Though outnumbered, by his
sheer bravado and courage he forced the enemy from the friendly perimeter.
Moments later, he was struck down by an enemy grenade and died. Warrant
Officer Class Two Hanley's exceptional courage and leadership in the face
ofoverwhelming odds reflect great credit upon himself, the United States
Special Forces, and upon the Military Forces of Australia.
The "V" Device
In 1944, military officials decided to create a special “footnote” to the Bronze Star by authorizing a tiny brass “V,” for valor, that could be attached to the ribbon. The device, also known as “V” device, Combat V, or Combat Distinguishing Device, is authorized by all the services. The “V” is used as an attachment to a defined set of awards and decorations at or below the level of the Bronze Star. The Medal of Honor and Silver Star never include a “V” device, because valor is implicit in the award itself.
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm
The Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry comes in various levels, namely, Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star, Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star and Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star. A number of members of AATTV were awarded at least one of these medals.
Certificate for Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star awarded to WO2 Mick Rodger for actions in 1970. WO2 Rodger's served with AATTV 1967-68 and 1970-71 and was to be the recipient of two of these decorations.
The above Certificate for WO2 Mick Rodger AATTV came with the citation for the medal which reads as follows:
This courageous Officer has a wealth of command and combat experience.
This was shown on Operation QUYET THANG 63B
which was organised by 6 Infantry Regiment in the Kham Duc area of QUANG
The operation began on 1 July 1970 and concluded on 30 September 1970. On numerous occasions the unit contacted the enemy and met stiff resistance in the precipitous terrain. In his role of Battalion Advisor, Warrant Officer RODGER used his ability to the fullest and closely co-ordinated the battalion's countering manoeuvres with the Operation Headquarters, while at the same time he courageously called down direct, accurate and effective air and artillery support.
His actions contributed greatly to the success of the operation and hence he is extremely meritorious of the award of the Gallantry Cross with Silver Star.
Photo courtesy of Mick Rodger
Cross of Gallantry Medal Presentation - Chu Lai, Quang Ngai Province 1970
From left WO2's Mick Rodger; Bill Nesbit; Peter Teague and Spike Shaw
Advisors to 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalion 6th ARVN Regiment
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