graduated from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst on 17 December 1965, and
was allotted to the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. He subsequently
qualified as an Army Pilot and arrived in South Vietnam on 18 March 1971, as a
Rotary Wing Pilot with 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight.
Edwin Grant Steel
Attached to 161
Flt from 18 Mar 71 until Nov 71
During his tour of duty in South Vietnam, Lieutenant
Steel has been an above average reconnaissance pilot. His experience, gained
while serving as an infantry platoon commander during his previous tour in South
Vietnam has enabled him to quickly recognise signs of enemy movement and
installations. He has displayed a very high order of determination and skill in
seeking out the enemy, flying his unarmed helicopter at low speed and at tree
top height over known or suspected enemy areas.
On 15 November 1971, while conducting a visual reconnaissance
north of Long Son Island, Phuoc Tuy Province, he located an occupied enemy camp
but before he could report this information, he was engaged by at least three
enemy automatic weapons. Although his aircraft was badly damaged, being hit by
12 bullets, Lieutenant Steel , by his quick reaction and flying skill was able
to control the aircraft and land in a relatively safe area, thus saving his
passenger and himself from injury.
The courage, determination and skill displayed by Lieutenant
Steel during his tour of duty have been an inspiration to the other pilots of
the unit and reflect great credit upon himself, his Regiment and the New Zealand
* Text of citation has been copied from the original recommendation
for "Honours & Awards" dated 22 November 1971.