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Edwin Grant Steel DFC

Attached to 161 (Indep) Recce Flt from 18 Mar 71 until Nov 71

Lieutenant Steel 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.

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 Army.

* Text of citation has been copied from the original recommendation for "Honours & Awards" dated 22 November  1971.

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