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Fraser Maxwell Gibson DFC

161 (Indep) Recce Flt 09 Sep 70 - 09 Sep 71

Second Lieutenant Frazer Maxwell Gibson graduated from the Officer Training Unit on 22 December 1967, and later qualified as an Army helicopter pilot. He arrived in South Vietnam on 10 September 1970.

On the 21 December 1970, Second Lieutenant Gibson was tasked to direct artillery fire onto a target in the Long Hai mountains, an area in which the enemy is known to engage all aircraft in range of his weapons. During the subsequent low level damage assessment of the target Second Lieutenant Gibson noticed another possible enemy location nearby. Knowing very well the dangers involved, Second Lieutenant Gibson immediately commenced a reconnaissance at tree top height in an effort to locate any enemy in the area. During the reconnaissance the aircraft was engaged by the enemy and received a number of hits from a sustained burst of machine gun fire. Although the aircraft was extensively damaged, Second Lieutenant Gibson was able to land it in a safe area thereby preventing further damage.

On the 3 March 1971, Second Lieutenant Gibson was flying a Sioux helicopter in direct support of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. During the afternoon, after initiating a contact with a superior enemy force, a platoon called for maximum fire support to extract themselves from a dangerous situation. In order to mark its location to supporting arms the platoon requested that additional smoke marker grenades be dropped into its position.

Whilst Second Lieutenant Gibson flew his unarmed aircraft low over the contact area in an effort to drop smoke grenades to the platoon his aircraft was hit in the engine and cockpit area by ground fire. With great skill and determination Second Lieutenant Gibson was able to land the aircraft in a safe area thereby saving his passenger from injury.

In carrying out his task as a helicopter reconnaissance pilot Second Lieutenant Gibson has displayed an extremely high order of determination and aggressiveness which has enabled him to consistently obtain valuable information on enemy movement and installations. His personal courage, determination and enthusiasm were at all times evident in the eight hundred hours of flying support he provided to ground forces. His conduct has been an inspiration to the other pilots of the unit and brings great credit upon himself, his Regiment and the Australian Army.

* Text of citation has been copied from the original recommendation for " Honours & Awards" dated 11 May 1971.

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