Recce Flt 10 Jun 69 - 11 Jun 70
Graeme Hill-Smith graduated from the Officer Cadet School, Portsea, on 26th June
1954, and was allotted to the Royal Australian Artillery and later transferred
to the Australian Army Aviation Corps. After a variety of training and
regimental appointments in Australia and overseas, he was posted to command
161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight in Vietnam on 11th June 1969.
commanded the 161st Independent Reconnaissance Flight in Vietnam with great
distinction. He proved to be an outstanding pilot, unequalled in his unit in
carrying out close and exacting air reconnaissance missions. He logged over
1,100 flying hours, most of them under adverse flying conditions, at low level
and at great danger to himself.
occasions, his determination to complete a thorough reconnaissance resulted in
his aircraft being fired on by the enemy, and three times he nursed a damaged
helicopter back to safety after it was struck by enemy small arms fire.
On the evening of
3 May 1970, he was flying in support of 8th Battalion, the Royal Australian
Regiment, which was in contact with the enemy south-west of Dat Do. Whilst
acting in spotter role for a light fire team of helicopter gun-ships, his
helicopter received enemy ground fire which severely damaged the main rotor
blade. By a superb display of flying skill, Major Hill-Smith flew his disabled
aircraft to the Horseshoe feature and landed it safely, thus preventing its
Throughout his tour, he displayed
courage, determination and flying skill of the highest order. His leadership was
an inspiration to the other pilots in his unit and brought great credit to his
Corps and the Australian Army.
* Text of citation has been
copied from the original recommendation for "Honours & Awards"
dated 30 May 1970.