John Leslie Coggan DFC
161 (Indep) Recce
Flt 01 Sep 67 - 03 Sep 68
Captain John Coggan was
commissioned in the Australian Regular Army on 11 December 1963. After service
in the Royal Australian Artillery, he attended Flying Training School and
qualified as a helicopter pilot; later he also qualified as a Fixed Wing pilot.
Captain Coggan arrived in South Vietnam on 2 September 1967, as the Rotary Wing
Section Commander, 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight. On 25 March 1968
he was appointed Second in Command of the Flight.
In the first nine
months of his tour Captain Coggan flew over one thousand hours and, by his
personal example, he set a standard of leadership and bravery in the air which
was an inspiration to the pilots of 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight.
He regularly flew all types of missions. On many of these missions he was fired
upon by the enemy, but on all occasions he completed the allotted task.
On 1 February
1968, an enemy reinforced battalion attacked Phuoc Le. Whilst supporting a
reaction force from 1st Australian Task Force, Captain Coggan flew visual
reconnaissance missions during the day and was fired upon by the enemy on a
number of occasions. At approximately 2200 hours a casualty evacuation
helicopter was unable to land in the Phouc Le Market Place because of high power
lines reducing the size of the landing zone. Captain Coggan volunteered to
evacuate the wounded. He landed at the market place on three occasions, each
time coming under fire, and completed the evacuation of the wounded.
As a result of
Captain Coggan's courageous actions and exceptional professional skill, wounded
Australian and Vietnamese soldiers were evacuated. It is probable that they
would not have survived if they had remained in the Market Place until the
By his skill,
determined leadership and willingness to support ground forces at all cost,
Captain Coggan has set an outstanding example as an Army Pilot and his actions
reflect credit upon himself, his unit and the Australian Army as a whole.
* Text of
citation has been copied from the original recommendation for "Honours
& Awards" dated 22 May 1968.
Coggan was also awarded the following Allied Medals:
The Distinguished Flying Cross, (United States),
The Gallantry Cross, with Bronze Star, (Vietnam), and
The Gallantry Cross, with Gold Star, (Vietnam).
* Details of these awards are not available.