Michael John Sonneveld
Recce Flt 29 Oct 70 - 28 Oct 71
Second Lieutenant John Sonneveld graduated from Officer
Training Unit on 11 October 1968, and subsequently qualified as an Army pilot at
1st Aviation Regiment. He was posted to 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance
Flight as a helicopter pilot, arriving in South Vietnam on 1 November 1970.
On 21 September 1971, the 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian
Regiment, was involved in a number of heavy contacts with the enemy in the area
east of Route 2 in the northern half of Phuoc Tuy Province. For over eleven
hours that day, Second Lieutenant Sonneveld, who was tasked as direct support
pilot to the Battalion, flew his unarmed Kiowa helicopter at low level over the
contact area continually exposing himself to enemy fire.
At no time was he deterred from his task of providing every
possible assistance to the troops on the ground. On numerous occasions he
delivered urgently required ammunition to the troops in contact, knowing very
well that other aircraft operating over the contact area had already received
hits from enemy small arms fire. When it became obvious that a large enemy force
was involved, he skilfully conducted reconnaissance at tree top height to locate
the enemy and guide our own troops to their positions.
The quiet determination, courage and skill shown on this day were always
evident in the eleven hundred hours of operational flying carried out by Second
Lieutenant Sonneveld in support of the ground forces. His conduct and unassuming
manner have been an inspiration to other unit pilots and reflect great credit
upon himself, his Corps and the Australian Army.
* Text of citation has been copied from the original recommendation for "
Honours & Awards" dated 15 November 1971.