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Charles John Barron DSM MID

161 (Indep) Recce Flt 25 May 66 - 24 Apr 67 

  Second Lieutenant Charles John Barron joined 161 (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight on 7 June 1966. During his tour of duty in Vietnam he flew over 800 operational hours with his unit and at all times he demonstrated great skill and determination.

On 21 October 1966 he flew his helicopter in direct support of 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment on Operation Queanbeyan in the Nui Thi Vai Hills, Phuoc Tuy Province. The companies of the Battalion were widely separated on the steep slopes of the mountain mass with a re-supply problem due to the difficult terrain. It was essential for the continuation of the operation that supplies were delivered to the fighting troops.

The ground in which the Battalion was operating was extremely difficult and consisted of steep covered slopes and rocky outcrops, which only provided small and dangerous landing points, the approaches to which were covered by enemy fire through which he had to fly before he reached the comparative tree bound safety of the landing points.

He repeatedly flew his helicopter into small gaps in the jungle and effected re-supply to extremely hazardous positions by hovering and resting the helicopter's skids on piles of debris, or rocky outcrops. His rotor blades had marginal clearance with the surrounding jungle and he was obliged to reverse his helicopter out in all cases but one.

During that day, he flew 40 re-supply missions into these critical landing points which were made even more hazardous by the heavy loads he carried and the unfavourable and gusty wind conditions prevailing.

When, during the mid afternoon his relief was due, he immediately requested permission to continue as he alone was familiar with the few landing points and the highly fluid tactical situation. By the time of his final task, after last light, he had flown nearly eleven hours and completed forty nine separate missions.

But for the initiative and aggressive flying of this officer in extremely hazardous conditions in the face of the enemy the operations of the Battalion would not have been possible.

Second Lieutenant Barron showed devotion to duty, outstanding flying skill, and persistent courage on this day in which he successfully pitted his skill against the risks and dangers opposing him. He set a splendid standard of Army Aviation support. His actions on this day mark him as an outstanding pilot.

* Text of citation has been copied from an Australian Army Aviation Newsletter, Vol 2 No 7 dated April 1968.

Please Note:

On 3rd June 1998, a Vietnam “End of War List” was announced by the Australian Government, in that “End of War List” Chic Barron was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

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