161 (Indep) Recce
Flt 10 May 67 - 21 May 68
and 01 Jul 70 - 04 Feb 71
Sergeant Robert Zitzelsberger enlisted in the Australian Regular
Army on 09 March 1965.
He was allotted to the Royal Australian Electrical and
Mechanical Engineers, and served with units of his Corps until 1967. In May
1967, he was posted to 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight to take charge
of the Airframes Section in the Flight workshops.
Sergeant Zitzelsberger organised his section into a highly
efficient team, and by his personal example, inspired his men to complete tasks
normally considered to be beyond their capacity.
In April 1968, a Cessna aircraft crashed shortly after take
off, and was badly damaged. Sergeant Zitzelsberger worked for twenty hours each
day for five days to repair the aircraft, without any jigs or the correct
equipment. As a result of his unique skill and professional competence, the
aircraft was available for operations after only six days. Thus, the requirement
for a replacement aircraft from Australia, and the delay before arrival of the
new aircraft, was avoided.
During the month of May 1968, the ten aircraft of the flight
flew over fourteen hundred hours on operations, and the unit's maintenance
effort was divided in two locations. During this period of maximum operational
commitment, Sergeant Zitzelsberger was the major source of strength and
enthusiasm in the hangar. As a direct result of his dedicated example, the
servicing effort was able to keep pace with the heavy operational requirement.
By his dedication and extreme diligence, Sergeant
Zitzelsberger became a source of pride to the unit during his tour. The
excellence of his work and his keen devotion to duty reflect great credit on
him, his unit, and the Australian Regular Army.
* Text of citation has been copied from the book
"Vietnam Veterans Honours & Awards
by Alexander M. Palmer.