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Ross Hutchinson MID

161 (Indep) Recce Flt  08 Apr 67 - 16 Apr 68

  Captain Ross Hutchinson was commissioned in the Australian Regular Army on 13 June 1964. After service with the Royal Australian Artillery Corps he commenced Flying Training in July 1965 and qualified as a helicopter pilot in May 1966. He served both as a Rotary Wing Pilot and as Administrative Officer of 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight.

On the night of 30 January 1968, Captain Hutchinson was detailed to fly as an observer for a heavy fire team operating over the Australian Tactical Area of Operation during Operation Coburg. At 0200 hours when the heavy fire team was refuelling at Bien Hoa the base came under heavy rocket and ground attack. An attempt was made to get all available aircraft into the air but there were insufficient pilots due to many of them living off the base.

Consequently Captain Hutchinson flew co-pilot in a gunship for Captain Rubin, United States Army, and proceeded to the eastern end of the air base which was under heavy ground attack. Captain Rubin's aircraft with Captain Hutchinson flying co-pilot engaged the enemy for the next hour during which time both the crew-chief and the gunner were wounded by enemy ground fire.

At 0300 hours, the aircraft returned to re-arm and refuel and because there was still a shortage of pilots Captain Hutchinson then took command of an aircraft as the only pilot aboard and proceeded to engage opportunity targets in the Bien Hoa area. Captain Hutchinson's aircraft landed again to re-arm at 0400 hours and by this time some experienced pilots had arrived on the airbase, so Captain Hutchinson returned to flying co-pilot and continued to engage opportunity targets until the Viet Cong attack was broken at dawn.

By his aggressive flying and willingness to seek out the enemy at all costs, Captain Hutchinson, has brought credit upon himself, his unit, and the Australian Army.

* Text of citation has been copied from the book "Vietnam Veterans Honours & Awards Army"      

 by Alexander M. Palmer.

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