|335th Radio Research Company
1968 Australian Mission
Victoria Cross Assistance
for Gary Cooper
Courtesy Brian Tate
|Subject: Fwd: Action on 18/19 August 1968
From: ThorneL at aol.com
To: Robin6491 at aol.com
Hey Rob; Got this sent to me because I'm listed with the 2/60th 9th Div. Thought I'd send it along to you just in case you radio spy types may know anything about the reported incident.
Subject: Action on 18/19 August 1968
From: btate at nor.com.au (Brian Tate)
To: ThorneL at AOL.COM
I am an Aussie veteran and at present myself and a group of other veterans are assisting in seeing that a mate of ours, Garry Cooper, receives a decoration he was recommended for in 1968. Garry, a Royal Australian Air Force fighter jock, flew as a `Bird Dog' FAC (in one of those little Cessnas) on attachment to the 9th Division. On 18 August Garry was acting as an Air Liaison Officer assisting a US Army colonel in co-ordinating air strikes in an action involving the 2/60th Battalion near the ville of Ap Tay Phu (grid co-ordinates xs815665, Long An Province). The 2 men were aboard a Hiller `Raven' OH-23 `scout chopper with the only other person on board being its Warrant Officer pilot.
The chopper came under heavy fire, the pilot was KIA and at a low altitiude the aircraft went down. Both Cooper and the colonel were injured, the colonel semi-conscious. Under heavy fire the Aussie half-carried the colonel to the relative cover of a rice paddy enbankment. Friendly forces were unable to effect a rescue until the following morning. Throughout the night, the VC launched a number of attacking probes towards Cooper and the colonel but these were successfully repulsed. The following morning a `Huey' rescued the 2 men.
That day, 19 August 1968, General Ewell CO of the 9th Division, recommended Garry Cooper for the Medal of Honor. However, your military regulations do not permit the awarding of the MoH to a forein national. General Ewell then sent the appropriate paperwork on to the Australian military for Australia's `highest decoration' which is the Victoria Cross. Unfortunately the paperwork was lost in the system.
Now 30 years later, General Ewell is again persuing the Australian decoration for Garry Cooper.
The Austrealian government has established an unprecedented Military Review Panel to re-examine the U.S. recommendation. As part of the group carrying out research for submissions to the panel, I have been focussing my attention on identifying ant eyewitnesses to the action that day.
As I have already mentioned we do know that the primary infantry unit on the ground that day was the 2/60th Battalion. Wec also know that is was a major action with US forces in the area losing 3 KIA and 11 WIA, while the enemy dead were 37 as well as a number of POWs.
I saw from the 9th Division Roll Call that each of you served at some time with the 2/60th and thought that if you were in Vietnam in 1968 you might be able to help us. If any of you guys were either there that day, or knows anything about the incident or can suggest someone who might be able to help, I would love to hear from you.
Best wishes and regards from the Land of Wonder, the Land Down Under.
42 Chickiba Drive
East Ballina, NSW, 2478
Phone: 02 66866659
Fax: 02 6681667
Email: btate at nor.com.au