ANZAC Day this year, saw a select group of veterans marching with shiny new awards for the first time; some dating back fifty-two years
The extraordinary gallantry displayed by members of both the RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam in South Vietnam from October 1967 to June 1971, and members of the 1st Australian Task Force (Forward) and associated units deployed to Area of Operations SURFERS during the Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral are being recognised by the Unit Citation for Gallantry.
Veterans who served in the cited units during the Battles are entitled to wear the Citation insignia with Federation Star.
The insignia of a Unit Citation for Gallantry is a gilt rectangular frame surrounding a deep green ribbon. The frame has a design of flames emanating from the outer edges of the frame to the centre.
The actual citation is a warrant presented to the unit. Insignia are worn by individuals to denote their membership of a unit that has been awarded a citation. Personnel cannot be issued with the insignia until the authorised unit representative, normally the CO, has been formally invested with the citation.
In the case of awards made in recognition of past conflicts, the insignia can be applied for, issued and worn following formal announcement of the Governor-General’s approval of the award in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.
Personnel who were members of the unit when an award was made wear a Federation Star in the centre of the ribbon and continue to wear the insignia after leaving the unit.
Army and Air Force dress policy allows current serving personnel who are subsequently posted to the unit to wear the insignia without the Federation Star, but only while actually posted to the unit. Veterans of cited units, who were not serving with the unit at the time of the cited action, are not entitled to wear the insignia. For example, a member who served with 1RAR from 1972 to 1973 is not entitled to wear the Unit Citation For Gallantry insignia, as they were not serving with the unit at the time of the cited action (the Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral).
Members of uniformed services wear the insignia in accordance with the dress rules of their Service. In civilian dress serving and ex-serving personnel generally continue to wear these insignia in the same way as they are worn on uniform.