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Colin Walter James Scott DFC

161 (Indep) Recce Flt 22 Sep 66 - 26 Jul 67

Lieutenant Colin Walter James Scott enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on 14 January 1963, and qualified as an Army Pilot on 12 June 1964. He joined 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight in Vietnam on 23 September 1966.

In July 1967, Lieutenant Scott flew in support of 1st Australian Task Force on Operation Paddington. On 13 July he sighted a large enemy party but could not inform friendly troops as his radio had failed. He returned to base and, in a new aircraft, returned to the scene. By this time the enemy had disappeared so he flew at tree top height in the area that he expected the enemy would be, well knowing that the Viet Cong in the face of such persistent reconnaissance would attempt to shoot him down. Balancing these odds against the requirement to locate the enemy, Lieutenant Scott showed courage and determination of the highest order and through his persistence found the enemy, estimated at two companies, in position. As he repeatedly flew low over the enemy position to gauge its extent, his aircraft was subjected to heavy fire from small arms and automatic weapons. Lieutenant Scott, after confirming the Viet Cong locations called for strike aircraft to attack the enemy. He was directly responsible for three successful airstrikes being directed against the enemy.

Late on 14 July 1967 he located another large camp estimated to contain two enemy Battalions. He was fired on repeatedly as he flew low to confirm his sightings, and he then successfully directed artillery and led air strikes on to the enemy position. He called for a relief aircraft when his fuel ran low and in blinding monsoonal rain and failing light marked the target for his relief before diverting to the nearest airfield to refuel. He returned to his base in the dark after a mission lasting nearly five hours. His debriefing led to two more successful reconnaissance missions on the morning of 15 July when he personally led strike aircraft to two more occupied positions.

Lieutenant Scott was an aggressive and courageous pilot, who through thorough and determined reconnaissance was rewarded with considerable success despite difficulties of monsoon rain, poor observing conditions and ground fire from large groups of enemy. His handling of these conditions mark him as an outstanding pilot and his actions contributed significantly to the success of 1st Australian Task Force during this operation.

* Text of citation has been copied from the original recommendation for " Honours & Awards" dated 15 July 1967.

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