The RANHFV took part in an intensive action in Kien Hoa province. A regional force outpost in the Binh Dai district had been overrun and then heavily fortified by a Viet Cong battalion. Three battalions of the 10th Regiment, 7th ARVN Division were inserted around the outpost by slicks of the EMUs and the Dutchmasters (B Troop, 7th Squadron, US Army 1st Cavalry, based at Vinh Long). The combined flight with Lieutenant Commander David Farthing as mission commander, received heavy fire from small arms and machine guns throughout the six-hour long operation. The lead helicopter, piloted again by the unfortunate Lieutenant Marum, received multiple hits and was forced to break off and return to Bearcat. Sub Lieutenant Andy Perry, RAN, who was airborne on another mission then, volunteered to lead the assault landings. Leading the assault Perry’s Huey was badly damaged during the first insertion but made flyable in the landing zone under heavy fire. Sub Lieutenant Perry then took off and led two more lifts of troops into the bitterly contested landing zone taking further enemy fire that came through the helicopter’s windshield. A piece of shrapnel came off the pedals of the aircraft and hit Perry on the foot. Fortunately his injuries were superficial and later that night he took part in three more landings despite the fact that his cockpit lights and instruments were no longer functioning. The brand new helicopter, which Sub Lieutenant Perry was flying on this day, was so badly damaged that it never flew again. The 21-year old Sub Lieutenant was later awarded the United States ‘Silver Star’ for his part in the action.
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