Birkenhead RSA


Obverse: A Crowned Effigy of Elizabeth II facing right and surrounded by the legend "ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA F.D.".

Reverse: The word "VIETNAM" inscribed above a symbol representation of the ideological war in Vietnam, depicting the figure of man in the centre of the Medal, standing between spherical shapes.

Size: 37mm in diameter.

Ribbon: 32mm wide. A yellow ribbon bordered on the left with a dark blue strip, representing the Navy and on the right a light blue strip, representing the Air Force, both being one quarter of an inch wide and edged on the inner side with strips of red, representing the Army, each one eighth of an inch wide. Within a space of one sixth of an inch in the centre of the ribbon, three vertical stripes in red of a lighter hue, each of equal width are super-imposed on the yellow, the distance between each stripe being equal to the width of the stripe.

Suspension: By an ornate swivelling bar.

This cupro-nickel medal is an Australian issue and was awarded to the Australian and New Zealand Armed Forces serving in Vietnam after 29th May, 1964, for a minimum of twenty eight days' service in ships or one day ashore with an operational unit. Official visits had to last thirty days to qualify although service could be aggregated.

The first New Zealand troops were sent to Vietnam in 1964. These consisted of a detachment of Royal New Zealand Engineers who served in a non-combatant role until 1965. They were replaced by 161 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery, under the command of the 173rd United States Airborne Brigade. By 1966, the battery had become part of the 1st Australian Task Force. In 1967 the New Zealand Contingent was joined by Victor Company and Whisky Company, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. These troops formed part of ANZAC Battalion and came under the command of the Australian Task Force.

In the same year, the 1st New Zealand Services Medical Team was sent to Vietnam. The last unit sent to Vietnam arrived in 1968 and consisted of a squadron of the New Zealand Special Air Service. Members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force served with squadrons of the Royal Australian Air Force and the United States Air Force, as well as taking part in transport operations carried out by the Royal New Zealand Air Force itself.

Royal Warrant For This Award: View Warrant (PDF document)

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