following was received from one of our Aussie members, Allen Morley of
131 Divisional Locating Battery of the Royal Australian Artillery.
I extracted the section about the 2nd/35th Battery US
ARTILLERY from the RAAHC newsletter. Thanks to Veteran Trevor Bryant for
In May 2018, on the 50th anniversary of the Battles of
Coral and Balmoral in Vietnam, elements of the Australian Task Force who
were involved in the action were awarded a Unit Citation for Gallantry
by the Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal (DHAAT). Those elements
receiving the citation included specified units of the 12 Field Regiment
Royal Australian Artillery. One of those units was the American Army's A
Battery of the 2nd/35th Field Artillery, a mobile artillery battery
attached to the Australian Task Force and part of the 12 Field Regiment.
Eligible ex-members of specified Australian units found
it was a relatively simple on-line process to apply to the DHAAT for
their badges, and subsequently received them in remarkably quick time.
However, it was a bit more complicated when it came to
getting the award out to the eligible ex-members of the US "A" Battery who
are all American citizens scattered across their country. Not being part
of the official Australian Defence Force network, most weren't even
aware that they had received the honour and those few who did know, had
no idea how to apply.
And no-one here in Australia seemed to know how they
could apply either. The question was, "How can an individual who is not
a citizen of Australia and is not governed by Australian law, and who is
part of a completely different honours and awards system, apply to be
sent an award from a foreign country?" Even the bureaucrats in Canberra
had no answers to the enquiries.
In spite of some concerted effort from Major Mike Grimes
Rtd. (ex- 102 Field Battery and Coral veteran) to find out how it could
be done, there was still no clear direction. Finally, Mike suggested
that we set up a test-case which might identify a process that works.
Enter Denny Nevala from Michigan, USA, an ex-member of A Battery
2nd/35th Artillery and Coral veteran.
Denny agreed to use the Australian on-line application
system to lodge an Application in his name, and to see what can of worms
this would open up. He filed his application in mid-December, 2018. He
received no acknowledgement from the DHAAT to say that the application
had even been received, leave alone recognised.
At this stage, Denny also realised that most of the US "A"
Battery veterans were spread all over the United States and making
contact was difficult. He steadfastly tracked down a number of them and
telephoned. He found that to a man, they had no knowledge of the UCG
before his call, but felt honoured when they were informed. However,
convincing them to take on Australian red-tape from all that far away
was a challenge. Denny found that many of them had circumstances and
issues which made the complex task of applying for a "foreign" award
well beyond their inclination and capability.
So Denny did the next best thing... With help from his
Australian veterans' network, he purchased a bundle of replica
UCGs-with Federation Star from Christies and these were delivered
promptly and efficiently to his home in Michigan.
He then set about posting them to all the other "A" Battery
Coral vets with whom he had made contact. Problem solved! He has
received enthusiastic feedback and thanks from all recipients who are
grateful to have the award to wear, but who are spared the effort of
having to formally apply. Win-win.
Denny finally received his "official" UCG from DHAAT
through the post to his Michigan home on 8th April, 2019, more than 4
months after he applied. Better late than never, and as a test case it
was successful - the DHAAT can and will accept applications from
non-Australian citizens who served with a foreign unit, although the
processing time is long.
But for Denny's ex-A Battery Coral mates it's not an
issue. They have earned their UCG and they have a badge to prove it; and
just like their Aussie counterparts, they wear it with pride.