In a moving ceremony last Saturday 4 December 2021 at the Woodburn-Evans Head RSL, Australian flying ‘legend’ Garry Cooper, DFC, was formally awarded a US Air Force Cross for ‘valor in combat’, one of the highest military honours in the United States.
Cooper was a former air controller pilot serving with the US Army’s 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1968 where he flew frontline Cessna ‘Birddog’ aircraft on hundreds of missions. The award ceremony was a long time in coming and followed four years of research by local Craig Dale into what had become of the ‘lost’ medal.
Cooper’s time in Viet Nam is published with Robert Hillier in Sock it to ‘em Baby, Allen & Unwin, 2006. Dr Richard Gates, President & Life Member of the Museum was invited to give a formal address on the occasion of the award.