Elliott

Date of Entry: 05/06/2017
Surname: Elliott
Christian Names: Colin Francis
Country: Australia
State or Province: Victoria
City or Town: Dandenong
Service #: R95102
Service: Royal Australian Navy
Branch: Underwater Control
Commencement of service: 10 Oct 1965
Completion of service: 1972
Case Notes:

 

 

Colin Francis Elliott is a well known Australian comedian, and also a Vietnam veteran.

WUElliott 1

The above photograph appears on the personal web page of Elliott. Here he can be seen wearing the following medals:

  1. Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75
  2. Vietnam Medal
  3. Australian Service Medal 1945-75
  4. Australian Defence Medal
  5. Republic of Vietnam Combat Medal
  6. Vietnam Service Commemorative
  7. Far East Strategic Reserve Commemorative
  8. United States Navy Unit Commendation

Elliott joined the Royal Australian Navy at the age of 16, commencing as a Junior Recruit at HMAS Leeuwin in West Australia. Before reaching his eighteenth birthday, he was serving in Vietnam onboard HMAS Hobart.

During this deployment, Hobart was attached to US Navy Forces, serving on what became known as the “Gun Line”, and heavily involved in the bombardment of Vietnamese based land targets, whilst coming under fire herself.

Seeing enemy action was not the only significant event of this deployment. After a fire broke out on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal, killing 143 sailors and injuring 161 more, Hobart assisted with rescue and medical support.

For her service with US Forces, Hobart was awarded the US Navy Unit Citation:

For Exceptionally Meritorious Service during the period 10th March to 20th September, 1967, while engaged in Combat Operations in direct support of Free World Objectives in South East Asia. As an element of Task Unit 70.8.9 HMAS HOBART provided Naval Gunfire Support for United States and Allied Forces ashore in the Republic of Vietnam, and as an element of Task Group 77.1 in the Gulf of Tonkin, supported Naval Operations against North Vietnamese logistics groups and lines of communications. Undeterred by frequent, vigorous, accurate enemy shore fire, HOBART was responsible for the destruction of numerous enemy installations, earning an enviable reputation as an Aggressive Eager and Dauntless Member of the US Seventh Fleet. The outstanding Team Work, Courage and Professionalism displayed by HOBART Officers and Men reflect Great Credit upon themselves and the Royal Australian Navy and were in keeping with the Highest Traditions of the Naval Service.

Elliott was later posted to HMAS Stuart and deployed to South East Asia as part of the Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR), sailing from Sydney on 22 March 1969.

It was during this deployment Stuart was one of a number of Australian ships participating in a SEATO exercise with US Navy units in the South China Sea.

On 3 June 1969, USS Frank E. Evans sailed under the bow of HMAS Melbourne and was cut in two, with the loss of 74 lives. Elliott was part of the crew of a whaler from Stuart conducting searches for survivors in that pre-dawn tragedy.

By the age of 19, Elliott had not only been on active combat duty, but had also assisted in the response to two naval tragedies. These experiences would manifest in later life with depression and alcoholism, as detailed in his autobiography ‘In Between The Laughter’.

Elliott was appropriately recognised for his service, as is shown in the official medals he is wearing. Unfortunately, Elliott has seen fit to embellish his rack of medals by adding the Vietnam Service Commemorative and the FESR Commemorative medals.

WUElliott 2

 

WUElliott 3

These medals are quite simply junk. They have never been officially awarded by any country and are more often simply purchase by the wearer to inflate both their medal rack and self-importance. Their wearing is simply an insult to the service of veterans.

Elliott, for whatever reason, has chosen to display this tin junk. Perhaps it is part of his comedy routine, in which case the joke has backfired and Elliott has earned a perpetual billing on the ANZMI site.

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