Conspicuous Gallantry Medal recipient – Corporal John Coughlan

03 Oct 1967

When an American gunship helicopter crashed into dense jungle inside enemy-held territory eight kilometres from the Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat, Corporal John Coughlan, a crewman with No 9 Squadron in Vietnam, volunteered to be winched down to provide assistance to the badly injured crew. The downed aircraft was burning fiercely, its ammunition and rockets exploding dangerously, and he was frequently forced to take cover from shrapnel. Three months later he performed a similar feat in aid of another downed US helicopter. On 17 June 1968 Coughlan was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, the highest flying award for non-commissioned ranks (other than the Victoria Cross). He was the first RAAF member awarded the CGM since World War II and only the tenth to receive the medal since it was instituted in 1943.