The United States Marine Corps has awarded a rare honour to 107 Australian Defence Force (ADF) members who helped recover a US Marine Corps aircraft that crashed and sank off the Capricorn coast late last year.
Navy, Army and Airforce personnel have been awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation by the head of the US Marine Corps in the Pacific, Lieutenant General David Berger, during his visit to the Royal Australian Navy amphibious ship, HMAS Adelaide.
The commendation praises the Australians’ ‘unrelenting perseverance and unfailing devotion to duty’ and their actions are in the finest traditions of the ADF.
The ADF was called into action when the MV-22 Osprey crashed into the Coral Sea near Rockhampton on 6 August 2017.
The aircraft was carrying 26 American service members and, tragically, one pilot and two other Marines were killed in the incident.
Over the following fortnight, the Australians worked with US Marines and the US Navy to locate the aircraft and support the recovery operation.
A total of 14 dives were conducted on the Osprey by an Australian Navy Dive team in sometimes difficult conditions.
The commendation has been presented to members of Maritime Operations, Australian Clearance Diving Team One, Australian Mine Warfare Team Sixteen (HMAS Waterhen in Sydney), Navy Hydrographic Ship crew Blue embarked in HMAS Melville (based at HMAS Cairns), and to members of the Australian Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Task Group