Navy Fleet Air Arm sacrifice remembered at the Australian War Memorial
31 May 2014
A Navy aircrewman’s courage and commitment during the Vietnam War has been remembered during today’s Last Post Service at the Australian War Memorial.
Leading Seaman aircrewman Noel Ervin Shipp died during a helicopter assault in Vietnam.
Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Vince Di Pietro, attended the event with four members of the Fleet Air Arm and said participating in the service provided some of Navy’s current day aviators with the opportunity to pay their respects.
“Leading Seaman aircrewman Shipp’s courage and commitment was of the highest order and his story serves as a truly inspiring example of Navy’s values,” Commodore Di Pietro said.
“We attended the service in Canberra to show our support to Leading Seaman Shipp’s family, honour the memory of an incredibly brave Navy sailor and aircrewman and acknowledge his sacrifice and contribution to our heritage.
“At the service, one of our most experienced and decorated sailors, Chief Petty Officer aircrewman Benjamin Sime, proudly read the Ode and Leading Seaman Shipp’s story to attendees.
“Leading Seaman Shipp’s name was then read from the War Memorial’s Honour Roll and I had the privilege of laying a wreath to honour his sacrifice and by simple connection, the sacrifice of all people who died in the service of our nation. The service concluded with the moving rendition of the Last Post,” he said.
Leading Seaman Shipp was killed in action in Vietnam on 31 May 1969 when the helicopter for which he was the crewman and gunner was exposed to heavy automatic gunfire and subsequently crash-landed, killing all onboard.
He is remembered for determinedly engaging the enemy under heavy fire with his M60 machine gun, hanging out the door of his aircraft up until the moment of impact.
Chief Petty Officer Sime said he and his teammates from Navy’s Fleet Air Arm have deep respect for Leading Seaman Shipp and his service.
“Leading Seaman Shipp completed more than 25 missions into hostile areas in support of operations against communist aggression during the Vietnam War,” Chief Petty Officer Sime said.
“He was seen to continue firing at the enemy right until the moment of his death. This was a truly brave and selfless act and one which will stand as being in the highest traditions of our Navy and its Fleet Air Arm.
“His courage and commitment is something to live up to,” he said.
The Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum at HMAS Albatross bears Shipp’s name and in 2013 one of the Navy’s four Recruit School divisions at HMAS Cerberus was bestowed with the name.
Leading Seaman Shipp is also remembered at the 135th AHC Memorial at the US Army Aviation Museum Fort Rucker, Alabama, together with those members of the same company who died while serving in Vietnam.
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