Captain Blair joined the New Zealand Regular Army on 15 January 1964 and was commissioned on graduation from the Officer Cadet School at Portsea, Australia on 9 December 1967. He was assigned to the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, and posted to Whiskey Company in Malaysia in May 1969. He arrived with Whisky Three Company in Vietnam in November 1969.
Captain Blair as a rifle platoon commander led his platoon in a number of successful contacts with the enemy during the period November 1969 to May 1970.
On 15 April 1970 Captain Blair’s platoon initiated an ambush against an enemy force of five. As a result of his skilful siting of claymores and the platoon guns all the enemy force were killed instantly.
During the afternoon of 23 May 1970 his platoon discovered an occupied and well defended enemy camp. While reconnaissance of the camp was being conducted, Captain Blair organised artillery and mortar fire to cover likely enemy withdrawal routes from the camp. Once contact was made the estimated 20 enemy in the camp returned fire with rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons. During the next hour Captain Blair adjusted mortar, artillery and helicopter gun ship fire as well as directing the small arms fire of his platoon. He did this with great accuracy and skill. Captain Blair’s prompt and aggressive actions forced the enemy to break contact and abandon the heavily fortified camp leaving behind one of their number and signs that they had suffered other casualties.
The successes of Captain Blair’s platoon are directly attributable to the bold skilful handling by this most competent infantry platoon leader.
His personal standards, leadership, and professional competency reflect great credit upon himself, his Regiment and the New Zealand Army.