Flight Lieutenant Richard Metcalfe
Richard John Metcalfe. 81177. Flight Lieutenant. Royal New Zealand Air Force. Attached 11th Armd Cav Regiment (United States Armed Forces). New Zealand Gazette dated 31 July 1970. Flight Lieutenant Metcalfe joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force on 9 July 1963 and trained as a pilot with 75 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force. He was posted to Vietnam as a Forward Air Control (FAC) pilot on 31 May 1970. Flight Lieutenant Metcalfe served with the Tactical Control Party for the 11th Armoured Cavalry Regiment from 31 May to 6 November 1969. During his period of service with the 19 Tactical Air Support Squadron, United States Air Force in support of 11th Cavalry Regiment he flew 351 combat hours and controlled 101 tactical air strikes. Throughout he displayed such a high order of competence, aerial skill and devotion to duty under enemy fire that he was considered by both 7th United States Air Force and the ground commanders he supported, to be an outstanding forward air controller. His ability to quickly analyse and quickly respond to a complex tactical situation was highlighted by his performance near Loc Ninh on 2 August 1969. On visual reconnaissance supporting 1 Squadron, 11th Air Cavalry Regiment, he monitored a report that a helicopter had crashed about three miles away after receiving ground fire. In co-operation with the ground commander he controlled two air strikes against the machine-gun site which were placed only after an airlifted recovery team had extracted the deceased crew from the downed helicopter. He so accurately located, marked and continued to mark the machine-gun for the first set of fighters (F100s) and the second set (F4Cs) that the machine-gun crew and four adjacent bunkers were totally destroyed. In this complicated situation requiring exact timing, precise control and the direction of firepower on to a pin point target, Flight Lieutenant Metcalfe again displayed those special qualities which have enhanced his professional reputation throughout his attachment to 11th Cavalry Regiment. His determination, technical competence, performance under fire and continuing devotion to duty, reflected great credit upon himself and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.