Lance Corporal John Gillespie, 24, of Carnegie, Vic., was serving as a helicopter medic with 8 Field Ambulance. On 17 April 1971, during a “dustoff” (medical evacuation) operation in the Long Hai hills in Phuoc Tuy province. The helicopter was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed. John’s body could not be recovered from the burning wreckage.
I filled the vacancy resulting from John’s death – although he was listed as “missing in action” – and flew a number of dustoff operations.
The site where the helicopter crashed i April 1971 was located in February 2004, and in December 2007 human remains discovered at the site were positively identified as John Gillespie’s and were subsequently repatriated to Australia for burial.