2389 Lieutenant Colonel Eric Harold SMITH
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Lieutenant Colonel Eric Smith graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in December 1944 and after staff and regimental appointments in Australia and overseas, he was appointed to raise and command the 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment in September 1965, arriving in South Vietnam with his unit in April 1967.
Lieutenant Colonel Smith led his Battalion through 12 months of operations in South Vietnam. During this period, he commanded his unit in 30 Battalion sized operations and in addition planned and supervised numerous Company and platoon sized tasks.
At all times, lieutenant Colonel Smith’s planning, co-ordination and supervision were of the highest order He at no time hesitated in exercising his command responsibilities, to go forward to where his sub units we in contact with the enemy. By so doing, he frequently exposed himself to danger without regard for his own safety.
By his professional competence, careful attention to detail and constant consideration for all members of the unit, Lieutenant Colonel Smith commanded a unit which, throughout its tour in Vietnam, distinguished itself in every operation in which it participated. His men possessed a fierce pride in their Battalion; a pride nurtured and inspired by their Commanding Officer whose rare combination of the qualities of leadership produced in his men a desire to excel, always.
Lieutenant Colonel Smith’s devotion to duty, outstanding leadership and professional competence have served as an inspiration to his men, and all who served with him, and reflect great credit on himself, his Regiment and the Australian Army.
Extract from: Vietnam Veterans Honours and Awards by Alexander M Palmer