Rodney Gerard CURTIS
Lieutenant Rodney Curtis was posted to 4th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment and was appointed the Platoon Commander of 9 Platoon, C Company. The Battalion was deployed on active service in the Sarawak District of Borneo, East Malaysia.
Lieutenant Rodney Curtis was commanding a party of nine men sent to block the withdrawal of an enemy party of the Indonesian Army being followed up after a previous contact. By sound judgement he selected an ambush position astride one of the many possible enemy escape routes.
At about 1740 hours on 15 June 1966, the enemy appeared unexpectedly in the rear of the ambush position. Only Lieutenant Curtis and one other soldier were able to bring fire to bear on the enemy. Realising that the enemy could easily escape if they spotted his ambush, he opened fire and killed one of the enemy. The remaining enemy adopted a good position under cover on a narrow, jungle covered ridge line. Although pinned down by enemy fire at close range, Lieutenant Curtis directed operations and issued orders for the six men able to move, to assault from the right. He covered the movement of this party by fire. After one soldier was wounded he called off the assault just as reinforcements arrived. These consisted of one section of his own platoon and one section of another platoon under command of Second Lieutenant Max Chambers. He took control of this mixed reinforcement party and with a well thought out plan, he confidently directed them to the final destruction of a brave and determined enemy party. Documents taken from the enemy dead were of the greatest national importance. The success of this contact had far reaching effects on subsequent operations.
Lieutenant Curtis displayed the highest qualities of cool leadership, bravery, judgement and determination in a difficult and dangerous situation.