Maurice Francis DODSON
Lieutenant Maurice Dodson graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, on 14th December, 1965. After further training at various establishments in New Zealand he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. He arrived in South Vietnam as a platoon commander with Victor Three Company of the 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment/New Zealand (ANZAC), on 13th May, 1968.
On 22nd June, 1968, Lieutenant Dodson was in command of a nine man patrol which tracked, located and killed three Viet Cong. Immediately afterwards the patrol came under heavy, short range automatic fire. It was subsequently discovered that there were seventy to eighty of the enemy in a well prepared defensive position. In the first burst of fire Lieutenant Dodson received painful wounds to his head and shoulder, which soon caused him to lose most of his vision. Pte Wickman MJ was killed instantly close to him.
The second in command of the patrol and two other riflemen were wounded soon afterwards. The enemy quickly attempted to assault and envelop the patrol, but so steadfast was the patrol that it not only avoided being overrun, but also prevented the enemy from capturing an unconscious rifleman and his machine gun which were both in an exposed position nearby.
Throughout this period Lieutenant Dodson coolly directed the actions of the patrol, arranged its dispositions and directed close mortar and artillery fire. The engagement lasted one hour and forty minutes, during which time the enemy deployed continuous and at times heavy fire, including many grenades from short range. An assault by an enemy platoon came within twenty metres of the patrolís position before being beaten off by accurate rifle, grenade and mortar fire. Envelopment by another enemy platoon was forestalled by the well placed fire of armed helicopters also directed by Lieutenant Dodson. Many casualties were known to have been inflicted on the enemy and finally the Viet Cong abandoned their prepared position and withdrew.
By his gallantry and leadership Lieutenant Dodson so inspired his patrol that they held their ground, regained the initiative and defeated a strong enemy force under extremely difficult circumstances. His fine example was a credit to himself, his company and the New Zealand Army. As a result of the wounds he received in this action Lieutenant Dodson has since been evacuated from South Vietnam.
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