LIEUTENANT COLONEL COLIN KHAN DSO., AM.
27 NOVEMBER 1967 ~ 30 JUNE 1970
Brigadier Colin Khan DSO
graduated as a Lieutenant from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in December
1951 and was allotted to the Royal Australian Infantry. He served in the Korean
War as a Platoon Commander with 1st Battalion Royal Australian
Regiment. Lieutenant Khan's platoon, occupying a forward defensive position, was
heavily bombarded by enemy mortar and artillery fire during which he, with his
leadership qualities and example, kept up the spirits of his men. He also led
eight fighting patrols during which he displayed outstanding leadership and
control. On the night of 10/11 November 1952 Lieutenant Khan led a fighting
patrol during which he was severely wounded in action from penetrating machine
gun wounds to the chest. His wounds led to the loss of his right lung. For his
actions in Korea, Lieutenant Khan was mentioned in despatches.
He served in a
number of training, command and staff postings in the ensuing
years including Guard Commander of the Australian Coronation
Guard at Buckingham Palace in 1953-4, instructor at the School
of Infantry, Seymour, instructor at the Royal Military College,
attendance at the Staff College, Kingston in Canada, Company
Commander 2 RAR and Commander of Murray Barracks Garrison in
Papua New Guinea. In 1968 he was appointed as Commanding Officer
5 RAR and had the immediate task of rebuilding the battalion to
full strength and training it for active service in South
Vietnam. Known to his men as "Genghis", he arrived in South
Vietnam on 6th
outstanding aggressive leadership, his drive, inspiration and
enthusiasm, coupled with dedication and meticulous planning,
Lieutenant Colonel Khan was awarded the Distinguished Service
Order. Under his command the "Tiger" Battalion became a
tenacious combat unit, demonstrating a high degree of
flexibility and a capacity for rapid response to constantly
changing tactical situations.
Colonel Khan's skilful use of intelligence, rapid appreciation
of situations, and sound tactical ability has resulted in the
disruption of many enemy operations, and the destruction of a
large number of installations. On one occasion the careful
planning, co-ordination and execution of his task resulted in
the interdiction of an enemy military region headquarters
causing it to redeploy approximately thirty kilometres, thus
seriously affecting the enemy's ability to conduct operations.
On another occasion his sound leadership and drive resulted in
the destruction of a district guerrilla organization. In the Hat
Dich Secret Zone the battalion has located and destroyed in
excess of one thousand bunker systems and numerous weapons and
food caches. On all operations the battalion has acquitted
itself in an exemplary manner.
Throughout this period of continuous operations Lieutenant
Colonel Khan's spirit of aggression, courage under fire and
resolute leadership have been an inspiration to his battalion
and all who have served with him. He has welded his unit into an
efficient and viable fighting organization, which reflects great
credit on himself, his Regiment and the Australian Army.
citation was written before the Battle of Binh Ba, as it could
aggressive and skilful leadership and coordination of a combined
infantry, armoured, artillery and aerial force, a large enemy
contingent of North Vietnamese regulars with Viet Cong support
was defeated in a vicious battle lasting over two days. The
Battle of Binh Ba ranks as one of the major military victories
of the Australian force in Vietnam.
Colonel Khan's command of 5RAR ended in 1970 after which his
postings included Military Assistant to the Chief of the General
Staff, Defence Attaché to Laos (1973-76), Commandant Land
Warfare Centre, Canungra, and Deputy Chief of Army Reserve and
Director of Defence Recruiting.
In 1986 he
retired from the Australian Army with the rank of Brigadier, and
then served for ten years with the Australian Federal Police as
Director of Careers Development and Assessment. From 1996 to
2001 he was a consultant to the NSW Police Service.
For the list
of COs and RSMs of 5RAR, go the 5RAR history page