Anthony Austin CASADIO MiD


CASADIO, Anthony Austin

Service Number: O2361
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam
Born: Port Lincoln, South Australia, 30 December 1945
Home Town: Mount Gambier, Mount Gambier, South Australia
Schooling: Marist Brothers College, Mount Gambier, South Australia
Occupation: Pilot
Died: Helicopter crash, Vietnam, 21 August 1968, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park - South Australian Garden of Remembrance
Mount Gambier
Memorials: Adelaide South East Asian Conflicts Memorial, Adelaide Vietnam War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Mount Gambier War Memorial
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Vietnam War Service

15 Oct 1967: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Lieutenant, SN O2361, RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam
15 Oct 1967: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Lieutenant, SN O2361, RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam
Date unknown: Honoured Mention in Dispatches

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Birth: Dec. 30, 1945
Port Lincoln
South Australia, Australia
Death: Aug. 21, 1968, Vietnam

O2361 Lieutenant Anthony Austin Casadio, Age 22
Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam
Casadio and Petty Officer Phillips were killed when their EMU light fire team were flying at tree top level to avoid VC snipers. The helicopter was hit by an RPG and crashed into the trees and exploded on 21st August 1968 near Blackhorse.

Information from Find a Grave Memorial

First Helicopter Shot Down

The first EMU aircraft to be shot down (and the first with an Australian pilot to be hit) was a gunship piloted by LEUT Anthony Casadio, RAN. This occurred on 19 November 1967, during an attack on Viet Cong positions in the Rung Sat Special Zone near Saigon. After his gunship was hit by ground fire several times LEUT Casadio force-landed near the enemy. Once on the ground the Viet Cong immediately attacked the helicopter crew. Despite their relative inexperience, the young American soldiers and their Australian Navy captain maintained control of the situation and set up a defensive perimeter using the helicopter's door-mounted M60 machine guns. The M60s combined with the small arms they all carried afforded the crew a degree of self-protection. Meanwhile LEUT John Leek, RAN in an accompanying gunship circled overhead until his fuel ran dangerously low and he was forced to leave the scene.

Before SBLT Casadio and his men were rescued by another EMU helicopter, they successfully drove off an unknown number of Viet Cong, killing two of the enemy in the process. A Chinook helicopter later lifted the downed helicopter from the crash site and recovered it back to Vung Tau.

Further Casualties

The gunship platoon suffered further casualties on 21 August 1968 when a light fire team was engaged by enemy troops equipped with Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) near Blackhorse. The lead gunship, captained by LEUT Casadio, RAN, flying at tree top level was hit by one of these deadly projectiles and exploded in flames before crashing through trees and exploding. LEUT Dalgleish, RAN, landed his helicopter quickly in an attempt to rescue the crew, but all had been killed, and the exploding ammunition stopped attempts to extinguish the fire. PO O.C. 'Darky' Phillipsof the RANHFV also lost his life in this incident as did WO Hershel Bullock (USA) and Specialist 4 William Fennell(USA). The loss of these aviators was deeply felt within the 135th AHC.

Informaiton from RAN helicopter Flight Vietnam History.