Phillip Zupp awarded the US Air Medal
3rd July 2018. Canberra, Australia. This evening at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Flying Officer Phillip Zupp MID was posthumously awarded the United States Air Medal for his actions on February 6th 1952. The presentation was made by Charge D’Affaires A.I. Mr. James Caruso in the same building as the very jet fighter that Flying Officer Zupp flew on his first combat mission in Korea is displayed.
66 years ago, the Australian fighter pilot was operating a Gloster Meteor jet with the Royal Australian Air Force’s 77 Squadron, in the search for a downed pilot. The area was heavily defended by anti-aircraft fire and Zupp made several low passes in the search for his squadron-mate.
On the final pass, he was hit by ground fire, which destroyed his aircraft’s canopy shattered his flying goggles and inflicted shrapnel wounds to his face. Zupp managed to regain control of his damaged aircraft at tree-top height and return to his squadron’s base at Kimpo.
Zupp had previously seen active service during World War two with the Australian Army’s 2/10 Cavalry Commando Squadron before being stationed in Hiroshima, Japan with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) only months after the detonation of the atomic bomb. He re-enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force as a mechanic in 1949 before being selected to undertake flying training. In Korea, Zupp flew 201 fighter missions and was “Mentioned in Despatches” by the Commonwealth. His story has been recorded in the book, ‘Without Precedent’.
The family would like to acknowledge the efforts of ACM Mark Binskin AC and his staff for their tireless efforts in seeing Flying Officer Zupp’s service recognised in this way.