Born: 30 August 1933, Ingham, QLD Rank: Warrant Officer Class II Unit: Australian Army Training Team Campaign: Vietnam
PAYNE WAS LEADING a company of indigenous Montagnard soldiers with a team of American advisers near Ben Het Camp (a US Special Forces base in the Central Highlands of Vietnam) when they came under heavy attack from North Vietnamese troops. Some of Payne’s men were killed and wounded, others fled in panic. Despite being wounded, Payne searched for survivors left behind in enemy-held territory. He found about 40 and led them to safety. Now aged 85, he is Australia’s last surviving recipient of the Victoria Cross awarded under the Imperial Honours and Awards system.