THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT
SMITH Robertson Harvey
30221, Colonel, Headquarters, NZ V Force, Vietnam

CITATION
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
NZ Gazette Number 37 dated 25 June 1970
Colonel Smith graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon on 12 December 1944 and was appointed to a Regular Commission in the Royal New Zealand Artillery in the rank of Lieutenant. He served as an Artillery Instructor in New Zealand until 1946 when he was posted for duty with the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces in Japan.  Returning to New Zealand in 1948 Colonel Smith was appointed Adjutant of 15th Composite Anti-Aircraft Regiment RNZA. In 1951 he relinquished this appointment and was posted as the New Zealand Instructor at the Royal Military College Duntroon. This appointment was followed by attendance at a Long Gunnery Staff Course in the United Kingdom from October 1954 to December 1955. On returning to New Zealand Colonel Smith was appointed Chief Instructor of the School of Artillery. In 1957 he became Brigade Major Royal Artillery until appointed Staff officer Artillery at Army Headquarters in 1959.  From 1961 to 1963 Colonel Smith served with the New Zealand Infantry Battalion in Malaysia as a Company Commander. On his return to New Zealand he held various administrative appointments until appointed Commandant Papakura Camp in 1964.  Colonel Smith attended the United States Armed Forces Staff College in 1966 and in August 1966 was appointed Commander New Zealand V Force in Saigon.  During his tour in South Vietnam, New Zealand V Force grew from an Artillery Battery until eventually a large element of New Zealand’s overseas Army was under his command there. The variety and tempo of tasks he was called to undertake would have taxed the abilities of most officers under normal conditions. Colonel Smith by friendly liaison with United States, Australian and Vietnamese officers and officials, and the well-earned loyalty of New Zealand servicemen in Vietnam, successfully coped with his task in the stimulating environment of Saigon and Vietnam for two years until August 1968. To a large extent it was Colonel Smith’s efficient, cheerful and enthusiastic dedication to duty which kept New Zealand V Force operating so successfully. His outstanding service in Vietnam brought credit to the New Zealand Army, and New Zealand as a whole.

Officer of the Legion of Merit (USA)
Date of Award: 1969.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 20, 1942, has awarded the Legion of Merit (Degree of Officer) to
COLONEL ROBERTSON H. SMITH
NEW ZEALAND ARMY
for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services.  Colonel Robertson H. Smith, New Zealand Army, distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious service in operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam during the period August 1966 to August 1968, while serving as Commander, New Zealand Army Force, Vietnam.  Under the superior leadership of Colonel Smith, a large increase in the size of the New Zealand Force, Vietnam was accomplished smoothly and rapidly. As a result of Colonel Smith’s sound judgement and superior leadership the increased combat forces of the New Zealand Army quickly assumed a combat operational posture.  Through his diligent personal effort and close cooperation with the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam and Free World Military Assistance Office staffs, he aided materially in the renegotiation and subsequent completion of the revised Military Working Arrangement between Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam and the New Zealand Government. Colonel Smith developed a close rapport and excellent personal working relationships with his Free World counterparts, which facilitated the accomplishment of the New Zealand Force mission.  Colonel Smith’s accomplishments were in keeping with the highest tradition of the New Zealand Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Government of New Zealand.

Armed Forces Honour Medal 1st Class

Order of Merit 1st Class (Chuong My)

AWARDS
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
War Service Medal 1939-45
New Zealand War Service Medal
New Zealand Operational Service Medal
General Service Medal
Malaya
Occupation of Japan Medal
Queen's Vietnam Medal
NZ General Service Medal (warlike)
Vietnam
New Zealand Defence Service Medal
Regular
Vietnam Star
1960
Officer of the Legion of Merit (USA)
Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM)
Armed Forces Honour Medal 1st Class (SVN)
Order of Merit 1st Class Chuong My (SVN)

NOTES
Born 12 March 1924,
Died 12 May 1999

Robertson Harvey Smith was a member of the NZ "J" Forces, 1946 - 1948; was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1965 - 1966 and went on to command New Zealand troops in Vietnam from 1966 - 1968. Also attended the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia, USA, in 1966, writing a paper entitled, 'A Negotiated Peace in South Vietnam'.