US Small Ships Section

Inquiry into Recognition for Service with the United States (US) Army Small Ships Section

  • The US Army Small Ships Section was established in 1942 by General MacArthur using Australian ships and vessels. These were manned by Australian men under contract to the US Army Transportation Service. The men who served with the Small Ships Section have been recognised with American medals but not Imperial medals. The US Small Ships Association and the Australian Merchant Navy Awards Council have been seeking Imperial World War II recognition.
  • In November 2009 the Government accepted the following recommendations:
    • Recommendation 1: Australian civilian personnel who served in ships operated by the United States Army Small Ships Section between 1942 and 1945 should be recognised as eligible for Australian or Imperial recognition for that service on the same basis as members of the Merchant Navy.
    • Recommendation 2: There should be no requirement for those personnel to relinquish any US awards that they may have received in respect of their service in the United States Army Small Ships prior to receiving Australian recognition for that service.

Media Release – Announcement of Inquiry
Terms of Reference
Media Release – Announcement of the acceptance of the Tribunal’s recommendations

by Ken McFadyen
Oil on canvas on hardboard, 1968

RAAF's first operation over North Korea
Robert Taylor
Oil on canvas, 1986