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BENT, David George, BSM

BENT, David George, BSM

David George Bent was born on 28 October 1944, the son of Lindsay George Bent and Minnie Spencer, nee Pietzsch. He was enrolled at Geelong College from 31 May 1949 to December 1961 as a member of McArthur House. At College, he was a member of the Under 14 B Cricket Team, the Under 15 A Football Team in 1958, the 1st Football XVIII in 1961, the 2nd VIII Tennis Team, and Drum Major in the Pipe Band. He was also a member of the Pegasus Committee in 1960 and 1961 and the Music Committee in 1961. His address at the time of enrolment was 1 Henry St Chilwell.

'David's father retired as Chief Superintendent of Police in Geelong, having previously been head of the CIB. He had been awarded the Queen's Police Medal.

David volunteered for service in the Australian Army, and served in Vietnam with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) from 1st October 1968 until 1st October 1969. Four members of AATTV were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour awarded in Australia. AATTV was the only Australian unit whose members earned these awards during Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War. At the time, the only ranks in this unit were, for Other Ranks, at least Warrant Officer, and for Officers, at least Captain. AATTV was and remains a unique unit.'

Pegasus of March 1969 reported: 'Captain David Bent (1958) began service in Vietnam with the AATTV'.
He had been a Lieutenant with the CMF for 11 years and, having taken leave of absence from the Shell Company, expected to be posted as a platoon commander with a Royal Australian Regiment Battalion. To his surprise, he was posted as a Battalion Senior Advisor with the 1st Battalion, 51st Regiment, Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), the first five months as Adjutant before he moved to the ARVN Battalion.

About twenty years later, David Bent was contacted by the US Embassy to advise that he had been awarded the US Bronze Star Medal (BSM) which, after the right approvals from the Australian Government, he now proudly wears.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs lists him with Vietnam Service (No. 3173096) as a Captain (Temporary) with the Royal Australian Infantry Corps.

He later became Managing Director for North-Eastern Petroleum Pty. Ltd. He is also a formerly a board member of Albury Legacy Club 1978-1981, President of Enterprise Albury/Wodonga 1992-93 and a Managing Director of Eagle Hotels Pty. Ltd.

His brother, Gary Lindsey Bent (1938-2018), was also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: Pegasus March 1969; Department of Veterans’ Affairs (Nominal Roll); ‘Directory of Old Collegians of The Geelong College 1996’ pp 23-24; ‘Geelong Collegians at the Second World War and Subsequent Conflicts’ compiled by J. Affleck. p561 (citing The Pegasus; Australian War Memorial). OGC 1958.
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