Vietnam veteran receives rare award for finding lost military records

A Vietnam War Veteran has received a rare Commendation from the Chief of the Air Force.

The award, usually reserved for serving airmen, was given to Doug 'Scotty' Wingfield for finding lost military records.

An admin error after the war saw all records chucked out for ground crews from 41 Squadron.

Wingfield spent 12 years and more than 7000 hours looking for traces of 41 Squadron across the world. Page by page, he searched through Unit Histories. Contacting RNZAF pilots, he tracked down flight authorisation books, manifestos, passenger lists and records of ground crew air movements.

He finally managed to name 137 ground crew members.Dubbed Scotty's List, it's now an official reference point for the Defence Force - records dating back from the first flight into Vietnam in December 1962, to the last flight out on March 21, 1975.

Thanks to his work, 84 of his fellow service members have received their medallic recognition and entitlements.

It's a feat deserving of its own recognition, which an unsuspecting Wingrield walked into.

He was presented with a commendation from the Chief of the Royal New Zealand Air Force in a surprise ceremony.

"I came here expecting to talk about stuff and then there's this huge surprise when you walk in, all my friends and family and some of those I've got medals for," he told Newshub.

"I didn't expect anything in return but it's lovely when someone recognises your efforts and things you have done."

Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark said it was a "real privilege" to thank Wingfield for his work.

The award is rarely given out to non-serving members of the Air Force, and is a huge honour for Wingfield and his family.

"It means a great deal, he's been so dedicated like a Sherlock Holmes with all the work he's done," his wife Wendy says.

It's special too for 41 Squadron's Tony Batchelor.

"I'm so proud of him, I wouldn't have that medal without him and that's really something, I love that medal," he told Newshub.

And this isn't the end for Wingfield. He's vowed not to stop until everyone's ticked off his list.