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“Without Precedent”, a story about Australia’s first Purple Heart

written by WOFA | June 29, 2016

Without Precedent, by Owen Zupp.
Without Precedent, by Owen Zupp.

In 1952, Sergeant Phillip Zupp was flying a Gloster Meteor fighter jet over Haeju on the Korean Peninsula when disaster struck. Nearby, “Butch” Hannan’s  jet had been hit, forcing the Flight Lieutenant to hit the eject button.

And as the 26-year-old Zupp searched for his fallen colleague, he too was struck by enemy fire, but despite being wounded, managed to make it back to his base at Kimpo.

While it could easily be the script for the latest blockbuster movie, the events were all too real for Zupp and what happened next would lead to the awarding of Australia’s first Purple Heart from the US military.

The remarkable story of courage and tenacity has been chronicled in a biography of Phillip Zupp’s life written by his son Owen.

“Without Precedent” is Owen Zupp’s sixth book. It is currently available as an e-book on Amazon and iTunes, while paperback and hardcover versions should be available at bookstores and online retailers shortly ahead of a formal book launch in late July.

In addition to being an author, Owen is a commercial pilot with 30 years experience and also an Australian Aviation contributor.


  • Great work here by Owen.

  • Pontius the pilot


    In 1958 I had the honour of being instructed at Bankstown by Phil. As an ATC cadet it was “Yes Sir, no Sir”, but I wondered why this little guy with a limp climbed up onto the wing of a “Chippy” to instruct me. It was only years later I found out where the limp came from..

  • Roy Fordham


    A very momentous event, and a an extremely proud moment in history.
    The wonderful comradeship shown by the members of the Australian, and American Military, is well known and appreciated by the older generations of both Allied Countries.
    I would wish to see, and hear more of these type of sacrifices made, all those years ago, as it important for our younger generations know, and get to appreciate the sacrifices made, by earlier generations, so that they now have the luxuries enjoyed of a peaceful (relatively this is) life, they are spoiled with today.

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