Australian officer served with 9th Bn Royal Australian Regt in Vietnam, 1968-1969
Background in Sydney, Australia, 1946-1964: family; education. Aspects of training with Royal Military College, Duntroon, Canberra, 1964-1968: nature of course; awareness of prospect of active service; character of training; choosing posting to infantry. Posting to 9 Royal Australian Regt at Woodside, Australia, 1/1968; formation and character of battalion; graded training for service in Vietnam; jungle training; compiling information on troops prior to deployment. Recollections of operations as officer with 9th Bn Royal Australian Regt in Vietnam, 1968-1969: flight to and arrival in Saigon; flight to Nui Dat; uniform and equipment worn; ammunition carried; weight of large pack carried; weapon carried. REEL 2 Continues: opinion of M16 automatic rifles; other weapons carried; arrival at Nui Dat, 10/1968; character of Nui Dat base and patrols launched from it; description of first patrol; domino theory justification for Australian presence in Vietnam; attitude to service in Vietnam; company officers; cordon and search operation on village; company area deployments; discovery of track used by Viet Cong in jungle and subsequent conduct of ambush, 12/1968. REEL 3 Continues: opinion of skills of own troops during ambush; platoon contacts with Viet Cong, 12/1968; nature of patrolling in jungle; contrast in Australian and American conduct of patrols; character of operations during North Vietnamese Tet offensive, 1/1969-2/1969; wounding of company commander; discovery of buried rockets; plan for C Coy to carry out reconnaissance of North Vietnamese Army positions; contacts with North Vietnamese Army in bunker positions; navigation in jungle; C Company nickname. REEL 4 Continues: threat of scorpions, ants and tigers in jungle; malaria precautions; company morale; water supply and ration; evacuation of casualties; incident of Vietnamese firing on helicopter; method of evacuating casualties by helicopter; origins of Vietnam War; nature of American involvement in Vietnam. REEL 5 Continues: opinion of American military training; opinion of American reliance on firepower; background to attacks on Vietnamese bunker defended camps; question of Vietnam War being mainly a company based war; account of leading attack on Vietnamese positions. REEL 6 Continues: account of leading attack on Vietnamese positions; aftermath of attack and withdrawal of Vietnamese forces; character of his platoon; becoming second in command of company, 5/1969; role training South Vietnamese battalion; opinion of South Vietnamese army personnel; opinion of South Vietnamese shooting and jungle skills. REEL 7 Continues: poor performance of South Vietnamese troops; opinion of South Vietnamese army personnel; story of replacement company commander who led lead 7 Platoon into ambush; taking command after platoon commander was wounded; further discussion of incident and reasons for it occurring. REEL 8 Continues: further discussion of incident with descriptions of contacts with North Vietnamese forces; story of obtaining money from Viet Cong paymaster and how it was exchanged to go into company funds; role as company commander in last months in Vietnam. Aspects of period as officer with Australian Army in Australia, Malaya, GB and Germany, 1969-1984: postings on return to Australia including role as ADC to Governor General of Australia; duties in Australia and Malaya; staff jobs; on exchange to British Army of the Rhine in Germany; period as cadet at Royal Military College at Shrivenham and Army Staff College, Camberley; return to Australia, 1979; promotion to Lieutenant Colonel; appointment as Equerry to Her Majesty the Queen, 1982. REEL 9 Continues: relations with Royal Household; thanks received by Queen and Duke of Edinburgh after completion of duties; reasons for resigning commission, 1983. Reflectiions on military service: attitude towards military service in Vietnam and lessons learnt from it; attitude towards Australian politicians and their involvement in conflicts; question of psychological effects of war on troops he served with and personal attitude; memories of period as Equerry to Her Majesty the Queen, 1982; role of company medical personnel in Vietnam. REEL 10 Continues: medic who crawled forward during engagement and was recommended for Military Medal.