Sunday, November 24, 2013

Australia and New Zealand In For the Long Haul Part II


By June 1966 two infantry battalions were set to serve under 1ATF (First Australian Task Force)- they were 5/6RAR (5th and 6th Royal Australian Regiment). The area under their command would be in Phuoc Tuy Province, a wealthy coastal area with an historically active agricultural and coastal economy and, in spite of its relationship with the Diem heirarchy and the Catholic Church, a strong base for Viet Cong activities. The province was situated within the III Corps Tactical Zone. Due to all of these factors, the area was considered to be a good match for the skills and abilities of Aussie forces. The landscape was not much different from what these troops had encountered in Borneo and Malaysia. There was excellent air and sea access and a secured evacuation route.The port of Vung Tau was a critical supply staging area on Route 15 on the way to Saigon and Bien Hoa. Overall this province was critical to the well-being of the Republic of South Vietnam. Everyone wanted a piece of it.
Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam, November 1966
6RAR troops following APC during "Operation Ingham"-
a "search and destroy" mission".
AWM PO 1404.028

The exact locale for the Task Force would be Nui Dat situated near Route 2 heading north through the center of the province. This positioning put something of a choke hold on the enemy operating in that area. Included in the 4,500 strong Task Force would be artillery- some from New Zealand. Link   All was commanded by General O.D. Jackson whose center was Vung Tau. Active here was the 176 Air Dispatch Co, 2 Field Ambulance, 33 Dental Unit, 2 Composite Ordnance Depot and the 101 Field Workshop of Australian and Electrical Engineers. Finally, there would be No. 9 Helicopter Squadron Link and since 1964 the No. 35 Transport Squadron RAAF had been stationed in Vung Tau.
No 9 RAAF Badge

 New Zealand Artillery Badge
Australia and New Zealand
were now involved in the war
and would see thousands of their citizens fight and die in the jungles of Vietnam.

We welcome home all of those who served. As we continue this wee remembrance to young men and women who risked their lives, often not knowing exactly why, we hope that those of you who care to share your photos, memories or what-have-you will do so. You are welcome to post comments and remarks Anonymously if you wish, either on our Facebook page or here in the comments section. We certainly do not wish to put undue pressure on anyone to feel free to speak out and up, but we always request consideration for your fellows. Comments are monitored prior to publishing by adminstrators. Remember: Think twice and post once! Cheers. There's more to come. We will plow through the various years and as many actions as we can; meanwhile, we will also be spotlighting the medical corps- nurses and doctors- who cared for the wounded.

Attributions: Many thanks to the Australian War Memorial website for photographs.

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