Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force Part V


Royal Australian Navy (RAN)  

The first naval contingent active in Vietnam was Clearance Diving Team 3 which was deployed in February 1967. The long coast of Vietnam was a perfect area for the placement of mines and this 6-man team's first mission was in connection with the Inshore Undersea Warfare Group 1 stationed at Cam Ranh Bay. The team operated in Vung Tau where it was assigned to assist with harbor defense, EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), harbor patrols and port command during Operation Stabledoor (1967-1970). Often CDT3 also helped with clearing debris and recovering enemy ammunition in the rivers.
PBR ( Patrol Boat River) Australian and South
Vietnam naval personnel
Photo Credit: Tony Ey

The largest RAN contribution to the Vietnam War was the deployment of Australian Adams Class guided missile destroyers to Vietnam. There were three ships in this group, HMAS Brisbane, HMAS Perth,  HMAS Vendetta, and HMS Hobart. All but Brisbane- which did 2 tours- were active in 3 tours. This destroyer group was attached to the US 7th Fleet at Subic Bay, Philippines in 1967 and rotated until 1971.

Royal Australian Navy
Destroyer Group
(l-r), Brisbane, Hobart, Perth.

The aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney which had been converted to a troop/supply ship was nicknamed  the "Vung Tau Ferry".

There were also helicopters and pilots sent by the RAN 
in support of the US 135th Aviation Company at Vung Tau and RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam (RANFHV) was used for troop insertion and armed support. Finally, the RAN supplied pilots as part of the No. 9 Squadron RAAF at Nui Dat.

2,800 RAN personnel served during the war in Vietnam. A combined total of 8 officers and sailors lost their lives while 50 were reported injured. We remember them and all who served.

Vietnam Veterans of Australia/RAN (link)


The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) had been operating in Vietnam mainly as supply and assistance to 1RAR via the elements of No. 35 Squadron (Transport) since 1964. Flying the fixed wing Caribou Aircraft (link)

No. 9 Squadron (Helicopters) were deployed for support, troop movement and medevac operations. 

It was, in April 1967, when 8 of ten Canberra Bombers with No. 2 Squadron arrived in Vietnam. 300 RAAF personnel were under the command of USAF 35th Tactical Fighter Wing.

Close Up Canberra Bomber A84-238 RAAF

The full complement of No. 2 Squadron RAAF at Phan Rang
just before returning to Oz on 4 June 1971

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 RAAF personnel were deployed at the height of Australian involvement in the Vietnam War- all from three squadrons. The Canberra Bomber squadron was the first to head home in March 1971 followed by the rest in August. Six RAAF personnel were killed in action, 8 died non-combat related deaths while 30 were wounded in action and 30 suffered non-combat injuries.

A84-238 Canberra Bomber/RAAF

Welcome Home members of RAAF and RAN Vietnam
Rest in Peace to all who fell.
We remember.


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