Photos Aussies and Kiwi's in Vietnam


Mi Lieutenant
MI.Net Member
Dec 19, 2004
I know that the Aussie SAS saw action in Vietnam, does anyone know other other Aussie units were there?
There is talk in some military history circles that the British SAS also saw action.
Found this :cool:

3 SAS Squadron arrived in Vietnam in April 1966 and thereafter the three SAS sabre squadrons rotated yearly until the withdrawal of 2 SAS Squadron in October 1971. (4 SAS Squadron, raised in 1965, was disbanded to provide reinforcements for the other three squadrons soon afterwards. On 31 August 1966, approval was given for SAS Regiment's new establishment of three sabre squadrons, a base squadron and a signals squadron.) As with the ANZAC battalions, 1 and 2 SAS Squadrons had a New Zealand troop integrated with them in Vietnam. The traditional role of the SAS was long range reconnaissance patrols (LRRP), acting as the ears and eyes of the task force with deep penetration into the enemy's sanctuaries to collect such battle intelligence as enemy unit identifications, strengths and capabilities, movements and intentions. Sometimes "snatch" patrols were mounted with the intention of capturing a prisoner for interrogation. Operating in four and five man patrols, the intention was to see without being seen but they frequently clashed with the enemy and had to fight their way out. Many of their extractions were "hard", carried out under fire. Soon they were being used for offensive purposes, setting ambushes and harassing the enemy in his base areas. 1 ATE commander, Brig Hughes (October 1967 to October 1968) explained,

"The kill rate achieved by the SAS was very gratifying... I did not view the SAS as an intelligence gathering organisation, rather as a reaction force to intelligence gathered by other means".

Based on top of the Nui Dat feature which became known as "SAS Hill", the SAS Squadrons built up a formidable reputation, both in providing accurate information and accumulating an impressive list of kills. SAS personnel also served with distinction with AATTV throughout the period it served in Vietnam, the most notable perhaps being Warrant Officer Ray Simpson VC, DCM. The majority of SAS with A1TV worked within the US 5th Special Forces sphere with Mobile Strike Forces or with Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRU). With the reversion of AATTV to the training role, SAS personnel instructed with the LRRP wing at the JWTC in Phuoc Tuy Province.
During the period of just over five years, some 580 SAS Soldiers served in Vietnam. They conducted 1175 patrols (not including 130 by the NZ SAS) the majority being reconnaissance, recce-ambush and ambush patrols. Their service in Vietnam reinforced their reputation as an elite unit of the Australian Army.
Matzos -
The AATTV - Aussies in Viet Nam - have a great website, just search on AATTV.

We CA'd some Yards operating as recon on the fringes of the Korean AO south of Nha Trang who had Aussie advisors.

I never came in contacts with the Aussies. Their AOs, for the most part, was further south, in III and IV Corps, from where I served. However, they were always held in the highest regard by American soldiers whenever spoken of. From what I could gather, some very tough, professional, soldiers.
Australia's Vietnam War

A lot of people outside of Australia, wouldn't know that US government believed that the Australia was not needed in SVN.
The prime Minister at the time begged the US government to allow a small Australian Army training team to go.

It wasn't till 1965 when there was a sharp increase in Australia's involvement. The R.A.N re-commissioned HMAS SYDNEY and converted it to a fast(?) transport vessel.

My involvement was started in Nov 1969 as a 17 year old seaman aboard HMAS DUCHESS (ex HMS) Daring Glass Destroyer. We escorted HMAS SYDNEY into SVN waters and stayed in board of SYDNEY and Cape St. Jaques until SYDNEY had unloaded the fresh troops and taken on-board the relieved troops. We stayed for about 4hrs before sailing. We had been at defence watches from 2359 and fell out from watches at about 1400.

HMAS SYDNEY sailed returning to Australia and DUCHESS sailed onto Singapore.

Australia at that time and until 1971 were with the Far East Strategic Force and we were required to have a ship in the far East Asian waters.

I did two escort and FESR periods, 1969-70 and 1971. Each deployment was for 6 months.
During the Vietnam war Australian troops became increasingly involved. By 1965 there were 100 Australians working with the US advisory team and when the first US combat troops arrived Australia committed 1,100 troops, working in the counter insurgency role. By 1966 this when up to 4,500. All Australian troops were withdrawn by June 1973.

During the war, 4 VC's were awarded to Australian troops


Major P J Badcoe


WOII K A Wheatley


WOII R S Simpson


WOII K Payne

All were members of 'The Team' - The Australian Army Training Team - the first and the last unit serving in Vietnam.

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Many Aussies in Phu Bai

I met and Drank some suds with a few Aussies in Phu Bai.
They were and ARE Great Guys. Straight forward Gung Ho!
1968 Jan TET was the time I spent in Phu Bai.
I would occasionally see RAAF helicopters at the Quang Tri MACV compound (70-71) when I came in from Gio Linh. Don't know much about 'em tho.
I would occasionally see RAAF helicopters at the Quang Tri MACV compound (70-71) when I came in from Gio Linh. Don't know much about 'em tho.

I'm pretty sure that there were elements of the AATV going in and out of Quang Tri in the mid to late 60s; team advisers could well have been in Quang Tri as late as 70-71 and probably were, though I'm not as sure about this. If they were, these RAAF helicopters seen may have been there in support of whatever AATV personnel were left in Quang Tri at that time.
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I flew Dustoff out of Quang Tri and many of the ARVN battalions had Australian advisors--I remember Alfie Gee, and Snowy. Also remember flying out to the Melbourne (??) an Aussie ship off the coast, to deliver their mail via our rescue hoist. The deal-clincher was that when the hoist came back up, it had a couple of cases of Foster's or XXXX.

The Aussies also made a modification to the standard medical evacuation request--added a line. If line 10 (??) or the last line was "Yes" it meant they were at the pickup site of the patient, and we had to go to the club, get a beer and two cokes, put it in a plastic bag with ice, and when we landed in the LZ, the left-seat pilot just held it out the side window. All you would see would be a green streak out of the bush, grab the bag, and back into the bush. Woe be to the pilot that didn't comply--unless he could prove he received the mission while airborne and didn't have the opportunity to comply.

Another rule they invoked on me several times--"Dustoff 707, the LZ is hot and you're not coming in until we get it settled down a bit." They would tell you face-to-face that "they aren't worth it" (the ARVNS).

They also had this neat habit of carrying around a template of a "skippy" or a kangaroo--about 10" long, and a can of the yellow anti-corrosion paint we used on our birds. Those yellow skippies appeared on many if not all of our aircraft, which drove my commander nuts-o. solaf
I was attached to MACV in Dong Ha/Gio LInh in 1970/71 & remember the yellow roos on the Hueys when I happened to get back to Quang Tri. Used to see a bird on the pad at the MACV compound outside the Citadel.
Hollis--I was in QT from Jun 70-Mar 71. The unit was headquartered in Phu Bai, but our AO was from Camp Evans north to the DMZ and west to the border.

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