Australian Vietnam Forces

    National Memorial

    Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial

    Located in ANZAC Parade, Canberra. Dedicated on the 3rd October 1992, to all those Australians who served, suffered and died in the Vietnam War.

    The memorial consists of three pre-stressed concrete stelae rising from a moat, the main structure of the memorial surrounds an inner space or podium tiled in black granite. T he external stelae surfaces are bush hammered concrete.  The inner surface of stele A is left off-form concrete, while the off-form concrete of the inner surface of stele B is covered by almost 2600 stainless characters inscribing typical quotations from the Australian experience of Vietnam (see below).  The inner surface of Stele C is covered in a layer of polished and photo-engraved in black granite of Australian soldiers from 7RAR returning to Nui Dat by US Army Air Cavalry from Operation Ulmarra in 1967.

    At Vampire Pad our own doctors and nurses took over - we knew we had made it.

    The enemy joined our command radio net, threw coloured smoke and almost sucked the CO into a landing.

    The RAAF dust-off pilots had no light and showed great skill in coming down.

    Phantoms and spooky were invaluable, but the helicopter gunships gave the best air support.

    Magpie 35, hit my smoke.

    More than 750,000 men turned twenty during the years of the war - a ballot, with marbles spun in a barrel, was used to help select those for conscription.

    Our family found itself divided over Vietnam.

    Then someone called out 'Contact!' and the bloke behind me swore. We hooked in there for hours, then a God-Almighty roar. Frankie kicked a mine, the day that mankind kicked the moon. God help me, he was going home in June.

    On 3 October 1987, 25,000 Vietnam veterans marched in a welcome home parade through Sydney, to the cheers of hundreds of thousands. "It was the greatest emotional outpouring witnessed in decades".

    Hobart was bracketed repeatedly by medium to large splashes.

    Nobody's got 365 and a wakey to go !

    An extreme effort was demanded from nursing staff on those occasions - over 24 hours on duty was done on most of the days mentioned.

    The NVA hugged our withdrawal and engaged the dust-off choppers.

    I don't seem to have many friends since I came home. If you weren't there - you can't understand.

    Sunray was directing the light fire team - Bushrangers - from his Possum.

    Like Chicken man - There were Charlies everywhere.

    This is Puff the Magic Dragon in your location.

    Throw smoke! - I see green - affirmative.

    Australia's last combat forces left South Vietnam yesterday on board HMAS Sydney, ending 10 years of Australian involvement in the war.

    From 1965, Army units in Vietnam consisted of about 50% National Servicemen and 50% Regular Army. About 20,000 National Servicemen served in Vietnam.

    The decision to send an Australian battalion to Vietnam is a grave one. These are inesapable obligations which fall on us because of our position, treaties and friendship. There was no alternative but to respond as we have.

    The effort required of the nursing sisters indicates their tour of duty should be reduced.

    We must learn to understand NVA bunker sign tracks: Latrines, dead branches, streams.

    Perth engaged five CD sites as primary targets, provided suppression fire and stopped a cross lot on Hon Me Island from radiating.

    The Team.

    The part played by artillery was decisive.

    As a variation, we closed the village cordon in daylight and searched next morning.

    Contact - Stand by Dust Off.

    The Australian Army was like the post-Versailles German Army - men in the ranks could have been leaders.

    For the first time in modern history, the outcome of a war was determined not on the battlefield but on the TV screen.

    More than ever before TV showed the terrible human suffering and sacrifice of war.

    What we did on the battle field in the morning, was on our living room TV screen that night.

    Big contact tonight in the Binh Ba rubber. Troops hit with RPGs. Ready Reaction Force went out in APCs.

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