By Robert Hall
The tale of the 1969 journey of Vietnam by means of the 8th Battalion of the Australian military.
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Extra info for Combat Battalion: The 8th Battalion in Vietnam
Derek Walsh of Support Company was given a range of options but he thought they were loaded against the Nasho. Allocated to the infantry, he was given the choice of joining one of three battalions, all of which were liable for service in Vietnam. ‘I chose 8RAR as I believed no-one could be so cruel as to bring a battalion home from Malaysia and then, shortly afterwards, send them to Vietnam’, he recalled. But Walsh hadn’t reckoned on the Army. And Bruce Neal felt he’d been caught in the same trap: ‘After Corps training I had a choice of four units.
Another factor may have been that the strategic nature of ‘pacification’ was not well understood. Indeed, Ewell tended to see pacification simply as ‘winning the hearts and minds of the people’. After visits to his subordinate commanders, including Major General R. A. Hay, COMAFV, and Brigadier C. M. I. Pearson, Commander 1ATF, during which he was assured that there were no ‘strings’ attached to the employment of 1ATF and that the Australian Task Force had no particular sensitivity to casualties,46 Ewell issued on 16 April 1969 a new directive to 1ATF.
They joined many Australians who also bore an emotional legacy, albeit vicariously, of World War II. One man, Private Douglas MacArthur Hazell, even carried the memory of that war in his name. Whatever their origin, whatever their myths about combat and World War II, Vietnam was to measure them against their fathers. au 92 CHANDOS STREET ST LEONARDS NSW 2065 16 152 × 230 2 A hostile environment . . A hostile environment . . By November 1969, when 8RAR arrived in Vietnam to replace 9RAR, the pattern of operations conducted by the First Australian Task Force (1ATF) was well established.