Vietnam War

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    Australia in Vietnam

  • 03 August 1962The first members of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) arrive in South Vietnam.

    Australia Enters the Vietnam War
  • First Australian To die in Vietnam

    Advisor, Sergeant William Hacking becomes the first Australian to die in Vietnam when his weapon accidentally discharges after being caught in vegetation.
  • minister of defence announces AATV will be increased

    The Minister for Defence (Hon. Shane Partridge) announces the AATTV will be increased to 83 advisers with expanded role.
  • First Australian to die from Enemy Action

    Warrant Officer Class 2, Kevin Conway becomes the first Australian to die as a result of enemy action in South Vietnam.
  • PM introduces National Service

    The Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Menzies) announces introduction of national service to increase the army’s strength from 22,750 to 37,500. Opposition to the war in Vietnam is not accepted as a reason for exemption.
  • Australian Goverment Responds to request from the US president and south vietnam Prime Minister

    Australian Government, responding to requests from the US President and South Vietnam Prime Minister for 200 additional advisers, offers to send ground troops to South Vietnam.
  • Advance party from 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR), departs for South Vietnam, for service with the US 173rd Airborne Division.

  • The Prime Minister announces the dispatch of an infantry battalion to South Vietnam

    The Prime Minister announces the dispatch of an infantry battalion to South Vietnam, with an armoured personnel carrier (APC) troop, a signals troop and a logistic support company.
  • HMAS Sydney arrives at Vung Tau

    HMAS Sydney arrives at Vung Tau, South Vietnam, carrying the bulk of the Australian force.
  • First national service intake begins recruit training.

  • Australian Government approves increase of Australian forces to a battalion group

    Australian Government approves increase of Australian forces to a battalion group, supported by an artillery, additional APCs, engineers, army helicopters, light aircraft and more logistic support.
  • Australian Solder Never Left his Mate in Vietnam

    WO2 Kevin "Dasher" Wheatley refuses to leave his mate, WO2 Bob Swanston, and is killed. His actions earned him Australia’s highest honour, the Victoria Cross.
  • Harold Holt succeeds Menzies as Prime Minister.

  • Holt announces the Australian commitment in South Vietnam will be Increased

    Holt announces the Australian commitment in South Vietnam will be Increased to a 4350-man task force, and will include conscripts. The 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) will include two infantry battalions, a Special Air Service squadron, combat and support logistic units and eight RAAF Iroquois helicopters (9 SQN).The Task Force will be supported by 1 Australian Logistic Support Group (1 ALSG) to be established at Vung Tau. For the first time, national servicemen will be sent to South Vietnam.
  • 5 RAR deploys by helicopter from 1ATF concentration area at Vung Tau

    5 RAR deploys by helicopter from 1ATF concentration area at Vung Tau to secure the Task Force area at Nui Dat. Private Errol Noack becomes the first national serviceman and member of 1ATF to die from enemy action.
  • Concentration of 1ATF at Nui Dat is completed.

  • The Battle of Long Tan

    D Company, 6 RAR, strength of 108 men, battles North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) forces estimated at between 1500 and 2500 until relieved by A Company, carried in by armoured personnel carriers of 3 Troop, 1 APC Squadron. The enemy leaves 245 bodies on the battlefield while 17 Australian infantrymen and one APC crewman are killed. The Company earns the US Presidential Citation.
  • Major Peter Badcoe, AATTV, is killed in action

    Major Peter Badcoe, AATTV, is killed in action leading two companies of Vietnamese regional forces. For his outstanding heroism in this and two previous actions, he will be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
  • Prime Minister Holt Missing

    Prime Minister Harold Holt missing, presumed drowned off Portsea in Victoria. His body is never recovered.
  • John Grey Gorton sworn in as Prime Minister.

  • Communist Forces in South Vietnam launch what becomes known as the tet offensives

    Communist forces in South Vietnam launch what becomes known as the Tet Offensive, with concentrated attacks against every major city and regional centre. Although Tet costs the Communists 45-50,000 troops, it sows serious doubt in the minds of the Australian and American people and leads to major changes in government policy towards the conflict in South Vietnam.
  • Tet comes to Baria, the capital of Phuoc Tuy province.

    Tet comes to Baria, the capital of Phuoc Tuy province. A Company of 3 RAR and a troop of APCs fight a savage 24-hour battle to clear the town.
  • Prime Minister Gorton indicates that Australia will not increase its commitment to Vietnam.

  • WO2 Ray Simpson displays outstanding heroism and disregard for personal safety in two firefights with enemy forces.

    Serving as a company commander with a Vietnamese mobile strike force, WO2 Ray Simpson displays outstanding heroism and disregard for personal safety in two firefights with enemy forces. His actions will make him the third member of the AATTV to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
  • The Battle of Coral & Balmoral

    The Battle for Fire Support Base (FSB) Coral begins with an enemy attack that overruns 1 RAR Mortar Platoon and captures one of 102 Field Battery’s gun pits. The base is cleared with the help of helicopter gunships. After a second attack on May 15, Australian casualties around Coral stand at 15 killed and 56 wounded while enemy losses are estimated to exceed 100 dead.
  • Fourth Member of AATTV awarded the victorian cross

    WO2 Keith Payne, also a company commander with a mobile strike force, earns the AATTV’s fourth Victoria Cross.
  • The Battle of Binh Bah

    Two companies from 5 RAR, supported by APC and Tank troops and Australian helicopter gunships, engage in house-to-house fighting to clear the town of a strong force of NVA regulars. The fighting destroys much of the town and costs the NVA more than 100 dead for the loss of one Australian.
  • Ho Chi Minh dies in Hanoi, aged 79.

  • widthdrawral of 25,000 Us Troops

    Following the withdrawal of 25,000 US troops from South Vietnam, and plans by the US Government to withdraw another 50,000, the Prime Minister (Sir John Gorton) advises any further substantial reductions will include Australian forces.
  • Anti-Vietnam War Protest in australai

    Anti-Vietnam War protesters stage the first moratorium marches in Australian cities (70,000 in Melbourne, and about 120,000 throughout Australia).
  • 8 RAR returns to Australia

    8 RAR returns to Australia at the end of its 12 month tour in South Vietnam. It is the first 1ATF unit not to be replaced.
  • Prime Minister McMahon announces further cuts in Australian forces in South Vietnam,

    Prime Minister McMahon announces further cuts in Australian forces in South Vietnam, including withdrawal of the tank squadron, RAAF Canberra bomber squadron and some Caribou transport aircraft.
  • The Prime Minister announces the bulk of Australian forces in South Vietnam are to be withdrawn

    The Prime Minister announces the bulk of Australian forces in South Vietnam are to be withdrawn, leaving only a modified training team. The period of national service is reduced from two years to 18 months.
  • The last Australian logistic units leave Vung Tau

    The last Australian logistic units leave Vung Tau and Australia’s commitment in South Vietnam returns to a training role with the 150-man Australian Assistance Group, Vietnam (AAAGV) and the AATTV.
  • Conscription Ends

    Conscription ends, draft resisters are released from jail and pending prosecutions for draft resistance are dropped.
  • Australia Exits Vietnam

    Australia’s military commitment in South Vietnam ends, although controversy about the precise end date of the war continues.