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By Robert Hall

The tale of the 1969 journey of Vietnam via the 8th Battalion of the Australian military.

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Sample text

A village security or pacification strategy had been proposed very early in the war34 but had received no support from MACV. The US Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support program, created in 1967, represented a first serious attempt at a coordinated pacification program and included efforts to improve population security through upgrading the South’s RF and PF units, reorganising and improving the civil police, reinvigorating the Chieu Hoi program and attacking the Viet Cong Infrastructure through the Phoenix program.

Ewell set body count quotas and threatened to relieve subordinate commanders if they failed to reach them. Such was the pressure on Ewell’s subordinates that many used the firepower at their disposal aggressively, sometimes recklessly, leading to the possibility of high civilian casualties. 41 Ewell’s emphasis on body count matched the US Army’s existing approach to the war and on 2 April 1969 he was rewarded with promotion to Lieutenant General and command of II FFV. Once there, Ewell applied the techniques that had served him so well in the delta.

Hamilton wharf, Brisbane. While these two unidentified C Company soldiers appear pleased at the prospect of their imminent departure for Vietnam the faces of their loved ones reflect both pride and concern. (Photo courtesy of David Rankine) confessed that after the war he was much more confused about its political complexities and inclined more towards the middle ground of politics. A few were highly politicised by their experience. ’ Others, like Tex Lyons who served in D Company, felt that one government was very much like another.

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