They were an extraordinary unit of the Army that were awarded all four VCs of the Vietnam War - and why were they in Seymour?CHALPAT SONTI March 19, 2014 11:06am
Members of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam Association Victoria reflect on their comrades at the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk.
Veterans of Australia’s most highly decorated unit of the Vietnam War visited Seymour at the weekend.
A 30-man group of Army instructors, the Australian Army Training Team, first went to South Vietnam in 1962 to help train the locals. The team eventually grew to more than 200 men in Vietnam each year and finished the war with all four Victoria Crosses earned in the conflict, as well as many other imperial and foreign awards.
Team veterans from Victoria conducted a brief service at the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk on Saturday and later dined with Mitchell Shire Council Mayor Rodney Parker at the Seymour Club.
Branch secretary Bruce Davies said about 500 of the 996 Australians who served in the team were still alive, though it should be noted they were older than the average soldier at the time.
The branch had planned the service for about six or seven months, and had liaised with Carolynne Burgess — who has done such a great job with the information for the panels on the digiglass wall — to make it a reality.
They were familiar with the area — the armoured corps spent most of its time at Puckapunyal — and praised what has become Seymour’s biggest tourist attraction.
‘‘It’s world-class,’’ branch president Barrie Wade said.
‘‘It’s a real credit to the community and the committee who worked so hard.’’
Although the AATTV’s initial role was restricted to training only, its duties officially expanded in 1964 to include a more active participation in combat with South Vietnamese units.
The team operated principally in the northern provinces of South Vietnam, known as I Corps, until 1968 when a small group was established in the Mekong Delta, south of Saigon. Some members served with the US Special Forces and CIA-sponsored programs.
Others were stationed in lonely outposts with Regional and Popular Force troops.
From being bombarded by North Vietnamese artillery to slogging through waterlogged paddy fields of the Delta or fighting in the jungles of the Central Highlands, the experiences of the men are as diverse as were their locations around the country.
Their stories were many, from the mundane to the terror of being surrounded and fighting for survival.
The team consisted of officers and warrant officers until 1970 when corporals were added to allow the unit to provide mobile assistance teams in Phuoc Tuy Province an area to the southeast of Saigon.
At the end of 1971, following the withdrawal of the Australian Task Force, the entire AATTV was collected into the emptying allied spaces of Phuoc Tuy to assist the Vietnamese and to train Cambodians.
The unit was withdrawn in December 1972, as the final elements of this proud unit were ordered to leave their Vietnamese units and quit Vietnam.
Eleven New Zealanders also served with the AATTV in those 10 years.
Football nut and AFL Goulburn Murray league operations manager Simon Devine is looking forward to the challenge of carrying on the proud tradition of the Goulburn Valley Football League.
Police investigating a break and enter at a Mulwala club more than 10 years ago are renewing their appeal for public assistance by releasing an image of a person they believe has information to assist them.
Tatura’s Victory Hall is set for a big year as preparations get under way to celebrate the hall’s 90th birthday in September.
Former district resident and award-winning television producer Joanna Werner will no doubt be shopping for a glitzy gown ahead of the Emmy Awards in New York on February 20.
Rochester Secondary College school captains Dom Atley and Tim Poole have been accepted to study biomedical science in the first step towards becoming doctors.
Will it be Merrigum or Lancaster?
Fire destroys key public buildings in Seymour
Finley Henry Matheson was bestowed one of the highest Australia Day honours.
Heathcote Hostel residents were treated to a visit from Heathcote’s favourite horse, Sub Zero, as part of Australia Day celebrations.
Recent weather conditions have come as a mixed blessing for farmers, with high rainfall and humidity providing a respite for irrigators as well as difficult growing and picking conditions for fruit growers.
Darren McLoughlin only started playing croquet seven years ago.
From orchards to harvest to shelves, a new exhibition will celebrate the Goulburn Valley’s iconic fruit industry. The Photos of the Fruit Industry exhibition will run as part of the SheppARTon Festival in March and aims to share memories and history of an industry that has shaped the region.
Former Benalla footballer Tom Rockliff has been named captain of the Brisbane Lions Football Club.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.