Last men standing did one hell of a job

On 11 January 1973 Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck issued a proclamation ending Australia’s military involvement in south Vietnam.

Australia’s combat forces had been withdrawn by the McMahon government in August 1972, all that remained was a logistics support unit at Vung Tau and a reduced Australian Army Training Team.

The first 30 members of “The Team” had originally deployed on August 3, 1962, reaching 217 members at its peak strength in November 1970.

It had been an eclectic mix of officers and senior NCO, from absolute professionals to misfits unsuited to regimental service who thrived in an operational environment.

Competition for AATTV postings was intense, seen as a form of military elitism, particularly by those whose expectations for further challenging appointments was probably limited.

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Last men standing did one hell of a job | Australian Defence History, Policy and Veterans Issues (

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  • Kenneth Taylor January 14, 2023  

    I was posted to the School of Armour at Puckapunyal after returning from S.V. They called for two volunteers to go to S.V. to work with the AATV as M113a1. drivers. I was the only one at the time who volunteered to go. But as politics interfered with the war, the troops were pulled before my time to leave.

  • Ian Henderson January 14, 2023  

    Some of the dates quoted in the article are incorrect. In June 1971 I carried a top secret letter to Comd AFV. The official announcement occurred a few months later. In October 1971 I commanded the last soft convoy out of Nui Dat leaving the base to 4 Bn RAR and support elements. After a few days R&R in Singapore I returned to command detatchment 30 Tml Sqn. HQ 1ALSG was renamed HQ 1 ATF and on its withdrawal from Nui Dat 4 RAR returned home leaving D Coy as our protection. With minimal training time all of D Coy spent time as stevedores do to the unavailability Australian reinforcements.
    Originally we were to leave Vung Tau by 31 March 1972 but by Xmas 1971 we reckoned we could do it by the end of February 1972.
    Close to midnight 29 February 1972 I farewelled the last departures from the wharf and after spending the night in Vungers.
    I was choppered to Saigon. I then flew in a RNZAF “Bristol Frightener” (forty thousand rivets flying in formation) to Singapore for some more “off time” and later home to Oz.

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