While the images from the Vietnam War were the lead story in the dinner-time news, the troops in Vietnam were finding other things harder to stomach. Like the lack of support from home, at a time when they were only doing their duty, in a country with an unbearable climate, against soldiers who were proving impossible to detect, let alone neutralise. Our six feature stories include a chilling recording of an Australian helicopter under fire while attempting to pick up injured.
During the Vietnam War wounded were generally speedily evacuated by helicopter. If war movies are to be believed, scarcely has a soldier been hit before a medical evacuation helicopter appeared over the horizon.
But sometimes the reality was quite different. This recording shows how difficult medical evacuation could be
I was fortunate that I'd had more than 16 years experience as a journalist in Australia, Britain and Papua New Guinea before becoming an ABC News correspondent in south east Asia in December 1967. I was also fortunate in having had quite a bit of military experience as a school cadet, a National Serviceman, as an NCO in the Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles, and as a Reserve officer at PNG Command Headquarters. Many of my fellow correspondents, including a few Australians, were far less experienced in journalism - and some had no military training whatsoever.
This is to inform you that as of …………………………. 196 , a certain mudhound water-soaked and slightly crazy individual known as …………….. is leaving our little City of ………………… securely nestled among the jungles and rice paddies, located in the Southern part of a semi-tropic country in the Far East known as The Republic of Vietnam.
The withdrawal of forces from Vietnam was drawing to a conclusion in April 1975 when the Australian Government made a decision to evacuate some war orphans from the vicinity of Saigon before they could fall into the path of the advancing North Vietnamese troops.
When Private Guy Watkins was wounded in Vietnam, the local paper in Tasmania reported he had been shot by a Viet Cong.
But in a letter to his father written some days after the incident, it turns out Guy Watkins was hit by "friendly fire".