Tour of Duty '71

Index Page
A Combat Mission
Baptism of Fire
Battle of Long Kahn
Facts And Trivia
History Of The Vietnam War
My Poems
My Aftermath

Facts and Trivia

  • 8,744,000 American service personnel served in Vietnam between August 1964 - January 1973.
  • 50,000 Australian sevice personnel served in Vietnam between 1965 - 1972.
  • The Vietnam war was second only to World War II in numbers of personnel involved.
  • The average age of US and Australian combat soldiers was 20. (26 in WWII)
  • An estimated 1,000,000 US youths committed draft (conscription) offences.
  • 58,000 US soldiers died in Vietnam.
  • 314,000 US soldiers were wounded. (153,000 seriously)
  • 10,000 US soldiers lost at least one limb. (more than all those in WWII and Korea)
  • 2,025 US soldiers are still MIA. (Missing in Action)
  • 185,000 South Vietnamese soldiers were killed.
  • 500,000 South Vietnamese soldiers were wounded.
  • 4,407 South Korean soldiers were killed.
  • 500 Australian soldiers were killed.
  • 6 Australian Soldiers are still MIA.
  • 350 Thai soldiers were killed.
  • 925,000 VietCong were killed.
  • 415,000 civilians were killed.
  • 950,000 civilians were wounded.
  • On 15 November 1969, 250,000 war protestors demonstrated in Washington against the Vietnam war.
  • During 1970 there were more than 200 "fragging" incidents amongst US troops. (Killing unpopular officers with handgrenades).
  • In 1971 the Pentagon estimated that 30% of all US troops had tried or were using opium or heroin.
  • 4,865 US helicopters were lost. ($250,000 each)
  • 3,720 other aicraft were lost.
  • 8,000,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. (4 times the WWII amount)
  • An estimated $600,000,000 damage was caused to North Vietnam, at a cost to America of $6 Billion.
  • Russia and Red China provided an estimated $3 Billion in support to North Vietnam.
  • Nearly ALL cities and towns in North Vietnam were subjected to air attacks.
  • 12 North Vietnamese provincial towns and 51 district capitals were completely destroyed.
  • 4,000 North Vietnamese villages were bombed and 30 completely destroyed out of a total of 5,788.
  • 5,000,000 square metres of housing space in North Vietnam's urban areas was completely destroyed.
  • 40,000 head of cattle were destroyed in North Vietnam.
  • 3,000 schools and 350 hospitals were hit during the bombings of North Vietnam. (10 hospitals totally destroyed)
  • 2,000,000 hectares of forest were destroyed in South Vietnam.
  • 60% of South Vietnam's rubber plantations were destroyed.
  • 72,000,000 litres of highly toxic Agent Orange, Agent White and Agent Blue were sprayed on 16% of South Vietnam's land area.
What we weren't told!
  • America supported Ho Chi minh against the Japanese in WWII
  • After WWII British forces handed the country back to the French with the consent of the US.
  • Over 90,000 French troops died during the French occupation of Vietnam.
  • In 1954 America agreed to free elections in Vietnam, but reneged when it was found that Ho Chi Minh would win.
  • America installed an oppressive and corrupt leader (Diem) in South Vietnam.
  • The Australian Menzies government arranged for Australia to send troops by asking the South Vietnamese government to request it.
  • Because it was a guerilla war, many innocent women and children were being maimed and killed by napalm, anti-personnel mines and defoliants.

An Australian Infantry Battalion

Battalion HQ Group5 officers 31 other ranks
Rifle Companies
A Company5 officers 118 other ranks
B Company5 officers 118 other ranks
C Company5 officers 118 other ranks
D Company5 officers 118 other ranks
Support Company
Support Company HQ1 officer 12 other ranks
Signals Platoon1 officer 39 other ranks
Assault Pioneer Platoon1 officer 31 other ranks
Mortar Platoon2 officers 31 other ranks
Anti-Tank Platoon1 officer 31 other ranks
Surveillance Platoon1 officer 14 other ranks
Administration Company
Admin Company HQ1 officer 6 other ranks
Medical Platoon1 officer 38 other ranks
Quartermaster Platoon3 officers 42 other ranks
Total Battalion37 officers 755 other ranks
Each Rifle Company
Company HQ2 officers 13 other ranks
Support Section6 other ranks
3 x Platoons1 officer 33 other ranks
Each platoon
3 Rifle Sections of 10 other ranks

Cheap Charlie!

There was a song that was supposed to have been made up by the bargirls that reflected what they thought of Australians. (We were usually tight fisted with money as compared to the Americans).
It's sung to the tune of "Knick, knack paddywack" or "This old man".

Uc Dai Loi means Australian . . Saigon Tea was coloured water bought for the bargirls . . Charlie is pronounced char-lee . . Cheap Charlie means unwilling to spend money . . MPC was Military Payment Certificates which replaced American dollars . . "go crook on me" is Australian slang for telling her off ( in a not so nice way) . .P stood for piastre which was local money . . Mamma-san was a female brothel owner . . Baby san means baby.

Uc Dai Loi, cheap charlie
He no buy me Saigon Tea
Saigon Tea cost many, many pee
Uc dia Loi he cheap charlie

Uc-Dai-Loi, Cheap Charlie,
He no give me MPC,
MPC cost many, many P,
Uc-Dai-Loi he Cheap Charlie

Uc-Dai-Loi, Cheap Charlie,
He no go to bed with me,
For it cost him many, many P,
Uc-Dai-Loi he Cheap Charlie,

Uc-Dai-Loi, Cheap Charlie,
Make me give him one for free,
Mamma-san go crook on me,
Uc-Dai-Loi he Cheap Charlie,

Uc-Dai-Loi, Cheap Charlie,
He give baby-san to me,
Baby-san cost many, many P,
Uc-Dai-Loi he Cheap Charlie,

Uc-Dai-Loi, Cheap Charlie,
He go home across the sea,
He leave baby san with me
Uc-Dai-Loi he Cheap Charlie


I ended up keeping a couple of South Vietnamese notes, one for 500 dong and one for 200 dong. I also kept some of the MPC (Military Payment Currency) that was used within the allied bases. And the answer is YES! you could actually buy stuff for 5, 10 or 25 cents.
I can't remember the exchange rate for any of the currencies.

Cards issued to every Australian soldier when arriving in Vietnam.


We as a military force and as individuals, are in this country to help the Vietnamese Goverment and People to win their long and courageous fight against the Communists. The product of victory is a democratic State with stable governent and contented people. The Communists will use any weapon to discredit the Government and countries, like ours, in the eyes of the Vietnamese people. Don't let your behaviour be a propaganda weapon which helps in any way to destroy Vietnam. Here are nine simple rules for conduct whilst in Vietnam.
DISTRIBUTION -- 1 to each member of the Australian Army Forces VIET NAM.


  1. Remember we are here only to help; we make no demands and seek no special treatment.
  2. Try to understand the people, their way of life; customs and laws.
  3. Learn the simple greetings of the Vietnamese language and use them frequently.
  4. Treat friendly people, particularly women with respect and courtesy.
  5. Don't attract attention by rude behaviour or larrickinism.
  6. Avoid separating us from the Vietnamese by a display of great wealth or privilege.
  7. Make friends among the soldiers and people of Vietnam.
  8. Remember decency and honesty are the sign of a man and a soldier; bad manners are the sign of a fool.
  9. Above all remember you are an Australian, by your actions our country is judged. Set an example of sincerity and fair play in all your dealings with Vietnamese and with other people who are assisting them.


As a member of the Australian Army in Vietnam you are to comply with the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention of 1949 to which your country adheres.
  1. Disarm your prisoner.
  2. Immediately search him thoroughly.
  3. Require him to be silent.
  4. Segregate him from other prisoners.
  5. Guard him carefully.
  6. Take him to the place designated by your commander.
  1. Mistreat your prisoner.
  2. Humiliate or degrade him.
  3. Take any of his personal effects which do not have any significant military value.
  4. Refuse him medical treatment if required and available.
  1. Handle him firmly, properly and humanely.
  2. Take him quickly to a secure area.
  3. Mistreatment of any captive is a criminal offence. every soldier is personally responsible for the enemy in his hands.
  4. Treat the sick or wounded captive as best you can. All persons in your hands, whether civilian or battle captives must be protected against violence, insults, curiosity and reprisals of any kind.

Movies about the War

Absolute total fantasy!
(I'd suggest reading the original book by David Morrell, It's much more realistic and a hell of a lot more believable).

The Green Berets (1968)
Complete and total American propaganda. Pathetic!

The Deerhunter (1978)
Interesting, but not very accurate.

Coming Home (1978)
Excellent human interest story dealing more with the personal aftermath of war.

The Boys in Company C (1978)
Just another of the war movies to cash in on the Vietnam war.

Apocalypse Now (1979)
A very depressing and morose look through the eyes of a hollywood film-maker of what he thought of the Vietnam War. Form your own opinion.

The Odd Angry Shot (1979)
By far, the best and most accurate movie I have seen showing what it was really like. A trifle melodramatic, but very realistic.

The Killing Fields (1984)
A study of the impact of the Khmer Rouge upon Kampuchean society. Fascinating.

Platoon (1986)
A reasonably good movie about the experiences of a young infantryman in Vietnam.

Missing In Action 1,2 and 3 (1984 onwards)
Chuck Norris's pathetic excuses for war movies. Don't even waste your time

Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Thought of as one of the best anti-war movies ever made. Violent and thought provoking.

Hamburger Hill (1987)
Based on an actual fight, but just another shoot'em up movie. Could be any war.

Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
Based on the story of a radio announcer in Vietnam. A look at the moral and personnal issues in war

The Hanoi Hilton (1987)
The name of the prisoner of war camps in North Vietnam. Gives an insight into what it was like for the US P.O.W's. Some were there for 8 years!

Bat 21 (1988)
A 53 year old Air-Force Colonel is rescued after being shot down behind enemy lines. Good human interest story, but could be any war.

Casualties of War (1989)
A graphic movie that questions the morality of war. Concerns the rape of an innocent village girl by a young soldiers superior and comrades.

Unknown Images:The Vietnam war
An excellent 3 part series. Produced from 20,000 de-classified reels of film taken by US military photographers. This is the most shocking and damning evidence of what it was really like.

Air America (1990)
A whimsical look at the CIA's involvement in subversive activities during the Vietnam War.

Sword of Honour
An excellent mini-series dealing with the impact of the Vietnam war in Australia and the experiences of a career soldier in Vietnam.

Born on the Fourth of July (1990)
A biographical account of one man who was incapacitated in the war. Poses the question of why? A very thought provoking movie.

Heaven and Earth (1993)
Oliver Stone's story of an American soldier and a Vietnamese woman in love.

Forrest Gump (1994)
The most unusual, but enjoyable movie you'll ever see about the Vietnam war.