Skip to main content
Learn How to Start a T-Shirt Business using RedBubble, Society6 and TeePublic - Click Here
Affiliate link - Thank you for helping to keep this site free.

All The Way - Australia's Involvement in the Vietnam War

The South Australian Government seems to have  made a point of honouring the Australian's who fought in the Vietnam war by naming crossover points of an expressway after various famous battles during the conflict. Possibly the most famous being the battle of Long Tan.

Being born at the very beginning of the 1970's it's a war most people of my generation probably know very little about. It's not like the World Wars that get taught in most schools - especially the history behind ANZAC day (which is on April 25th).

It's more like the Korean War, except without the comedy of TV shows like M.A.S.H. to popularize it in modern culture.

The most my generation really knows about the Vietnam War (unless they've actually done research) is that it was a massive failure for the U.S.A. and by default Australia. People protested it. There's was some chemical called Agent Orange that was extremely toxic to just about everyone and that many war heroes in movies claim to have "...fought in 'Nam".

There's also been a few Hollywood movies specifically about Vietnam, such as Oliver Stone's, Platoon, and probably the most famous of them all, Francis Ford Coppola's, Apocalypse Now. Neither of which give much insight as to what the war was really about since they focus of stories within the war rather than the war its self.

I'd always thought that once Western forces moved out of Vietnam that was the end of it but recently learned from an interesting documentary, Operation Babylift by Vietnamese refugee, Dai Le, that the war continued for another two years with South Vietnam eventually falling to the North.

I also learned from the same documentary (not surprisingly since this was the film's focus) that about 3000 Vietnamese Orphans towards the end of the war were airlifted out of Saigon orphanages and delivered into the arms of waiting couples in the US, Canada, Britain, Europe and Australia. It was apparently one of the biggest adoption programs ever undertaken in history (and I'd never heard of it?).

Just reading the synopsis for the documentary, before even watching it, the very idea is both shocking and confronting. On the one hand you're giving many kids a chance for a far better life than they might have had but at the cost of completely displacing them from their culture, relatives, places and people they know.

Interestingly the documentary follows the experiences of three adoptees, transported to Australia and their experiences 30 years later. One of the adoptees has a sister who stayed with her mother through out from the end of the war. 

Disappointingly the documentary misses an opportunity to contrast the lives of the two sisters other than to highlight that the one that stayed in Vietnam lived a very poverty stricken life. My question is was this sister just lucky to have survived or would her story show that perhaps the 'Babylift' was unnecessary?

I have actually digressed on this article. The reason I came to be watching Operation Babylift was that it was presented as extra material for another documentary about Australia's involvement in Vietnam called All The Way.

This particular documentary looks at how Australia came to be involved in the war (as a test of newly created alliance between the USA and Australia) and also contrasts how Australian soldiers fought the war using similar tactics to the Viet Cong with America's 'Shock and Awe' strategy of bombing and burning anything that looked even remotely hostile.

It does make the American Military look extremely ineffective in their approach to war whilst the Australians seem to have been able to hold their own and adapt, even when outnumbered dramatically, such as in the battle of Long Tan. Almost to the point where I was wondering how did the American Marines get such a reputation as a fighting force with military strategists commanding them that seem to think bigger, louder and greater numbers wins every time?

Kind of reminds me of Afghanistan and especially the Iraq war in the beginning. Almost seems like America suffers so many more casualties in war because they don't actually take the time to learn how to fight their enemy... it's just we're bigger, louder and there's more of us so we, naturally will win... kind of the mistake that the Viet Cong made at Long Tan... almost.

Haven't these people ever read the story of David and Goliath?

Anyhow, All The Way is an Australian documentary so for all I know it could be a little bias or just straight up propaganda for talking up our involvement in Vietnam. Never the less it is interesting to learn more about this war and get some real insight into what it was really like.

Especially if you can get some insight from actual soldiers - which is very rare for many reasons. However another of the documentary extras I saw was interviews with Australian Soldiers, years after they'd returned from Vietnam, and the psychological trauma they suffered as a result of being sent to Vietnam. 

Called What was the war like, Love? (I haven't been able to find a good link to it), it features a particularly moving account of one soldier who unfortunately shot a mother and child believing them to be Vietcong and realizing too late that they weren't. As he points out it's not the kind of thing you can tell people and receive understanding and sympathy for.

If you're interested to know more about Australia and the Vietnam War then there is a good website titled exactly that, Australia and the Vietnam War

Keen observers may even note a menu link on the site known as The Tet Offensive. Nothing to do with me, though I've known for a few years that Tet is actually the name of the Chinese New Year holiday period.

Comments

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET.

Popular posts from this blog

Guest Post: MY SOOPER DOOPER NEW CONSERVATORY/ART STUDIO!

Jo's new Art Studio/Conservatory. Today's guest post is by Artist, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate, Jo B Creative who writes for her blog,  Creating My Oddessey . Y ou should see our (almost) brand new conservatory, half of which is my art studio. 'Lucky me!' I think to myself. Not every creative bod can boast that. It's HUGE! Like a giant greenhouse. We first moved to our pleasant cul-de-sac house - great for raising kids - when our son, who's on the cusp of thirty-one, was four. One of the main reasons that we wanted it was that, apart from its location on the fringes of a historic market town in rural Hampshire, UK, it had a sizable conservatory looking onto the back garden. It was brown wood framed and had a corrugated transparent roof sloping down from downstairs ceiling height. On the face of it, it doesn't sound that glamourous, but we loved the idea of a conservatory. Luxury! I even liked the red brick walls which it was built against -

How to Transfer Any Line Art to Your Griptape - Easy Skateboard Griptape Art Tutorial

Dog Star Griptape Art by TET Griptape art is once again gaining popularity amongst modern skateboarders. For those of us who have tried to create our own griptape art, using paint pens, you'll know reproducing your design onto the grip, without making any mistakes is incredibly challenging. Mostly because you just have to go for it and draw the design freehand, with paint pens, directly onto the griptape. You can make the odd mistake here or there but if you get the proportions of the design completely wrong, it can be very difficult to fix. Often you just have to live with the mistake. To address the problem I've come up with an easy way anyone can transfer a line art design to their griptape, removing almost all the anxiety of getting the proportions wrong. In fact, you could do this with any line art design, even if you have no drawing skill at all. Watch the video below to see my technique in action and/or skip past the video where I highlight the basic steps to get your de

The Braille Skateboarding App - How it Changed My Mind on Switch Skating

My Profile on the Braille Skateboarding App. Braille Skateboarding launched it's new Skateboarding App worldwide on November 23rd, 2020. About a month prior to that they did a 'soft launch' via email for anyone living in Australia. I'm guessing this was to give the app a final test in the real world before launching it proper. Rather than explain what it is, watch Aaron Kyro, founder of Braille Skateboarding, run you through the app in the launch video below.  In a nutshell the app is virtually everything Braille has to offer accessed right from your phone, from tutorials to the Braille Army Community. The app is free but you can unlock more features if you upgrade to a paid membership. Braille App Trick List. One of the apps unique free features is keeping track of the tricks you've learned and giving you an overall score so you have some way to measure your progression. There is an extensive list of tricks, covering all types of skateboarding, categorized by diff

Course Review: YouTube for Bosses - Sunny Lenarduzzi. How to grow your YouTube Channel into a Business

YouTube for Bosses Free Mug...  or the most expensive mug  you'll ever buy? I've been subscribed to  Sunny Lenarduzzi's YouTube channel for a few years, learning a lot on how to grow a following on sites like YouTube and Instagram. If you have any interest in growing your own YouTube channel I'd highly recommend watching some of Sunny's videos on the subject.  Definitely explore her 2019 back catalogue for the most useful information. This year she's been on a bit of a 'being authentic' pivot that, personally, doesn't resonate all that much with me (but probably speaks volumes to anyone with similar experience). I'm not saying she shouldn't or isn't being authentic, it's just I didn't subscribe to hear stories about her life journey. To get back on track, Sunny runs a successful online business with her flagship course, YouTube for Bosses , a stand alone paid course that does act as something of a gateway to further paid (but opt

Update on my Cheap Skateboard Weeks Later

TET with $20.00 Mambo, Department Store Skateboard. In my previous post and video titled Can You Learn the Basics on a Cheap Skateboard? I began an experiment to see if basic, department store skateboards are at least good enough for beginners to get their first taste of skateboarding without spending a lot of money. (Spoiler - they are). Grrr Dog Popsicle  Skateboard See more deck shapes Just to reinforce my point I decided to film a follow up video a few weeks later showing that my cheap skateboard is still holding up to learning the basics. Admittedly I'm not the most hardcore of learner skaters when it comes to hours spent on the board. On average I manage around thirty minutes to an hour, five days a week. The point is that the board is still holding up to the tricks I've been learning despite my weight being about 16 kilos heavier than the maximum weight recommended for the board (50 kilos). Unlike those Youtube skaters that almost seem like their

Elon Musk's Tesla Bot, Boston Dynamics Atlas, and Disney Imagineering's Baby Groot, Need to Get Together

The Tesla Bot. Elon Musk recently launched a robotics concept, the Tesla Bot, that would've been amazing except it was little more than that, a concept. As of writing this there is very little information on Tesla's website about the project, and Elon himself didn't really elaborate much in his very awkward launch presentation. I'm pretty sure he was winging it given how bad it was. However he did say they expected to have a prototype in about a year. While the concept definitely has its critics (who see humanoid robots as highly inefficient), the general idea is to create a robot that can adapt to and perform any task an actual human could do. Not unlike the robots in the movie iRobot . I don't doubt that, if anyone can make something that looks like the Tesla Bot concept, it's Tesla and Elon Musk. Tesla has been working on artificial intelligence (A.I.) systems for quite some time, most notably in their development of self driving cars. While their autonomous

One Week on Light n' Easy #lightneasy

My partner, Enigma, and I recently decided to try Light n' Easy to replace all our daily meals in an effort to eat healthier (and not have to think at all about cooking evening meals). Enigma is about to embark on her third week of their full menu but I caved after one and opted just to get the dinners.