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 -

The Star Wars Saga: Episode II, Attack of the Clones *All Spoilers*

Continuing my series of posts, as one of my local TV stations shows every Star Wars movie in order, every Saturday, for the next six weeks leading up to the release of Star Wars, Episode VII, The Force Awakens , here is my response to and thoughts on  Star Wars, Episode II, Attack of the Clones . After The Phantom Menace I just wasn't interested in seeing Episode II in the cinema. I don't think I made any effort to see it or even had any anticipation for it's release.

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

Kids today are smarter than their parents?

How often have you heard it said that kids today are smarter than their parents? I’ve heard it quite frequently in the media – even Dr Phil has said it. I say speak for your self. It’s not true and don’t let the media fool you. Today’s kids may have access to more information that may give them more choices but in my experience, they only take in what they want to hear and still make stupid, uninformed decisions. Just like we used to at their age. Like any cross section of people there will be exceptions. There are kids that are genuinely smarter, more mature and responsible for their age. However the vast majority know everything they need to know by the time they turn fourteen. They’re ‘adult’ enough to be responsible for all their own decision making so parents should just let them do what they please…right? Just like we thought at fourteen. Don’t be fooled. Just because your son knows how to download MP3’s onto an ipod, or your daughter can chat to five friends at the same time

Boom Crash Opera Born Classic But Not Again

Boom Crash Opera are an Australian Band that reached the peak of their popularity in the mid to late nineteen eighties. They are a band that I knew about at that time but was never really excited by until they released their ill fated double album Born and Born Again in 1995 (Album cover pictured). At the time of its release I was very much into emerging Australian musical acts and was also looking out for new sounds that were different and had kind of a futuristic/electronic sound. Artists that I was buying at the time included; Swoop , Nine Inch Nails and Pop Will Eat Its Self . As well as a really interesting release by David Bowie, the concept album, Outside . Born was a fairly radical departure for Boom Crash Opera (BCO). The first single, Gimme , was often compared to the sounds of Gary Glitter, particularly his single, Rock n Roll part 2 , because of the pounding drum loops. Watch the video below. My favorite single from the album is dissemble which probably went now

Cy Twombly. Art you can love...or not?

The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Agnes Tricoire, presents to the court a reproduction of the kiss mark on a painting by artist American Cy Twombly. Photo: MSNBC In researching this post I'm happy to say that American artist, Cy Twombly's all white artwork, 'Untitled', is an exception to his art rather than the norm. Perhaps that is why the artwork is valued at just over 2.8 million dollars and lays some credibility on my rationale in pricing my own blank canvas in my video guide to Pricing your artwork for sale . Regular readers will know my distaste for blank canvas artworks so I could not pass up this opportunity to comment on Rindy Sam, a 30 year old, female French artist, who loved Twombly's blank artwork enough to kiss it with fully, lipstick loaded, lips. The incident happened on July 19, 2007, where the painting was part of a traveling exhibition on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the southern French city of Avignon. The kiss was described as an

"You are the Generation that bought more shoes..."

"You are the generation that bought more shoes, you get what you deserve." This quote is a song lyric that I heard on the radio (my apologies to the writer and artist that it belongs too because I don't know who either of you are). It's a great line and I can only assume it refers to the apparent lack of interest today's eighteen to twenty somethings appear to have in more serious and deeper issues. Not that I'm trying to hold myself up as someone who campaigns strongly for the greater good of human kind or that I spend significant amounts of time raising awareness of important issues. I'm certainly not a poster boy for changing the attitudes of people with too many shoes but lyrics like that do make you think. It's at this point that I really don't know where to go with this article. Should I focus on the material nature of modern society and its obsession with having more stuff? Or should I mention a few important issues, like Human Rights Abus

St!nk
* Affiliate Link - Support our advertisers and help keep this site free *