When America fought in Vietnam to stem the tide of communism some strong allies stood by us shoulder to shoulder. Among the best were the Australians. In this episode three of those brave Australians who fought with us in Vietnam will be featured. They were highlighted in a story in The Circular Head Chronicle titled: Servicemen reflect on Vietnam by Ashleigh Force.
The trio included Circular Head locals John “Yogi” Phillips and Michael French and former Circular Head resident Graham “Shorty” Reeman. The Circular Head RSL World War I Centenary Committee recognized Australian Vietnam Veterans at the Long Tan Battle 50th year commemoration. A memorial service was held at Anzac Park in Smithton on Thursday August 18, 2016 where a Vietnam memorial will be established in the near future.
As with many Australians, the three were imbued with a spirit of willing service to their country engendered by the examples set by Australian soldiers in two world wars.
John Phillips who now lives in Circular Head was born in Winchelsea, Victoria in 1945. He joined the Army in 1964 as a teenager. He spent two years in Malaya and three months in Borneo with the 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) before he was dispatched with the 3RAR to Vietnam. He made his entry in country at Tan Son Nhut Air Base and was immediately sent to the RAR base camp at Nui Dat to help with building the facility in anticipation of the soon arriving main body of personnel.
Graham “Shorty” Reeman was born in Deloraine in 1945 and drafted in 1966 when he was living in Circular Head. Upon of his military training he was assigned to the 7th RAR in Vietnam. His route took him from a departure in Darwin on a direct flight to Vung Tau, Vietnam and then a harrowing trip on a truck to their base at Nui Dat.
Michael French was born in Wynyard, Tasmania in 1948. He became a resident of Circular Head and that is where he joined the Army in 1968. He served in the Royal Australian Signals Regiment’s 104th squadron.
Hope you enjoy their memories of their time in the Vietnam War as told in this episode.