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Vietnam Vanguard

1. February 1966

1. February 1966, on exercise at Canungra before departure for Vietnam (left to right): WO2 Don McGregor, Corporal Bob Whillas, Major Paul Greenhalgh, Private Max Stringer, all of D Company HQ, and 5 RAR’s chaplain, Father John Williams, taking a breather.

Source: Ron Boxall.

2. October 1966

2. October 1966: Two C Company members, Lance Corporal Ron Shoebridge (left) and Lance Corporal David ‘Stretch’ Bryan (right), support Private David Riik after 8 Platoon suffered casualties from booby traps during Operation Canberra. Private Ian Foran at left monitors the company radio net and Private Robert Birtles kneels at right. The dense jungle and rugged terrain are visible in the background (see Chapter 8).

Source: Australian War Memorial, COA/66/0877/VN.

3. May 1966

3. May 1966: The Commander US Military Assistance Command Vietnam, General William C. Westmoreland, and the Commander Australian Forces Vietnam, Major General Ken Mackay, talk with Private Kevin Cavanagh, C Company, aboard HMAS Sydney at Vung Tau.

Source: Australian War Memorial, CUN/66/0369/VN.

4. April 1966

4. April 1966: Brigadier David Jackson, Commander 1 ATF, and Lieutenant Colonel John Warr, commanding officer 5 RAR, soon after the latter’s arrival at Tan Son Nhut airport.

Source: Australian War Memorial, KEL/66/0362/VN.

5. July 1966

5. July 1966: 5 RAR medical officer, Captain Tony White, sutures a machete gash for one of his medical assistants, Corporal Ian McDougall.

Source: Australian War Memorial, FOR/66/0484/VN.

6. October 1966

6. October 1966: Soldiers of C Company, at a landing zone on Nui Thi Vai with captured materiel. Operation Canberra.

Source: Bill Parkes.

7. September 1966

7. September 1966: The Australian Army Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Tom Daly, visits D Company during Operation Toledo, September 1966. Here he speaks with Sergeant Bob Armitage (left) and Major Paul Greenhalgh.

Source: Australian War Memorial, FOR/66/0785/VN.

8. May 1966

8. May 1966: Lieutenant Colonel John Warr (centre) discussing helicopter training with Lieutenant Charles Brinnon of the US Army’s 68 Assault Helicopter Company (left) and Major Richard Hannigan (right), operations officer, 1 ATF, at Vung Tau.

Source: Australian War Memorial, FOR/66/0386/VN.

9. October 1966

9. October 1966: Private Bruce Mason, A Company, makes a brew beside a local charcoal burner’s oven during Operation Robin.

Source: Australian War Memorial, COL/66/0965/VN.

10. December 1966

10. December 1966: Members of 8 Platoon admiring Private Robin Lestrange’s Christmas treats sent by his former employers. Platoon commander Lieutenant Roger Wainwright (right) is keeping an eye on (left to right) Sergeant Ralph ‘Rowdy’ Hindmarsh, Private Dick Criss, unknown, Private Daryl McCombe (kneeling), Private Robin Lestrange, Private Bill Cavanagh, Private Phil Long and Private Alan Suckling (later Alan Hunter).

Source: Australian War Memorial, COL/66/1010/VN.

11. October 1966

11. October 1966: 5 RAR’s Signals Officer, Captain Brian Le Dan, with his damaged Owen machine carbine which deflected and shattered an enemy sniper’s bullet thus saving him from serious wounding or death during Operation Queanbeyan (see Chapter 7).

Source: Australian War Memorial, CUN/66/0945/VN.

12. September 1966

12. September 1966: The Commander 1 ATF, Brigadier David Jackson (left), greets the Commander Australian Forces Vietnam, Major General Ken Mackay, and the Australian Army’s Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Tom Daly, on their arrival at his HQ at Nui Dat.

Source: Australian War Memorial, FOR/66/0779/VN.

13. October 1966

13. October 1966: A 9 Squadron RAAF Iroquois delivers ammunition, equipment and water to a landing zone between hills Jan and Julie during Operation Canberra.

Source: Australian War Memorial, VN/66/0074/13.

14. 5 RAR’s second in command, Major Stan Maizey

14. 5 RAR’s second in command, Major Stan Maizey, setting a good example.

Source: 5 RAR Association website,

15. Early October 1966

15. Early October 1966: Men of 4 Section, 8 Platoon (left to right): Privates Bob Box, Dave Annells, Warren Pearson, Alan Suckling, Corporal Russell Quinn and Private David Riik. Russ Quinn is carrying an Owen machine carbine and Alan Suckling is carrying an M16. This photo was taken around the time when the Owen was beginning to be phased out.

Source: David Bryan.

16. Villagers watching a distribution of food aid by 5 RAR soldiers

16. Villagers watching a distribution of food aid by 5 RAR soldiers.

Source: David Bryan.

17. Villagers collecting food aid

17. Villagers collecting food aid.

Source: David Bryan.

18. October 1966

18. October 1966: Nui Thi Vai from the west during Operation Robin. The peak reaches 467 metres (1,532 feet) above sea level. The road at the foot (Route 15) was close to sea level, making the hill a long, steep climb for heavily laden infantry attempting to drive the enemy off the heights.

Source: Bill Parkes.

19. October 1966

19. October 1966: Second Lieutenant John McAloney MC who was awarded the Military Cross for leading the Assault Pioneer Platoon’s attack on a defended enemy cave system during Operation Queanbeyan (Chapter 7).

Source: Michael Deak (Michael von Berg).

20. Late 1966

20. Late 1966: Prime Minister Air Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky visited 5 RAR. Shortly after this photograph was taken, he was flat on the ground, covered by his security guards, because the bomb that had just been fired from the mortar in front of him had a faulty propellant charge and landed 50 metres away. Fortunately, the bomb itself failed to explode.

Source: Lloyd Miller.

21. October 1966

21. October 1966: A 9 Squadron RAAF Iroquois delivers resupplies to the pagoda landing zone during Operation Queanbeyan.

Source: Lloyd Miller.

22. November 1966

22. November 1966: 5 RAR’s medical officer, Captain Tony White, examines a dead baby in Long Son village. The baby’s distraught grandmother refused to relinquish the baby to her family for burial until a ‘bac si’ (doctor) had confirmed that it had died.

Source: Ron Boxall.

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