Battlefield tour to Vietnam
The Foundation hosted seven serving members on a battlefield tour across Vietnam in March this year. The Hassett nominees toured significant regimental battlefields, sites and memorials including the Chu Chi Tunnels, Nui Dat, Mekong Delta, Vung Tau and Long Tan.
The trip included guided tours, traditional food, drinks and importantly time to get to know members from other units, share and learn from each other.
“I believe that the Vietnam Tour was a great way to learn about the Regiment’s history. Our second task was to cross pollinate between Battalions, which I think was another great success on the tour” said Pte Tom Florence, 2RAR reflecting back on the trip.
The highlight of the tour was the two day visit to Vung Tau. The local guide Mr Thuan, took the group to Radar Hill with its panoramic view of Vung Tau, now home to over 500,000 people. This was followed by a bus tour of Vung Tau visiting the Front and Back beach, the sites of the Peter Badcoe Club and Harold Holt pool and the airport, home of Wallaby Airlines.
There were stops at the Nui Dat base including SAS Hill and the remnants of the helicopter pad, the RRA artillery site, Luscome airfield and the Nui Dat Kindergarten which was built by Australian Veterans for children in the village.
The tour also included an important stop to the 2 RAR memorial. Pte T Florence, 2 RAR, placed a flower on the memorial and the group paid their respects to the fallen .This then followed a trip to the Long Tan region, starting at the site of the first contact by D company 6 RAR made with a small group of VC. The Long Tan memorial, took your breath away with the history of the battle and the entry of the path to the memorial which included a slow quiet walk down the path to the memorial. Mr Thuan led the ode and each member of the group placed a flower on the memorial, with Cpl M Oram, 6 RAR, placing a second flower on the memorial.
“It gave us an opportunity to visit places that you would only read or hear about through books or your battalion’s history” said Cpl Justin Evans, 7 RAR.
There was also a visit to the famous Cao Dai Great Temple & Chu Chi Tunnels. Skills were tested in the tunnel system with no lack of participation.
The capital of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City was not missed with visits to the Presidential Palace, War Remnants Museum, Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine, a Buddhist temple and a traditional Pho noodle soup .
Binh Ba memorial park was an important stop, providing a different reflection as it was dedicated to the North Vietnamese Army troops. Only two of them survived the battle.
The young leaders were thoroughly impressed with the trip and remarked on how it developed them as soldiers, teams and leaders.
“Almost immediately discussion began on how Junior leaders can implement positive change in their own unit” said Lt (now Capt) Patrick Box.