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 MAGGIO WOULD BATTLE IN 'HELL' WITH UNTESTED AUSSIE SOLDIERS
Submitted by 2LT Ross Sillar, Platoon Commander, 10 P1 D Coy 1968 to 1969
From a newspaper article printed in the USA in 1968 by Joe Maggio, a US freelance war correspondent.

There is to be found in this mortal sin called Vietnam a breath of spring air that makes an effort to cleanse the area that smells of decay. The freshness comes in the form of the Australian Military Forces that are fighting in "their type of war." Compared to the conglomeration of Americans here ... 600,000 ... the 8,000 man Australian Task Force might not change the course that this ill fated ship is sailing, but it will do the job assigned and will accomplish the mission far better and with greater military proficiency and professionalism than any unit in the United States field forces ... why?
Mainly because they care. Not so much as to what happens here in Vietnam, and not so much as to the eventual port the ships' captains will make, but they care about their country ... their army and themselves.
And that is why in all aspects that I viewed, they emerged as winners. After eight years of Marine Corps, Special Forces and Congolese military service, I have come upon true professionalism and were the time in an earlier age I would enlist.
Pride is present in many forms. One is the American habit of showing badges on starched uniforms and of spit-shined boots. This the Diggers avoid. There are corps insignia and the parachute badge, but it stops there as all belong to one army - Australia.
But the pride that I found is a subtle doing whatever is needed to ensure the completion of the mission given and this I think is the best kind of pride.
It is an air that surrounds the Australian soldier in all spheres ... at sea, on patrol or in conversation. This is a professional army. Some are of National Service (drafted) but all have the same aura of being the best and when the chips are down the "Digger" with a wry smile and fight-searching eyes is ready for the contest.

Before the original concept of Special forces was exploited by the "Starchies" in the fat Pentagon, the unit that I was assigned to did some work in the Panamanian jungles with the Australian Army's SAS (Special Air Service) ... the parallel to our Green Berets. It was evident at the conclusion of the operation that they were very good - as their performance in Malaya and Borneo has shown - and we had much to learn. Now as a war correspondent I am not allowed to visit SAS. Rightly so as most of their work is classified, but I did get to do the next big thing. New men learning a new area in any war is always a good thing. And so it was that I hooked up with Delta Company, Fourth Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, the "Road Runners."
Four Battalion is new to the war and are anxious to get on with it. Two Battalion, their predecessor spent an entire year on patrol, leaving the field only on two occasions and neither for more than one week. Being as familiar as the next person and more so than most about military ways, I know of no American unit that can match this record.

Continued page 6

EMU BOB
Birthday Service Sat 04 Feb 06.
The service will commence at the Contemplation Building of the RAR National Memorial Walk at 2.OOPM followed by drinks and light refreshments at the Long Tan Sergeants Mess. It is insisted that acceptable neat casual clothing be worn which corresponds with the dress standards of a Sergeants Mess.
No jeans, thongs or collarless shirts are allowed.
We do need to know in advance of the numbers attending so that we can make catering arrangements and we may not be able to cater for unannounced guests.
Don't forget to complete and return the Reply Form on page 9.
See you there!!!
RAR National Memorial
Walk 03 Dec 05

Rusty Reeves, Ian Sneddon, Noel Kelly, Derek Firth and Alan Price attended 4RAR Association's annual work party obligation at the RARNMW. We spent the morning with RAR Association committee members and other unit members in spreading mulch around the memorial walk. That was followed by a BBQ hosted by the RAR Association. Thanks fellows.

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Last modified:
Sunday, 24 February 2013 22:36:52