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Audio Jim Stewart recalls the Australian Army Training Team in Vietnam, 2008

TLF ID R9181

This is an edited sound recording of Jim Stewart, a former commanding officer of the Australian Army Training Team in Vietnam (AATTV), explaining how the AATTV trained units of the South Vietnamese Army (SVA) and militia forces. Stewart describes the duties of AATTV members, recalling the difficulty of the language barrier and how many of the South Vietnamese soldiers were war-weary. He remembers the disappointment in the AATTV when the Australian involvement was scaled down. The recording was made in May 2008.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This is a first-hand account about the AATTV; in 1962 the initial deployment of the AATV to South Vietnam marked the beginning of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. The initial group of 30 Australian military advisers arrived in South Vietnam in July 1962 and the first Australian ground forces were deployed in May 1965.
  • The AATTV was the longest serving and most highly decorated Australian military unit that participated in the Vietnam War. Its members usually served 12- or 18-month tours of duty. AATTV casualties included 33 killed and 122 wounded. James 'Jim' David Stewart (1930-) was the second-last commanding officer of the AATTV, serving in that capacity from July 1971 to February 1972.
  • Stewart outlines the unique tasks performed by AATTV members, about 1,000 of whom served in South Vietnam between 1962 and 1972. The largest number at any one time was 217 in 1970. They usually operated individually or in pairs and occasionally in groups of up to ten. In the clip Stewart says that some took up key positions within SVA units, providing expertise that was lacking in local forces such as using 'sensors' to detect night movement of enemy forces.
  • This recording reveals that the Australians in the AATTV encountered lapses in enthusiasm from South Vietnamese soldiers who had been fighting for many years. Stewart refers to Dien Bien Phu, where in 1954 Vietnamese communists known as the Viet Minh defeated French forces after a long battle. That battle marked the end of the French colonial rule in Indochina. It also led to the division of Vietnam into the communist north and the non-communist south.
  • Stewart says there was a feeling among AATTV members when they were withdrawn in 1972 that their task had not been completed and that they 'may have been letting the Vietnamese down'. It is impossible to measure how effective the AATTV and other Australians may have been in Vietnam. The USA was by far the greatest military supporter of the South Vietnamese, and communist forces won the War in 1975 after the USA withdrew its support.

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
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  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Person: Jim Stewart
  • Description: Author
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
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  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
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  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
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Learning Resource Type
  • Audio
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.