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  Deployment to Vietnam
    The New Zealand Goverment had decided to deploy V Company to serve with the Australian Army force in Phuoc Tuy Province. 161 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery had already been shifted there from its previous location with the Americans.

Our Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel B M Poananga made representations to Wellington to have us sent further north to work alongside the South Koreans. 1 RNZIR had already established good relationships with the Korean Army, and he thought that professionally it would be a better move for us. Perhaps also that we were temperamentally better suited to working alongside regular troops, rather than conscripts.

Wellington did not agree.

The deployment of Victor Company direct to Vietnam from the Commonwealth Brigade base in Malaya, via Singapore, posed some political and diplomatic challenges. Neither of those two countries had taken a stand against North Vietnam, although it was an open secret that we were going.

So it was that V Company left Terendak for Singapore in the middle of the night to drive to Singapore, to avoid any publicity. We were sneaking out of Malaya and Singapore into Vietnam, as we and our successors were made to sneak home after our tours.

In Singapore we emplaned on Royal New Zealand Air Force Bristol Freighters (nicknamed Bristol Frighteners) for Vung Tau, where we arrived some hours later.

We were given the usual warm welcome by the South Vietnamese Government, including being presented with garlands of flowers by beautiful young Vietnamese women.

The company straight away deployed forward to Nui Dat, the operational base of the 1st Australian Task Force, where we came under operational command of 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR). 6RAR was shortly to return to Australia and be replaced in Vietnam by 2RAR.

We were under operational command of 6RAR for about two weeks, and we spent most of the rest of our tour under command of 2RAR.

However we did retain a certain amount of National autonomy, and for all non-operational administrative matters we reported to our own NZ Headquarters in Saigon.

By inclination we also maintained a degree of professional aloofness and separation from our Australian colleagues. This led to some misunderstandings, and to occasional Australian frustration in dealing with us, but it suited us.

We got on well with the Australians, but we had our own ways of doing things, and we didn't always agree with their commanders' views on procedures, strategy and tactics. They didn't always agree with us either.

No doubt our attitude helped lead to the formation of a fully integrated Australian / New Zealand command structure on 1 March 1968, when The ANZAC Battalion was formed. By then we were long gone, having enjoyed our New Zealand autonomy while it lasted.

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