THE NATIONAL SERVICE - AUSTRALIAN DRAFT
I was Drafted for National Service on the 3rd October 1967 and did my basic training at Singletons 3rd Training Battalion and 7th Platoon (3TB 7Plt) Basic training was a ten week session which included learning to march, using the FN 7.62 Self Loading Rifle (SLR), range shooting, starting to get physically fit, and learning how to work as a team under command.
Later I was posted to Eastern Hills Marconi School of Wireless in Sydney. Here we learnt morse code, operational procedures and basic operation of Army Signals equipment.
I was posted to Balcombe, South Victoria, to the School of Signals where we continued to learn about antennas, propagation, and radio equipment. On passing out, I was posted to 139 Sig. Sqn. at Brisbane. Picture below taken at Balcombe on passing out night, Jeff and Jenine Cayzer. Jeff still lives in the Brisbane area and is a good friend of Geoff Mullins Channel 10 TV, neither went to Vietnam.
Not a pleasant place to go at any time, let along in the middle of winter. With frost on the grass, we donned our black runners, shorts and army singlets and were out running, doing our PT, over the cargo nets, swimming in the river and later to be sent to Vietnam, where I can't remember ever wearing a jumper.
From Canungra to 1 Sig Regt., in Sydney for holding before departure to Vietnam. We left Sydney aboard a commercial QANTAS 707 flight QF177 flying direct Sydney - Darwin, Darwin - Singapore and on to Saigon. And finally by Caribou from Saigon to Nui Dat.
We were posted to 104 Sig Sqn in Vietnam from 18th Nov 1968 to 17 Sept 1969.
My first posting was to 1 Fld Sqn Engineers RAE. The detachment Sig was required to operated the "Elevate" Switch along with the Task Force radio net and the local Engineers radio network. We were also deployed with the Engineers on various operations in the province.
FSB Duster was the temporary home for the Big Red 1 US Marines and the detachment there was to operate the liaison radio network between the US Marines, our own Task Force and the operation headquarters of the ARVN. When the Big Red 1 moved out the FSB was dismantled
During the TET Offensive I was posted to the US Advisers and the 2/52 ARVN at Trang Bom. We operated out of a rubber plantation, gathering information on enemy troop movement. The information was coded and sent to both FSB Kerry and to the operators at Bearcat for assessment.
with the Advisers we toured Down Town Ap Duon Nga and Bau Ca. Small
Vietnamese villages, but strongholds for the VC. Our job was to
entertain the kids while the advisers talked with the village adults.
During an Australian operation in the Delta, I was posted to VC Hill in Vung Tau on the Retrans. Living on top of the Hill behind the US Communication Base we operated a PRC 125 set as a repeater.
Powered by 32Volt gensets, the retrans was the life line between the troops in the field and the Task Force back in Nui Dat. Back to Top
The longest posting was to D TOC at Bearcat. The home of the Royal Thai Army Volunteer Forces, known as the Panthers. Bearcat was also the home base for the EMU unit (Experimental Military Unit) and endless numbers of helicopters, the 720th Military Police and the 173rd Airborne.
I became an Australian Citizen on the 25th July
1990 and I have lived on and off in Rockhampton since 1966.
Quigley 1733706 Ex 104 Sig. Sqn. Royal Australian Signals