Vets to converge

By Geoff Vivian | posted on August 10, 2017

MORE than 100 Vietnam veterans and their partners are booking motel rooms and caravan park sites in early October for a special reunion in Albany.

Every two years the 85 Transport Division’s former members meet in a different Australian state, and this year is WA’s turn.

Organisers John and Gail Myers say the event will mark the 50th anniversary of the Division’s initial deployment in Vietnam, a few months before Mr Myers arrived with his unit.

“We were the replacements for the first unit that went over, after they’d done all the hard yards to fix up all the tents and get all the gear organised,” Mr Myers said.

The Division supplied and transported the whole of the Australian forces in Vietnam, often under dangerous conditions.

Mr Myers said they drove daily convoys from Van Tau to Nui Dat before making deliveries to the various camps.

They used tip trucks to deliver gravel and rocks for road construction and big bladders of diesel to outlying fuel dumps, besides taking rolls of barbed wire, artillery shells and general trans- port to frontline troops.

“We delivered ice to all the boozers and sometimes it was a bit dangerous, you could end up half sozzled because they gave you a can at each place,” he said.

They also drove rubbish trucks, delivered water, and performed other odd jobs such as spraying the perimeter with toxic Agent Orange defoliant to keep it clear, all with no protective gear.

Mr Myers said his total army time was just two years, including nine months basic training and 12 months in Vietnam before returning to Australia for discharge.

“Then we were given the ‘see you later’, had a medical and off we went,” he said.

“Went back to our normal jobs and continued on with life.”

Mr Myers said members of the Division who had been in Vietnam did a good job of supporting each other. “It comes down to trust and that special bond,” he said.

“If you’ve got a problem you can talk to them over the phone.

“Psychologically, you can understand each other because it comes back to the roots of the same tree – Vietnam.”

Gail Myers said she expected about 200 people to come to Albany for the event.

The reunion will take place from August 15-19 with a march at the National Anzac Centre on Friday, August 18, which is Long Tan Day and Vietnam Veterans’ Day.