Morris Danks's story
I was conscripted to spend two years in the army from 1st May 1968 to 30th april 1970. It was called National Service.
Because of the Vietnam War conflict there weren’t enough soldiers to fill their requirements so this was a way to get around it on a fair and equitable way. It was done by placing 365 marbles into a barrel and if your birthday number was pulled out you were called up to do 3 months basic training at Kapooka in New South Wales; followed by then deciding what Corps training you wanted to do. I picked truck driving and did the training in Puckapunyal, Victoria. Then it was 6 months in a field force unit /battalion for more training before I left to my posting to Vietnam.
I felt lucky to go to 86 Transport Platoon as a truck driver (much easier than walking). We carried everything for the troops – food, fuel for the trucks, ammunition and anything else that might be needed for the troops.
My platoon were based in Vung Tau in South Vietnam which is on the coast where all the supplies we required were shipped from Australia. We travelled every day to Nui Dat to deliver to the stores what was required for the unit.
Conscription was something i didn’t want to do but I remember the good bits; the camaraderie with life long mates and memories. The Aussie soldiers whether Regular or National Servicemen were very well trained and well equipped with the best of everything.
We had it very hard when we came back to Australia – it ended up being a very unpopular war and the armed forces were not made very welcome when they returned home.