The first and only fully integrated Allied Unit In Vietnam.
The U.S. Army Aviation
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
Origin: Fort Hood, Texas 1966 - 1967 Killeen Air Base.
Commanding Officer: Major Fuchs (pronounced FOX)
First Sergeant: Julius D. Baratz
Vietnam: September 1967 LTC Deets Commanding
written by Robert Johnson
The unit was deployed from Ft. Hood, Texas Killeen Air Base to VungTau, Vietnam. Prior to deployment they were going to have a call sign of"Lone Star" (not only after the state of Texas but also after the beer -- it was figured we could get fresh supplies of the brew if we did). Someone higher up ordered that we alter the call sign and logo -- it was being too commercial and it wasn't in the best interest of the Army to be commercialized (I could just picture a business jumping on board to sponser a unit). Later the Lone Star would be incorporated in the unit's patch along with the Australian Southern Stars.
The choppers were wrapped up and the advance crew took a 20/30-day cruise(and the time counted as in-country time).
Later in September 1967 the remaining personnel unit flew over on Military Jet-Cargo flights from Texas to Alaska (stopover) to Japan (stopover) to Saigon, we were suppose to land in Bien Hoa but it was under attack so our flight was diverted to Ton Son Nhut Air Base. When I got off the plane I thought of the heat and the smell (so many distinct aromas at once that I thought this was what death smelled like a mixture of foul fowl and fish, diesel and aviation fuel, and feces)
From Ton Son Nhut Air Base we took an MP jeep-escorted convoy to Long Bien and spent the night in some wooden barracks. I thought, since we hadn't been issued ammo yet and these two jeeps with one little M60 machine gun wasn't going to be sufficient enough to stop an attack. From there we took a Military lift to Vung Tau.
Our in-country training was to be two months. I thought that this would be a great place to be stationed -- it had never been under attack; even the VC took R&R here. Some of the personnel were absorbed by other units needing NGs ("New Guys") and the other units sent us some of their "short-timers". The initial first month, 50% of the personnel would be traded this way. The second month would see 25%, the third month would see 10%. This allowed for other units to replenish personnel designated to rotate back to the states and for New units to absorb "combat-seasoned" troops. After two months, our unit was re-located to Blackhorse (11th Armored Cav) base camp. After being there a while, my buddy Buford Johnson was transferred to a Air Cav unit and in April of 68 was MIA, two weeks later he was KIA in the Stars and Stripes -- the only time I read the obituaries, I haven't read them since.
The Ho Chi Minh Trail intersected through the 11th Cav's area going from the border to Bear Cat then to Bien Hoa and Saigon. But I guess it could be said all of South Vietnam was intersected with the Ho Chi MinhTrail.
I suspect one reason we didn't receive any major assaults by NVA orCharlie was because the 11th Cav's Base camp , Blackhorse, was here. The 11th Cav Commanding Officer was Colonel Patton, the son of General Patton. More than a generation of fighting men; but some, excuse the language, ass-kicking soldiers. These are men who are top of the line and full of traditions. One tradition is pulling pranks (see WarriorTales).
We had found our unit was designated to have Australian Navy
personnel in it. Since the U.S. Army (and any other U.S. Military unit)
wanted to ensure our troops were led by Americans, the Table of
had the rank of each personnel upgraded one grade. The company
was a Lt. Col, Platoon Leaders were Majors, operation officer was a
captains, 1st. Lts, and WO2 and WO3 were found flying. Even the
men were given an upgrade on the TOE. As an honor and deference to the
Australians, our unit's designation was changed to the "Fighting
The Emu was a name the Australians thought was okey, but later; in the
tour they told us that it was the most stupid flightless-bird in
I guess the Army thought at least it wasn't being commercialized.