Raymond James Tait, a resident of Liverpool, an outer Sydney suburb, is a genuine former soldier. Although in the age bracket that could have seen him enlist and serve in Viet Nam he did not. Raymond Tait enlisted into the Australian Regular Army in 1972, the year the final combat troops left Viet Nam and returned to Australia. The Corps he enlisted into was the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE). Tait remained in the Army until 1978 and remained the rank of Sapper, the Engineer equivalent of a private soldier. He did not serve outside Australia although he wears the following medals and awards and the rank of Corporal as shown in the photograph
He also claims he was wounded in action and when he woke up [in a US hospital] a United States issue Purple Heart was pinned to his chest. He says he felt guilty about accepting this award and handed it back prior to leaving the hospital but, as the story goes, years down the track his "buddies" told him he was entitled to it so he applied for and was sent a new one. This award is proudly displayed in his house and it doesn't take too much prompting for him to tell you the story about how he earned it.
His stories seemed convincing enough that genuine diggers didn't question him until such time as he began to elaborate on his stories and included the time he was with the AATTV and was required to clear the Viet Cong Tunnels in the Long Hai hills and under SAS Hill in the Australian base camp. His story here states that he was sent to Viet Nam with 1 Field Squadron RAE as a "tunnel rat" where he was a "Number 2 Searcher" and eventually worked his way up to being a "Number One Searcher" who was then posted to Charlie Company, 8 Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment and from there to the AATTV.
Who knows what movies he has watched to gain this information but it is obvious that he, like many wannabes, did not research his story fully enough and genuine veterans became suspicious about his stories of Viet Cong tunnels in the Australian base camp area.
As a bogus veteran he had people convinced for years that he was real, but like most, he wanted to enhance and embellish himself and his esteem within the veteran community so he concocted bigger and better stories about his bogus service. This was his downfall as he failed to further research his material properly and this was soon picked up by those who had "been there and done that".
In one of his stories of being a tunnel rat he states he "Would go down the hole and just far enough in to be out of sight and stop there and smoke for a while and then come out and report there was nothing there".
A genuine tunnel rat would never jeopardise the lives of his mates by not penetrating the full extent of a tunnel and making sure that it was secure, irrespective of the danger to his own life.
Information on his possible bogus status was sent to CPMH by several who doubted his authenticity and an investigation into his military service was conducted. Although he was enlisted into the regular army which his service number indicates, he has now shown an interest in purchasing the National Service medal to add to his collection. In his mind he believes that he was also a National Serviceman and can produce a set of dog tags to supposedly verify this fact, even though there are not enough numbers on them for national service status.
His "real" dog tags, or at least the ones he states were his "Viet Nam" dog tags, are red. Colour coded for Viet Nam so he will tell you. In total he has three sets of dog tags he proudly displays beside his Purple Heart and soon, possibly his National Service medal. Perhaps the third set is for Army Reserve service? Who knows. One would also hope that the organisation dispatching the National Service commemorative medals (there is no "official" National Service medal) would also check on his entitlement before sending him this medal.
It is also known that Raymond James Tait is on a 90% disability pension. The question must be asked, as to whether this disability is being paid for war-caused injuries or injuries that were sustained through his legitimate service (remember he says he was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart)?
With all this information Tait was contacted by CPMH investigators and asked to explain his actions and medals. Tait replied confessing that he had been waiting for years to be exposed as a bogus veteran. He forwarded to CPMH a handwritten, signed letter explaining his whole bogus nature, his medals, the 8 RAR citation (fake medals) and his VVAA badge. It should be noted here that he was NOT a member of the VVAA NSW but had applied for and been accepted as a member of the Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia (Granville) a completely separate body to the VVAA. After receiving his badge he failed to renew his membership the following year. Why? Tait states in his letter that he purchased all of his replica medals from Christies, in Sydney and this can clearly be seen on their reverse. CPMH is of the firm belief that any organisation that sells replica or commemorative medals should confirm the entitlement to those medals of the purchaser or a bona-fide medal collector.
Unfortunately many within our ranks have had psychological problems and worse created by our service in Viet Nam and we now live with these disorders in our civilian life and unfortunately they have caused many heartaches within our family structure which has led to divorce and far worse in many cases. Tait, and others like him may consider that they are now some part way to being the veteran they wanted to be, as the problems many say they now have were created in the relative safety of civilian life and will remind them of Viet Nam for the rest of their lives.
Perhaps now they will feel some of the problems that beset many genuine veterans. The pain and suffering of an impostor is by no means comparable to that of the families of over 500 veterans who laid down their lives in Viet Nam, nor the veterans who returned psychologically, mentally and physically ruined for the remainder of their lives.
We veterans are more than mates who fought together. We are a brotherhood of veterans still fighting and remaining together and to quote the motto of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia; Remember the dead and fight like hell for the living.
This is published in the public interest, particularly that of the Vietnam Veteran Community. All information presented here is fact and the truth. Reports from private citizens are supported by statements of fact and statutory declarations.