Batt

Date of Entry: 13/01/2017
Surname: Batt
Christian Names: Arthur James
Country: Australia
State or Province: NSW
City or Town: Medowie
Service #: 17623
Service: Army
Branch: Infantry
Commencement of service: Unknown
Completion of service: Unknown
Case Notes:

 

Many services were conducted throughout Australia and New Zealand this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, a significant conflict in Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

 

The picture below was taken at such a service, conducted in the small Hunter Valley town of Medowie. Arthur Batt, a local Vietnam veteran is reading a poem during that service.

 

Batt 1 2

 

Batt was a member of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.

In early 1965, the Australian Government agreed to dispatch an infantry battalion to South Vietnam. The leading troops of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR), landed on 3 June in a chartered Qantas aircraft. This was the first use of Qantas charters to move troops into (and out of) South Vietnam, and ‘skippy flights’, as they came to be known, would continue at regular intervals almost until the end of Australia’s commitment to the war. Another significant event occurred on 8 June, when the transport ship (converted aircraft carrier) HMAS Sydney, with destroyer escort HMAS Parramatta and HMAS Duchess, arrived at Vung Tau on the first of what became regular naval logistical support operations.

 

1RAR, the only infantry battalion deployed to Vietnam that was comprised wholly of regular troops, was deployed in Bien Hoa with the US 173rd Airborne Brigade. It was soon built up to a battalion group with artillery, armoured personnel carriers, army aviation and logistical support units. The battalion group saw some heavy fighting, suffering twenty-three men killed during its one-year tour of duty.

For their involvement, they were awarded the US Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, the citation reads:

 

By the direction of the Secretary of the Army, the Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to the 1st BATTALION, ROYAL AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT GROUP for exceptionally meritorious achievement in the performance of outstanding service:

The 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, distinguished itself in the conduct of military operation in the Republic of Vietnam from 5 May 1965 to 16 May 1966 while attached to the173rd Airborne Brigade(Separate) of the United States Army.  As the first ground combat unit in-country, the 173rd Airborne Brigade and its assigned and attached units conducted extensive combat manoeuvres in the Bien Hoa area and in the Viet Cong strongholds of War Zone D and the Iron Triangle during the period 5 May 1965 to 4 May 1967.  In every confrontation with the stubborn insurgents, the 173rd Airborne Brigade displayed marked aggressiveness which enabled them to neutralize enemy strongholds and capture thousands of logistical items.  In addition to remarkable skill and tenacity in combat, the sky soldiers of the brigade carried on an extensive civic action program characterised by sincere compassion for the   suppressed local populace.  During each of the brigade's combat operations, the sky soldiers immeasurably aided the allied counterinsurgency effort by winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people.  The remarkable proficiency and devotion to duty displayed by the members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect distinct credit upon themselves, the Armed Forces of the United States, and the Armed Forces of Australian and New Zealand.

The Unit Citation, as shown below, can be worn with pride by those members of 1RAR.

Batt 2

1RAR was relieved by the First Australian Task Force (1ATF) during May-June 1966. It returned to Australia in June.

 

Batt 3

 

After the Medowie memorial service, Batt was photographed and appeared in an online media publication, “News of The Area”. For those of you who have read this article, it refers to Batt having been involved in the Battle of Long Tan, this has been identified as an error on behalf of the reporter, the fact being Batt left Vietnam before this event. This is supported by the below extract from the Vietnam Veterans Nominal Roll, which is available in the public domain.

 

Batt Retraction

 

 

Batt 4

 

In the previous photograph, Batt is wearing the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (RVCM).

The RVCM was issued by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam for service in the prescribed area of operations in Vietnam during the period commencing on 31 July 1962 and ending on 28 March 1973 for Australian personnel.

 

Batt 5

The Australian Government authorised this medal to be awarded to Australian servicemen and women and, like any award, there is a qualifying criteria.

The Australian government maintained the basic qualifying criteria specified by the Republic of Vietnam for allied troops. To be eligible for the medal a person must have completed a minimum period of 181 days, either continuous or aggregated, unless:

-        killed on active service (KIA);

-        wounded in action i.e. classified as a Battle Casualty and evacuated as a result of those wounds; or

-        captured and later released or escaped.

Medical evacuation from the area of operations for any reasons other than wounds received in action does not constitute an exemption from meeting the minimum qualifying period.

Accordingly, for Batt, the evidence is in, namely:

-        He returned to Australia, along with his Unit, from Vietnam on 01 Jul 1966;

-        He served a total of 173 days in Vietnam; and

-        He was not a casualty of that conflict.

In summary, Batt is not entitled to wear the RVCM. Surely, like all others who have served in the defence forces, Batt understands there are rules and regulations, they are there for a reason and they are ‘black and white’.

To conduct yourself with such disrespect to fellow Veterans, aggravated by the fact you did it on such an occasion, namely the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, is quite disgraceful and has earned you a place on ANZMI with your fellow fraudsters and honour thieves.

 

Located in: Medal Cheats
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