5RAR Tiger Logo Nui Dat

Tentage in the early days at Nui Dat

Accommodation June/July 1966

A couple strands of Concertina barbed wire, locked in place by star pickets was the only obstacle between the soldiers of 5RAR and the enemy in the early days securing Nui Dat.
Re-supply was next to non-existent and in his excellent article "Vietnam 1966-67"on this website, the second-in-command Stan Maizey wrote:

we had no replacement clothing, boots and webbing, the Tropical Studded boots had provided nourishment for the rubber ants, the clothing had succumbed to wear and tear and could not be replaced, while we took all webbing from the administrative elements we could only put about two-thirds of the fighting troops into an operation. During a visit by Commander Aust Force Vietnam (AFV), Maj Gen Ken Mackay, the CO was wearing a very tattered and torn shirt, ... when the Commander learned of our plight he scoured the Headquarters Q Store and we received about 100 sets of greens and a box of webbing.
     Many of the soldiers were not in tents because the new tents arrived without tent poles, an RAAF C130 transport aircraft due to bring poles arrived full of toilet paper, the good ship HMAS Jeparit arrived with many stores crates empty, one could only construe there was perhaps sabotage somewhere?
     Food became our next major concern, the Australian combat ration was not readily available and we were forced to use unsatisfactory US combat rations. When the Battalion was due to return from operations we would order fresh rations, but most of the time the arrival of fresh rations would signal a need for the Battalion to return to operations. As there was a delay in the installation of cool rooms these rations would quickly become inedible. Indeed, the CO received, in August, a bill for $25,000 for excess rations (these were the fresh rations that had been written off by the RMO and QM) As well, one soldier asked the CO not to order fresh rations because with their arrival the Battalion would be ordered back onto operations.
   Towards the end of July 1966, the fresh ration system broke down completely and we were forced to eat frankfurts and sweet corn, three meals per day seven days per week for about five weeks, we had them baked, boiled, fried, grilled and minced, I even sent the WO Caterer to Dalat to buy some fresh vegetables using money from Regimental Funds. The stupidity of the system was the repeated delivery of some fresh rations and ice cream when the Battalion was on operations and there was no refrigeration.