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Australian Infantryman's Combat Badge
The Hoa Long Dance

© Roger Lambert
Platoon Commander
9 Platoon, C Company,
2nd Tour

Author: Roger Lambert


How many C Company members, or for that matter Battalion members, recall the infamous “Hoa Long Dance”? And more importantly, how many fell for the ruse?

As many veterans would recall, Hoa Long was an actual Vietnamese village down the road from the Task Force base. But what about the dance?

I first became acquainted with the Hoa Long Dance on the Battalion Advance Party in 1969.

Our 1RAR hosts took great relish in describing the dance which was reputedly held each Saturday night in Hoa Long. And the description of the dance was done with much conviction.

Now for those new in country, any diversion would be a welcome one especially if it involved a dance and women and especially being so recently used to the social scene at home in Australia. What else was a fit, young warrior chomping at the bit to do on a Saturday night in Phuoc Tuy Province?

Hoa Long Dance SignAs I recall, the requirement was to get dressed in civvies and assemble on the main road leading into the Battalion area. At an appointed time, a bus would reputedly come along to pick up the assembled group, suitably attired in civvies, and take them into Hoa Long for the dance. The bus would then return to Hoa Long later that evening and bring the group back to Nui Dat at the conclusion of the dance.

Too good an opportunity to miss? Apparently so as I’m told that those with ‘a few days and a wakey’ took great delight in covertly watching this group of newbies, dressed in civvies, assemble at the appointed time and wait for the bus for Hoa Long ― which of course, never came.

So let’s be honest guys ― how many fell for the ploy? And no, for the record, I wasn’t one of them.

But ― and there’s always one of those ― according to the attached sign, perhaps the dance was not a figment of someone’s vivid imagination? Hmmmm …

Then there was the “Dat Do Dogs” race meeting but of course that’s a similar but other story.

 

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