Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Military Conscription 101 (for those who weren't there)

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by hornet, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. The subject of Australia's military conscription during the years of the Vietnam War has been discussed of late, so I thought I might do a brief primer on the subject, having been a conscript myself and therefore having an experienced viewpoint.

    Conscription was introduced in 1964 and abolished by the new Whitlam Government in December 1972. During that time 63,735 men served in the Australian Military Forces as conscripts and 19,450 of them served in Vietnam.

    Conscription was based on a birth-date ballot and was for two years with a further three years on the Active Reserve Listing. (Being an identical twin, and therefore having been born on the same day as my brother in 1949, in 1969 we were both called up!)

    As conscription was progressing, the Army continued to receive a steady stream of regular, enlisted soldiers. Typically these were 18 year olds and a little older. Many conscripts, however, were involved in higher education and trade training at the date of their consciption and were able to access deferrment until such course(s) were complete. The result of this was that the average "nasho" was vastly better educated and older (typically around 22-24 years old) than his regular Army counterpart. In this scenario, the Army had a golden era of receiving a glut of fully-qualified tradesmen and academics, whose training had cost them not one red cent. These men were immediately upon completion of Basic Training (which was the same for everyone, including "conshies" (conscientious objectors)) drafted in to the ranks of NCOs and trainers, to make use if their varied skills.

    On completion of Basic Training, soliders were given a Corps Allocation interview, at which they were allowed, within certain constraints, to choose their career path in the normal ranks. The reality was, of course, that nearly 80% went straight into the Infantry, as the biggest Corps, and the rest fought over what was left. In this scenario, most regs went into Infantry, being mostly untrained and having no trade skills. A proportion of the nashos also were allocated to Infantry, the majority of these being the 20-year-olds who had not had deferrement for educational and trade reasons, and who therefore were in the same 'basket' as most of the regs.

    During the time of the actual conflict in Vietnam, (bearing in mind that the AATTV and SAS were in the country long before our official committment of troops, and long after) all regs went to Vietnam if their unit was deployed there. Nashos in these units were give the choice of going or not, and, as I have pointed out and at least two other people have verified, that choice was respected. Many chose to go, not because of moral pressure, as has been suggested, but because of the financial advantages of haveing done overseas service.

    At least part of the Save our Sons campaign was based on a lie, that Conscripts were sent to Vietnam against their will. This lie suited the broader political pressure these people were seeking to mount. Those of us who were in uniform at the time knew it was a lie, but we had no political voice beyond the ballot box.

    I might perhaps also address the Conscientious Objection situation, but not yet.
  2. Hmmm I don't understand. I thought if you were conscripted that was it, you had no choice unless you were a conscientious objector? How did they have a choice? I assume my did that deferring thing, as he went in after he'd finished his degree and avoiding being with the grunts as he was an engineer (in 69).
  3. That's interesting to know, I didn't know that very important "little detail". Thanks. (Should this be in off-topic? Dunno)
  4. yahoo!! the thread is on again, so i can double post my answer.. :LOL:
    (for those who were there)

    Conscription (compulsory military service for young men) has been with us on and off since federation, not just 1964 but: 1903-1929, 1939-1959, 1964-1972.

    There was no law or approved army practice that gave the option to the conscripts to go or not to Vietnam. It was left on the goodwill of their commanding officers to send them or not. Meaning, if your commanding officer was a bastard and he was in need of more bodies and if the conscript was uneducated and too shy to speak up, he would end up in Vietnam.(like an Aussie Forrest Gump)

    There were probably few who were actually forced to go to Vietnam... Nashos have claimed that they had no option but to go…Every Nasho could have avoided service in Vietnam but that exercising the option might require some radical action like joining the Communist party of Australia, becoming a practising homosexual or assaulting one's own platoon commander.
  5. This

    All national servicemen were liable for military service in Australia and overseas, or 'special overseas service', while with the Army full-time. Officially, national servicemen could not be posted according to their wishes and therefore could not choose whether or not they served in Vietnam, although a national serviceman could apply to his commanding officer to remain in Australia on compassionate grounds. The general impression given by serving Army officers at the time is that more national servicemen were keen to serve in Vietnam than were needed, and that those unwilling to serve there were transferred to units serving only in Australia. Commanding officers were understandably reluctant to have any soldier who actively opposed participation in the war and who therefore might be a danger to other members of the unit. For most of the war the Government denied that this practice existed. In September 1971, with the level of Australian involvement in Vietnam decreasing markedly, the Minister for the Army, Andrew Peacock, stated that although national servicemen would continue to be sent to Vietnam, they would not be compelled to go.9

    .. is nowhere close to this ....

    There was no law or approved army practice that gave the option to the conscripts to go or not to Vietnam. It was left on the goodwill of their commanding officers to send them or not. Meaning, if your commanding officer was a bastard and he was in need of more bodies and if the conscript was uneducated and too shy to speak up, he would end up in Vietnam.

    It's fine to quote a web-site, but it's best to read it first.

    And the title of the thread is "For those who weren't there", implying, of ocurse, that I was. An ounce of experience is worth a ton of argument....
  6. It's exactly the same, :p :p :p
    The expression is an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure
    But if you like to play, a ton of years is worth an ounce of logic
    How about this quote? do you thing it rings true?
    :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
  7. How about this quote, from King Solomon...

    "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be made like unto him"

    I should have stuck with my resolve not to discuss this further; I have completely proved my assertions, and there IS nothing more to say, except to state again, I was there.......
  8. How about this quote:
    "My loneliness is killing me, I must confess, I still believe"
  9. It's exactly the same??? Not!

    Supernego, I hope your assignments and essays are better constructed and layed out mate.

    You are sawing sawdust over an academic moot point regarding a nasho's choice. I think Hornet has clearly demonstrated that a greater discretion was applied, but that the enticements encouraged nasho's to go overseas.
  10. Hornet, don't back off now,mate. There are many good netriders who are probably interested. Thanx to Gough I missed it all by 3 years, but having known many Vets, I don't think that it is something that shouldbe glossed over or forgotten. Susuzuki will also have a point of view, having marched in the moratorium rallies in Melb, all those years ago. I didn't expect to see this stuff, on what is ostensibly a motorcycle forum, but if we forget our history, then we are destined to repeat it. Carry on Hornet. If you don't want to, I will interrogate the shit out of you when next we meet.
  11. Yep i'm with Rog, keep going Paul.

    As the other thread says age does not mean your wise, but then neither does youth, youth normaly means your a wiseass :p

    Wisdom is partly knowing how to listen and understand the opinions of people with more experiance.

    And for all the people that dont like Nasho have a read of Starship troopers (the movie does NOT reflect the book) and may be it will give you something to contemplate about nasho and out voting system.
  12. It's exactly the same, word 4 word :p

    Most of you oldies have no idea what individual freedoms are.
    Just because 99% did not go to Vietnam against their will does not make it right.
    Because there was no law to protect the 1% or the 0.0001% who did went.
    This is what democracy is about: the freedom of one is equal with the freedom of many.

    I spent time and looked in government sites for the truth and they say that there was no law, no box to tick on a form of yes or no. Sites with witnesses of people who didn't know they had a choice, so they ended up in vietnam. You have just sat back on your chair and said, no it ain't so cause i'm old and i know stuff..
    Well, good on ya, them.. :wink:

    You have my opinion, i have yours
    You have my evidence, i have none of yours
    If the earth is still flat for you, make sure you don't fall over!!!

    How about this quote:
    Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps
    Sample a look back you look and find
    Nothing but rednecks for 200 years if you check
    Don't worry be happy
    Was a number one jam

  13. Please don't tell me I just read that???

    Supernego, AFAIK, you are about to be put in the same corner as Dstump. A good person, occasionaly has an amazing insight, but for the most part, lives on a planet of their own and much of what is said should be taken with a grain of salt.

    You might have a point to make, but being offensiveness or derogatory does not stop just because you use an emoticon.

  14. No that's not democracy young man!

    The essence of democracy is unlimited majority rule. It is the notion that the government should not be constrained, as long as its behavior is sanctioned by majority vote. It is the notion that the very function of government is to implement the "will of the people." ie Mob Rule!

    Freedom exists when there are limitations on government, imposed by the principle of individual rights. But if "popular will" were the standard, the individual would have no rights--only temporary privileges, granted or withdrawn according to the mass mood of the moment.

    So individual rights are not equal with a democracy, you can still have individual rights under a monarch. What happens when a democratically elected government imposes sharia?

    Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose. :?
  15. Run out of arguments so you are gonna send me in the naughty corner ? :LOL:
  16. I don't disagree you old man, not at all. The context of what i said was that if all the vets went according to their will in Vietnam but one, lets say hornet, was forced to go, as there was no law to protect him, that would be a failure in democracy. If hornet, just one of the 20000, end up killing someone against his will, that would be undemocratic..
  17. Oh please, you are not serious :roll:

    Who said it was rite??

    No thats YOUR definition of democracy

    first you say the government lies then you use govenment sites to try and justify your opinion, which is it?? you cant have your cake and eat it to.

    Beware the net youg fella not all published on it is the truth.

    No he says "this was my experiance and i was there" and as such he has a better knowledge of what actualy happened than some one that wasnt there.

    What you have is NOT evidence, do not ever in life confuse opinions or things published as proof especialy if there on the net. if some research shows that X is true then go and check the reserchers evidence, look for things like:
    who paid for the research
    what political or idealogical bias does the resercher have
    Check the statistics
    did they have a predetermined mind set for any reason
    check, check and tripple check
  18. Supernego, no no no individual freedom does not equal democracy! Your argument is so flawed it's not funny. If hornet ended up killing someone against his will because it was the will of the government then that is democracy as it is the will of the people. It may go against indivdual freedom but not against mob rule. :roll:
  19. Mate, you didn't even care looking the sites i quoted, did ya?
    The Australian War Memorial and the ANZAC commemoration committee
    are both credible, official and not confused at all..
    Here are they again for your convinience..
    You are welcome
  20. Can anyone comment on what it was actually like to be stationed in Australia having chosen not to go to Vietnam?

    I know my dad was conscripted and served as a medic in (or near) Townsville and that he a conscientious objector, but I don't really know the details.