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.