“We paid our way.”

By Ernie Chamberlain

Vietnam: Australia paid its own way: In mid-July 2018, I assisted a former Aust Int Corps colleague and author/historian – Lex McAulay (ex-1RAR 1965-66; Aust Embassy; Div Int Unit) on his detailed – and lengthy (35-page), article on Australia “Paying Our Way” financially during the War. Lex’s work noted: “As you probably know, at hearings in Washington, Senator Fullbright testified: ‘no one except the Australians and the New Zealanders pays for its own troops.’ ” The “Larsen and Collins” book on “Allied Participation in Vietnam” acknowledges that Australia reimbursed the US for equipment and support. The Chester Cooper book: “The Last Crusade” (1979) notes: “the only non-mercenary third country allies we had in Vietnam were Australia and New Zealand.” Chester Cooper was ex-CIA and a member of the US National Security Council 1963-64. A couple of years ago, I reviewed the HQ AFV monthly reports that detailed our reimbursement payments to the US – ie for fuel, rations, accommodation, use of support aircraft, ammunition (SA and 105mm rounds etc), M16s, PRC-25s, batteries, R&R travel – etc. Lex’s article concluded: “The total above is US$54,139,402.21, and does not include amounts for 1971 or those paid to the GVN.” My earlier crude calculations had suggested that we reimbursed about USD 255 million to the US. Perhaps, we should have had “We paid our way” engraved on the back of our medals!!


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