Danger Close

Danger Close Long Tan Movie Vietnam War Travis Fimmel Australian Army 1966

I had the opportunity to attend a special screening of Danger Close – The Battle of Long Tan last night with some Vietnam veterans (including my father) and other members of the Australian Defence Force. They actually had a counsellor there just in case, and now I understand why – it was quite the experience.

Long Tan is the best-known battle Australia (and New Zealand) fought in the Vietnam War, but I was still amazed both by the quality of the movie, and the actors in it. The “face” of the movie is Major Harry Smith, played by Travis Fimmel, of Vikings fame.

In the 1960s my father was an armoured personnel carrier driver stationed in Nui Dat, which is the base under attack in the movie. He later fought another major battle only a few kilometres from the base: Binh Ba, which had its fiftieth anniversary this year.

It was amazing to see people my father knows portrayed on the big screen, and to know people who consulted on the film.

I would strongly recommend this movie, as long as you’re prepared for it. It’s very confronting, and that much sadder because none of it is fiction.

Hey – Australians!

Batlle of Binh Ba Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Canberra Australia 5th June 2019

Everyone in Australia: at 2pm tomorrow the 50th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Binh Ba – a major battle in the Vietnam War – are going to be broadcast live on television from Canberra, and then repeated the day after.

My father has played a huge part in organising this event, and hundreds of soldiers, past and present, are flying in to participate. My parents are in the official party, and will be obvious on TV, and I’ll be sitting… somewhere…! We’ve all been too busy to finalise this.

Afterwards, there’s a function at the Australian War Memorial, and then there’s a huge dinner tomorrow night, and I’ll be staying at the hotel in the city, because there’s just so much going on!

Vietnam Veterans Day

Today is Vietnam Veterans Day in Australia. Over sixty-thousand Australians served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1972. Here is the Federation Guard marching in Canberra during the Battle of Binh Ba anniversary service in 2009 (you can find it on other sites these days, but it’s actually my mother’s photo).

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Binh Ba was one of Australia’s major victories in the war, and it was one of the last operations my father was part of before returning home.

Christopher Heaney Australian Army Vietnam War 1968 1969 IMG_0078

On this day: the US Embassy Bombing

On the 30th of March, 1965 the United States embassy in Saigon, Vietnam was bombed by the Viet Cong. The attack killed twenty-two people and injured 183 others.

The vehicle containing the bomb held 300 pounds of plastic explosives. Even though it was suggested, US President Lyndon B. Johnson refused to authorise retaliatory raids on North Vietnam.

1965 Embassy bombing 30th March 1965 US Embassy Vietnam.

On this day: The Mỹ Lai Massacre

Vietnamese women and children in Mỹ Lai before being killed in the massacre, March 16, 1968.[13] According to court testimony, they were killed seconds after the photo was taken.

Apparently taken moments before they were killed.

I’m not even going to try and summarise this one. Below is a little bit from an article about it:

Unidentified bodies near burning house. My Lai, Vietnam. March 16, 1968.

The Mỹ Lai Massacre was the Vietnam War mass killing of between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam on March 16, 1968. It was committed by U.S. Army soldiers from the Company C of the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade of the 23rd (America) Infantry Division.

 Photo taken by United States Army photographer Ronald L. Haeberle on March 16, 1968 in the aftermath of the My Lai massacre showing mostly women and children dead on a road.

Women and children killed.

Victims included men, women, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated.

Pfc. Mauro, Pfc Carter, and SP4 Widmer (Carter shot himself in the foot during the My Lai massacre)SP4 Dustin setting fire to dwelling (during the My Lai massacre)

One soldier shot himself in the foot; another sets a building on fire.

Twenty-six soldiers were charged with criminal offences, but only Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a platoon leader in C Company, was convicted.

Found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he was originally given a life sentence, but served only three and a half years under house arrest.