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December 17, 2012, 08:34


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Vietnam 1966 -1967

2 Field Ambulance Vung Tau

A field ambulance (Fd Amb) is a highly mobile unit whose role was the rapid collection of the sick and wounded, the rendering of essential first aid treatment to casualties, their preparation and classification for further disposal and completion of documentation. A field ambulance has no surgical capacity.

In May 1966 2 Fd Amb deployed to South Vietnam augmented with a field surgical team and accompanied by 33 Dental Treatment Section. This was the first occasion an Australian Medical Unit had deployed on active service since World War 2.

Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Bill Rogers, the Unit deployed to sand hills of Vung Tau. Despite being under strength, it established a capability that could receive and treat surgical cases directly from the battlefield. The Unit also provided a forward detachment to the 1st Australian Task Force at Nui Dat.

Officers and soldiers, when not on duty attending to the sick and wounded were employed with infrastructure construction and development, under the supervision of the Unit Carpenter and tradesmen from 17 Construction Regiment, RAE in activities including pouring concrete and carpentry. During its tour in Vietnam no members of the RAANC served in the Unit.

2 Fd Amb returned to Puckapunyal after being relieved by 8 Fd Amb in South Vietnam in 1967. The Unit later moved to Townsville in 1968. In the mid 70s the Unit was was removed from the order of battle (orbat) but returned to the orbat for a short period only to again be disbanded and reform as a Health Company and sub-unit of the 3rd Brigade Administrative Support Battalion.

The Brigade Administrative Support Battalions were subsequently renamed Combat Service Support Battalions in the mid 90s. The Health Company of the 3rd Combat Services Support Battalion has been designated 2nd Health Company establishing its linage to the 2nd Field Ambulance.

Early History

The 2 Fd Amb was raised in Puckapunyal; Victoria in 1917. Along with the 1st, and 3rd Field Ambulances were organic to the 1st Division (AIF).

During World War 1, the 2 Fd Amb landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, the Unit also served withChopper landing on Vampire Pad distinction on the western Front at the Somme, Hindenburg, Ypres, Pozieres and Hazebrouk.
During World War 2 the 2 Fd Amb (2nd AIF) saw service in Bardia, Greece, Crete, Tobruk, Benghazi, Derna, Aitape, Syria, Milne Bay and Wewak.

Following its reformation after World War 2 in 1952, the Unit was integral in the establishment of the School of Army Health at Healesville, north of Melbourne on the former privately owned “Summerleigh Lodge”.

For many years the Unit was based at Woodside in the Adelaide Hills, where it provided medical aid for motorists travelling the Nullarbor on the anticipated heavy road traffic to Perth for the Empire Games in 1962. As it was the only Regular Army Unit in South Australia at the time the Units duties also included frequent ceremonial activies. The Unit provided the Royal Guard of Honour for the HM The Queen Mother on her visit as well as many other ceremonial activities with visiting dignitaries.
Prior to the establishment of the School of Army Health the Unit was involved in Medical Assistant/Orderly Training.

After WW2 the Unit provided medical support to infantry battalions and other units during the Korean War and Asian Conflicts, with a detachment provided to the 16th Commonwealth Field Ambulance in Malaya.

Following its reformation after World War 2 in 1952, the Unit was integral in the establishment of the School of Army Health at Healesville, north of Melbourne on the former privately owned “Summerleigh Lodge”.

The Unit returned to Puckapunyal in the early 60’s and was located in “S” Block, under the knoll affectionately known by those who lived there as “Tit Hill”.

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