Geoff Hazel - Bitterness towards the RSL and media

Running time
2 min 37 sec
Date made
Copyright
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Transcript

When I came home the first time, there was only one good Vietnamese and that was the one I had in my sights. Now going back there and living with them working with them and to getting to know them. Yeah, we should have been. They needed that extra support because you can't defend a whole country when somebody can pick off wherever they want to hit. So yeah, I got to know them. and I still see some of them here every now and then. You did not feel good that we were being pulled out not having finished the job.

Probably the worst was, I mean, I had an absolute hatred of Australian media because they played it the wrong way. I mean, the Tet Offensive was a magnificent victory on our part. Probably if you want to compare it to something in World War Two, it's the Battle of the Bulge where a surprise attack has an initial benefit and then it was an absolute defeat. The Tet offensive was exactly the same, but in the media back home all it was portrayed as was a victory for the VC.

Well, no, they didn’t win, they got pushed out of everywhere they took and they lost 1000s in that offensive, and in fact, the VC after that virtually ceased to exist. From there on, we were fighting North Vietnamese Regulars, who were very well-trained soldiers, very well trained. Yeah. So yeah, it didn't help the tour and to add a little bit, when I was in Wagga between the tours on Anzac Day, we marched as a unit, the veterans marched in uniform in the Anzac Day Parade in Wagga and then were refused entry into the RSL.

Did not go down very well at all. So, yeah, we were bitter that we weren't recognized, we were never defeated. And yet, they told us we lost the war. Well, sorry, no, we didn't lose the war. You lost the war back here in the Politics and the media.

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