An Australian Christmas while serving overseas in the Vietnam War
Serving overseas during conflicts, away from family and friends, is not easy. At certain times of the year, such as Christmas, it can be even more challenging. Now, imagine back to a time without email, mobile phones and video calls. Letters to and from home were very important during the Vietnam War. Newer technologies, such as audio tapes and television programs, also helped. Two Australian veterans of the Vietnam War shared their personal reflections of an unusual Christmas in the hot jungle.
Yes, we got Christmas mail and I got a Christmas cake and a couple of little presents in the mail and parcels and little knick knacks. It was nice to receive it over there.
[Edward Miskiewicz, Australian Vietnam veteran]
But we ended up getting a Christmas lunch brought out to us in a helicopter and we had cold turkey and salad and a bun and a hot beer and a soft drink. It was different. We took pictures of each other and we got the shaving cream out of the special pack and put fake snow on our hoochies and hung a few things around and had a few smokes. I think the officer brought around coffee and rum to serve the troops and I had never had rum before and I couldn't drink coffee, so I had a cup of tea with rum in it.
[Wayne Brown, Australian Vietnam veteran]
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Look at some old newsclips about Australian troops spending Christmas in Vietnam:
- 1966 Vietnam Christmas, The Canberra Times, 20 December, p12. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article106953071
- 1967 GREETINGS FROM BOYS IN VIETNAM, The Australian Women's Weekly, 27 December, p17. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47472309
- 1968 Tinsel gifts in Vietnam, The Canberra Times, 20 December, p11. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136962247
- 1969 MESSAGES FROM VIETNAM, The Australian Women's Weekly, 31 December, p19. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article44027573
- 1970 FOR CHRISTMAS IN VIETNAM, The Biz, 23 December, p3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article195857294
Watch these old video messages: