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Out of Sight, Out of Mind, the Royal Australian Navy in Vietnam

216 pp, 285 x 210 mm, 50 photos

9781922013491, $29.95, Paperback

John Carroll

Available: Now

Highlights and analyses the vital part played by HMAS Sydney and other units of the RAN in the support of land bases forces in Vietnam.

The perceived absence of enemy threat was the prime factor influencing the Federal Government’s decision to exclude from benefits and entitlements those who served in Sydney, Jeparit and Boonaroo and the warships that escorted them into the war zone.

A flawed decision made on the basis of fallacious information. It was the cause of much bitterness. While Sydney and her escort were at anchor, not only were they vulnerable to an enemy well versed in unconventional guerrilla warfare, but all who served in these ships were also exposed to highly toxic herbicides used to defoliate the nearby landscape.

The residue of this procedure which flowed into the surrounding rivers and streams. Due to the processes used in those times for the production of potable water, the dioxins contained in the distillate were enriched, thereby making them much more potent and deadly.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind identifies and dispels various myths which have developed around the importance of sea transport and logistical support, and argues for a new appreciation of the service of the 13,000 members of the RAN who participated in this vitally important task. Many of the illustrations were taken by serving military personnel which gives them an immediacy and poignancy lacking in official photographs.

The author: John Carroll was apprenticed to the Department of Navy in 1959 at the age of 15 ‘to learn and exercise the art and occupation of Shipwright.’

In 1962 he volunteered for service in the RANR, transferring to full-time service in the RAN in 1966. He then served as a naval shipwright in HMAS Sydney 1967, posted by helicopter to HMAS Yarra 1967–68, returning to Sydney 1972-73. Both ships were deployed on operational service in Vietnamese waters during these periods. He was admitted as an Associate of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects in 1971, and then as an Associate Member in 1989. He is a graduate of Hawthorn Institute of Education (Melbourne University), and Monash University.