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Australian Jungle Fighters Arrive in Vietnam

Aug. 3, 1962 - A battle-hardened team of Australian jungle fighters arrived in Saigon today to train South Vietnam’s forces in the newest anti-guerrilla tactics. Thirty Australian Army officers and enlisted specialists will show Government troops how to carry the war against the Viet Cong into their own domain, the trackless jungles. The Australian commander is Col. Frank P. Serong (pictured), his country’s top expert in jungle warfare. He will be on the staff of Gen. Paul D. Harkins, head of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, as a special advisor on counter-insurgency methods. The Americans have discovered that the average Vietnamese soldier seems to have an almost obsessive fear of the forbidding rain forests where the Viet Cong are at home. “Conventional soldiers tend to think of the jungle as being full of lurking enemies,” Colonel Serong said today. “Under our system, we will do the lurking.” Colonel Serong, who was attached to U.S. forces in New Guinea during World War II, said the guerrilla warfare in South Vietnam was the most intense in his experience. Colonel Serong says troops marching in orderly lines along jungle trails are easy prey for ambushes, land mines, and pit traps armed with steel spikes and sharpened bamboo spears.

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