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Word Count: 973
Australian support for South Vietnam in the early 1960s was in keeping with the policies of other nations particularly the United States to stem the spread of communism in Europe and Asia In 1961 and in 1962 Ngo Dinh Diem leader of the government in South Vietnam repeatedly requested assistance from the US and its allies to improve its security Australia eventually responded with 30 military advisers dispatched as the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam known as the Team Their arrival in South Vietnam during July and August 1962 was the beginning of Australias involvement in the war in Vietnam By early 1965 when it had become clear that South Vietnam could not stave off the communist insurgents and their North Vietnamese comrades for more than a few months the US commenced a major escalation of the war and by the end of the year it had committed 200000 troops to the conflict As part of the build up the US government requested further support from friendly countries in the region including Australia The Australian government dispatched the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment 1 RAR in June 1965 to serve alongside the US 173rd Airborne Brigade in Bien Hoa province The following year the Australian governments concern grew to the point where it felt that if Australia were involved in the conflict its presence should be both strong and identifiable In March 1966 the government announced the dispatch of a taskforce to replace 1 RAR consisting of two battalions and support services to be based at Nui Dat Phouc Tuy province Unlike 1 RAR the taskforce was assigned its own area of operations and included conscripts who had been called up under the National Service Scheme introduced in 1964 All nine battalions of RAR served in the taskforce at one time or another before it was withdrawn in 1971 at the height of Australian involvement it numbered some 8500 troops
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