About the Book
The book ‘21 Platoon’ describes the army experiences of 40 Australian medical professionals who were conscripted during the time of the Vietnam War, the first being called up in the conscription ballots in 1965.
Nearly every individual wrote a memoir of their time in the army and included a short description of their subsequent professional career. Many of the memoirs are quite frank and are unedited except for a few grammatical corrections. Their honesty adds to the interest of the book.
The book follows the group's induction in 1970 to Puckapunyal to form the fabled 21st platoon of the 20 platoon Recruit Training Battalion (RTB), and then the Officer Training Course and finally, each individual’s experiences in their postings to South Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Malaysia and various units throughout Australia.
Taken as a whole, the book provides a good description of society and politics in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s and attitudes to conscription and the Vietnam War. The 285 pages of text and photographs provide an interesting insight into the workings of the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps (RAAMC) both overseas and in Australia during that period.