National Servicemen were forced to go to Vietnam. Although the National Service Act mandated that National Servicemen were liable for service in Australia and overseas, this was not always the case in practice. National servicemen, like all soldiers, could apply to remain in Australia on compassionate grounds. Other examples indicate that men who expressed an unwillingness to serve in Vietnam were re-posted by their officers. Decisions of this type, made at unit level, did not always reflect the strict wording of the Act. Some men therefore remember being given the option of at least expressing a desire not to go, others do not. The first national servicemen to serve in Vietnam were members of 5RAR. Here the battalion marches through Sydney before sailing for Vung Tau in April 1966.
Just as former soldiers hold reunions to reminisce about their wartime service and enjoy the company of old comrades, those who were against the war have also come together to recall what, for many, was an exciting time in their lives. Here men who once resisted the draft stand together at the anti-Vietnam War Moratorium 20th Anniversary on 11 May 1990 at the Melbourne Town Hall.