Possums & Bird Dogs: Australian Army Aviation's 161 Reconnaissance Flight in South Vietnam

By Peter Nolan | Go to book overview

4
The 1st Australian Task Force

The 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) built on the forces already in country by adding a second infantry battalion, a Special Air Service (SAS) squadron, combat and logistic support units and a squadron of eight Iroquois utility helicopters. Brigadier Owen Jackson was named as Commander, 1ATF. Overall command of the Australian forces would be exercised from Headquarters Australian Forces Vietnam in Saigon by Major General K. Mackay. Operational control of the Australian task force was vested in the American commander of II Field Force Vietnam, who commanded the US formations in the III Corps area which included the Australian task force location in Phuoc Tuy province.

The American commander could assign the task force a Tactical Area of Operational Responsibility (TAOR) in Phuoc Tuy province as well as requiring it to conduct operations anywhere in the South Vietnamese Army Corps II and III Tactical Zones as agreed by the Australian commander and the commander of the US Military Assistance Command Vietnam (USMACV), General Westmoreland. In simple terms, the Australians would have a good deal of autonomy within their own area of responsibility but could be called upon, after consultation, to move outside their boundaries in support of Allied operations. The task force was not expected to operate in isolation.

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