The Tiger Man of Vietnam




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Published on Oct 6, 2009

Just when did Australia enter the Vietnam War? The official record is 1965, when the then prime minister Robert Menzies announced that we would send an infantry battalion to fight in the Vietnamese civil war. But almost three years prior to the formal announcement, Australian army trainers were already working and fighting with local troops. And one officer in particular, Major Barry Petersen, had been seconded by the CIA to train and command a guerrilla force of Montagnard fighters from the Vietnamese hill tribes. Their task was to patrol the hills that covered the Ho Chi Minh Trail, used by the communists to supply their forces in the south. Dubbed the 'Tiger Men' for the uniforms they wore, Petersen's force was very successful, but by 1965 the CIA was threatened by Petersen's growing reputation, and when he refused to follow a CIA plan to create squads of assassins, they wanted him gone.

'The Tiger Man of Vietnam', by author Frank Walker, is published by Hachette Australia

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