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Australian Army Training Team Vietnam Memorial Tree

Across the Shrine’s 13-hectare Reserve are more than 320 trees. They are dedicated to the memory of our military units, battalions, squadrons and ships. They are a living a reminder of the thousands who have served and sacrificed in war, peacekeeping and peacemaking. 

This tree is a Populus x canadensis, commonly known as a Golden Poplar or Canadian Poplar. This tree can live a long time – there is one at the Royal Botanical Gardens across the road that is over 117 years old. 

The Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) was a specialist unit of military advisers sent to provide training and support to the South Vietnamese forces in 1962. At the start it was 30 men – a mixture of officers, sergeants and warrant officers. The unit was split up and assigned to train a variety of groups around Vietnam. Some went to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam or the indigenous communities in the mountains; others went to work with the South Vietnamese Civil Guard.

As the war escalated in 1965, AATTV members found themselves teaching skills in the heat of battle. The team was also expanding and by 1971 had grown to 224 members. For many who served in this team, it was an isolating experience as they often worked alone or in small groups dispersed right across the country. When Australia and the United States began to withdraw troops, the AATTV focussed on preparing Vietnamese units to fight without the support of Allies. The last members of the AATTV left in December 1972 – a little over 10 years after they had first arrived in Vietnam. 

The AATV is believed to be the most decorated Australian unit to serve in Vietnam. Its members received over 100 decorations, including 4 Victoria crosses, during its existence.  

A tree and plaque were dedicated at the Shrine on 9 September 1998.  

Learn more:

Watch the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam Commemorative Broadcast

Listen to the little known story of the Australia Army Training Team Vietnam

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