Selective Memory

Alan Ramsey makes serious accusations based on a conversation with a now deceased Army Padre. He quotes Gerry Cudmore, padre to 1RAR in 1965, as saying troops had told him of US troops tossing VC suspects out of choppers and handing over female VC to South Vietnam soldiers for death by gang rape. Professor Bunyip solicits my opinion whilst accusing me of being AWOL. Oh – the shame of it! Well not really…I have been AWOL before. I wasn’t there on the 1RAR tour and therefore can’t comment on the accuracy of Ramsey’s memory but I can say this. Either I spent 13 months in a war zone medically unfit for operational service with my eyes and ears not functioning or rampant rape and murder didn’t happen. I think the latter. My Lai happened, Lt Calley was bad. Other attrocities would have happened but not as a rule and certainly not by Australians. Millions of men at war with associated standing down of norms of society would certainly have produced some bad apples but for Ramsey to write his article around heresay smacks of just another anti-war rant. Ramsey says;
I knew him as Padre Gerry Cudmore, then 32, army chaplain with the first Australian combat troops sent to Vietnam 39 years ago. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Menzies government’s formal announcement it was taking us – by deceit and connivance with Washington – into war again, a travesty to be repeated by the Howard Government 38 years later.
Clearly, this man will always have a negative view on any conservative approach to solving world problems but for him to quote an honourable man such as Gerry Cudmore only after Gerry is not in a position to vouch for his words smacks of opportunism. It makes me wonder whether he had any conversations later on about VC attrocities. 1500 people shot in the back of the neck at Hue. Thousands of village officials murdered by the VC after being forced to watch their daughters or wives being raped and then subjected to ‘bayonet masectomies’ as a warning to those who hoped for a democratic Vietnam. I guess not and if he had, he would’ve forgotten – like he forgot Gerry’s name. I served in 1RAR before the Vietnam war and remember Cudmore well. If he was aware of any serious allegations he would have brought it to the notice of authorities but if it was heresay he would simply have mused on the matter, maybe mentioning it in passing to a wide eyed, naive man with a recent degree from the journalist school of left wing mantra. Gerry had a sense of humour and after some association with us soldiers may well have developed our habit of telling ousiders anything to get rid of them. Who knows? At Wagga, over the ANZAC Day weekend, I had some time with friends from 1RAR days and had Ramsey said his peice before ANZAC Day he would’ve had some soldiers looking for explainations. But then we Vietnam Vets are fair game for left wing journalists. We are used to it and think so poorly of them that our time is better spent commemorating the honour of men like Gerry Cudmore.


  • Oh what are we in the U.S. to think… the esteemed Prof. Bunyip is off the air. Leaving only a “The page cannot be displayed” message in his wake!

  • The “pedalling padre” of 1RAR days at Bien Hoa later became the Principal Chaplain of the Australian Army.

    Alan Ramsay’s attempt to put words in the mouth of this deeply respected soldier’s chaplain is nothing short of appalling.

    I know a few blokes who wouldn’t mind having a little chat with Mr Ramsay over his remarks.

  • Chris Josephson

    I was a couple years shy of being able to serve in Vietnam. Had cousins who did, though. Also have friends who served.

    I don’t know ANYONE who ever witnessed the types of things Mr. Ramsey claims were widespread.

    Did attrocities happen? Yes. They were the exception and not the norm. The harm that was done to the Vietnam-era soldiers by calling them all ‘baby killers’ has been enormous.

    The people I know who served in Nam never spoke of their service to anyone, unless they knew that person really well. They were insulted when they returned. They were spat upon when they returned. These were young men who had seen their best buddies blown up and when they returned had to take crap from people who believed they murdered innocent women and children on a daily basis.

    It’s time to put the lies to rest. Time to stop painting all the soldiers who served over there the same. There *were* bad soldiers, just as there were in WWII and all other wars. They were NOT the MAJORITY.

    (PS: I’m from the US. I assume the Australian soldiers had the same experiences my relatives and friends did.)

  • Ramsey is a fool. Better to be thought of as an idiot, than to open one’s mouth and prove it. I am really failing to see what Ramsey hopes to achieve with his little diatribe over alleged atrocities in Vietnam. As has been detailed elsewhere, why drag this out now? If it is of such import, why didn’t Alan “Lion Heart” Ramsey go straight to Task Force HQ and ask some pointed questions. 4 DECADES after the event and it comes out now?
    The man is a dickhead.