Dr John Edward Taske 8 Field Ambulance and 1 Field Hospital RAAMC interviewed by Greg Swanborough for 'The sharp end'

Place Asia: Vietnam, Phuoc Tuy Province, Nui Dat
Accession Number F10638
Collection type Film
Measurement 9 min 55 sec
Object type To be confirmed
Physical description 16mm/colour (Eastman)/sound
Maker The Notion Picture Company Pty Limited
Taske, John Edward
Swanborough, Greg
Place made Australia: Queensland, Brisbane
Date made 2 June 1992
Access Open
Conflict Period 1990-1999
Vietnam, 1962-1975

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright

Copying Provisions Copy provided subject to permission from copyright holder

Captain, 1Field Regiment 22 April 1966 to 5 January, 1967. 5RAR 6 January 1967 to 31 January 1967.
1Field Regiment 12 May 1967 to 12 may 1967. Scene 12, Take 1: Describes first impressions of Vietnam as underdeveloped, poor and primitive. Joined the task force on 16 June 1966 where conditions were uncomfortable, food and accommodation very basic with monsoonal rain and mud, and water filling weapons pits. Scene 16, Take 1: Deployment to Nui Dat, Task Force Headquarters, RMO Artillery regiment for 6 months, 5RAR for 2.5 months and 6RAR for 2.5 months. 1 month with 8th Field Ambulance which later became 1 Field Hospital. Scene 16, Take 2: Conditions at Nui Dat as bad as field ambulance at Vung Tan – poor supplies, accommodation and tentage. Hospital needed to be relocated because of flooding from rising water table. Eventually logistics improved (mention of wharf restrictions in Australia) and it became one of the best hospitals in Vietnam. The Government back home expected a field ambulance to cater for the whole 8,000 men. It took six months before it was realised a full hospital facility was needed. Take explains that a Field Ambulance unit only provides basic first aid, resuscitation until casualty can reach a filed hospital. The Australians were supposed to connect with American hospital facilities but this proved unsatisfactory. There was great relief among the troops when Australian hospital facility was set up. Scene 16, Take 3: Mines are fearsome weapons and some of the injuries incurred from them are horrific. Taske describes the injuries of a young Lieutenant who’d stepped on a mine and was flown in by helicopter. This was unusual as most casualties with his scale of injury would have died in the field. Scene 16, Take 4: Battle casualties only account for 10%, the rest are treated for disease from unclean and humid conditions such as whole-body tinea, boils, heat rash and malaria. There are also injuries from trips and falls and in one instance, a truck turning over. Scene 16, Take 5: Vietnam is similar to jungle fighting in Second World War. He describes the physical exhaustion from carrying heavy medical packs, working into the night on casualties, and the noise of the battle kept men awake at night. Taske saw 70% of battle injuries before the helicopters took them to hospitals. The most important medical equipment was the intravenous trips for resuscitation used to administer concentrated albumen or plasma. Basic resuscitation meant stopping any bleeding and deterioration of casualty until they could reach a hospital. After they’d been in the field as short time, stretcher bearers and medics in the field were very capable at administering first aid such as bandaging to stopping haemorrhages, splinting and care of chest wounds.