334 Armed Helicopter Team embroidered patch : D S Gibbons, Photojournalist

Place Asia: Vietnam, South Vietnam
Accession Number REL33500
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Badge
Physical description Cotton
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1967 - 1970
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Shield shaped patch encapsulated in plastic with a buttonhole loop. The title 'ARMED HELICOP TEA' sits over a red shield with '334' and a depiction of a Bell Huey helicopter, surmounting a scroll with 'FIRST WITH GUNS' over a pair of crossed sabres with the initials UT T.

History / Summary

Born in Sydney in 1937, Denis Gibbons had undertaken army training and work as a news photographer in Sydney before he arrived in Vietnam in January 1966. For the next five years, Gibbons recorded the tours of nine Australian infantry battalions for Fairfax press and United Press International. Australian readers could regularly view his photographic essays in People magazine. In all, he took tens of thousands of black-and-white and colour photographic that together provide a very comprehensive view of the activities undertaken by Australians during the war.
The extended period spent by Gibbons in Vietnam was highly unusual among Australian photographers. Most official photographers and other photojournalists tended to spend just a few days photographing an operation before moving on. They were also based in Saigon, a city that remained far removed from the gritty reality of the war. However, Gibbons lived at the 1st Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat and was able to spend months with a particular unit. In this way he could record all areas of the work of Australians in great detail.
Gibbons was flown out of Vietnam in November 1970, after being wounded when an Armoured Personnel Carrier he was travelling in hit an enemy mine; he was wounded six times over the course of his five years in Vietnam.