US Lightweight Rucksack and frame : D S Gibbons, Photojournalist

Place Asia: Vietnam, South Vietnam
Accession Number REL33521
Collection type Technology
Object type Technology
Physical description Aluminium, Metal, Nylon, Nylon webbing, Plastic
Maker Unknown
Place made United States of America
Date made c 1965
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Khaki nylon rucksack mounted on a khaki painted aluminium frame, equipped with padded shoulder straps with a quick release buckle; one of these is missing and has been repaired with a length of nylon cord. The pack consists of a main compartment with drawstring closing and main closing flap, which is marked 'US'. The flap has an internal pocket printed with the following: 'INSTRUCTIONS INSIDE RUCKSACK, NYLON DUCK DSA 100-67-C-3564 8465-782-3248'. A coated, printed set of instructions on the use and care of the rucksack is sewn to the inside of this pocket. The rucksack is also provided with a trio of external pouches and a number of loops of nylon eyelet webbing for attaching items of equipment. A US waterbottle is attached to either side of the pack and an Australian issue camouflaged rubberised nylon two quart waterbag is strapped to the frame above the rucksack. The collapsible waterbag employs a snap fastener and utilises a nylon bladder and pourer similar to that found in wine casks; the camouflage pattern is an unusual green and grey combination. The exterior is marked with the broad arrow.

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.

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