Wheeler, William Thomas (Air Commodore Chaplain, b.1937 - d.2011)

Place Asia: Vietnam, Ninh Thuan Province, Phan Rang, Phan Rang Air Base
Accession Number AWM2018.317.1
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 1.5 cm; Wallet/s: 1
Object type Letter
Maker Wheeler, William Thomas
Place made Australia: Queensland, Brisbane, Australia: South Australia, Adelaide, Vietnam
Date made 1971
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the Vietnam War service of O218505 Air Commodore Chaplain William Thomas Wheeler, 2 Squadron RAAF, Vietnam, 1971.

Wallet 1 of 1 - consists of letters, cards, a certificate and other paper ephemera.

Folder 1 of 2 contains 16 items. There are 13 letters to and from William Wheeler, all created in 1971. Subjects include a RAAF serviceman who has been repatriated due to his emotional state; fundraising for various causes in Vietnam; organising Australian R and R for a Christian American serviceman.
Also included is a programme of festivities for a special Anniversary of Ancestors, and a request to participate in a prize-giving, both at the Phan-rang primary school.

Letters from Padre Wheeler include one letter to his predecessor in which the padre expresses concern for the continued support of the Tan Tai Orphanage once the Australian force is withdrawn from Vietnam.

Letters to Padre Wheeler include:
1 x letter from WGCDR John Downing thanking Padre Wheeler for his prayer. [WGCDR Downing was piloting a 2 Squadron Canberra bomber in March 1971 in the Khe Sanh area when he and his flight lieutenant were hit by a SA-2 missile and forced to eject. They were rescued the next day by a UH-1H chopper.]
1 x letter from the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Brisbane regarding the supply of altar breads to RAAF in Vietnam.
1 x letter from Fred Foley advising Wheeler of housing conditions for Wheeler's posting to RAAF Base Edinburgh South Australia
1 x drinks party invitation
1 x official notice of 2 Squadron ceasing operations out of Phan Rang Air Base on 31 May 1971. Accompanying this letter is a report on Civic Action in South Vietnam over the four years of 2 Squadron fulfilling its operational role. This report describes early projects, aims and achievements.
1 x telex from Defence Canberra congratulating members of 2 Squadron for their splendid efforts in military civic action, their contribution to strengthening local government and improving conditions for Vietnamese people.
1 x letter from a nun at the Phan Rang orphanage asking for baby milk powder and funding [dated 22 October 1971]

In addition to undated paper ephemera, there is a photocopied certificate and translation praising Padre Wheeler for his help in completing a water system in the Thanh-Hai District.

Folder 2 of 2 contains 6 items. These items include receipts from Runnymede Hotel dated 25 March 1971, a Christmas card from 2 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force, a letter regarding an orphanage in Nha Trang, and a three page typed autobiographical account of his Vietnam War service titled 'The 2 Sqn Padre'.