Road makers in Vietnam DPR/TV/1406

Accession Number F04505
Collection type Film
Measurement 10 min 46 sec
Object type Actuality footage, Television news footage
Physical description 16mm/b&w/silent
Maker Jones, Michael John
Place made Vietnam: Phuoc Tuy Province
Date made 13 April 1971
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

Soldiers of The Royal Australian Engineers' 17th Construction Squadron in South Vietnam have been working nine hours a day since January this year on the main road running through the north of Phuoc Tuy Province. When completed the road known as Route 2, will stretch from Baria, the Province capital, into neighbouring Long Khanh Province, a total of 23 miles. The construction of the road begins at a quarry within the Nui Dat base which Australian soldiers have excavated near the barbed wire perimeter of the headquarters of the 1st Task Force. Every day bulldozers rip into the rock-face, gouging out blue metal known as "three-minus". When one of the many Army trucks on the site is filled with rock, it is moved across to where a giant crusher reduces the "three-minus" into the size needed to seal the road. Conveyor belts rotate continuously, feeding the rock to a stock pile which serves as a pick-up point for Army drivers, who transport the blue metal away from Task Force area. A few miles away at Baria, where the road starts, another quarry provides smaller metal. This quarry is privately owned by an American company. Other raw materials come from the United States and Australia, and some materials...such as sand...come from local villages in Phuoc Tuy. About 20 soldiers are continually engaged in the construction of the new surface. The scene on Route 2 is similar to any road-construction project in Australia, although the workers are continually guarded by armoured personnel carriers. The engineers use conventional tar-laying machinery before spreading the road-metal with a grader and then packing it down with a steam roller. The soldiers who are trying to beat the Monsoon which begins any day are pleased with the progress they are making on Route 2. They estimate 400 yards of road is being sealed a day and expect Route 2 to be finished before the rains. Wherever they go, the Australians attract a curious audience of young Vietnamese school children who always stop and watch. It's a hot, dusty task, but the engineers take pride in the fact that every one of them is a professional, doing a thoroughly professional job. Earning a well deserved rest and watching the progress his troop has made, is 313089 Lance-Corporal Christopher Patrick (Chris) Burke of Wangaratta, Vic. Taking a drink of water after a tough spell on the road is 3178031 Sapper Terrance John (Terry) Ronald of Frankston, Vic. The members of 17th Construction Squadron believe they will beat the wet season but nobody knows for sure, the monsoon season being unpredictable. By working nine hours a day, the Australians are hoping to meet the deadline. One thing is sure: long after the Australians have withdrawn from Phuoc Tuy Province, Route 2 will stand as a lasting all-weather memorial to the assistance given by Australia in general, and the 17th Construction Squadron in particular.

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