On Active Service

Nashos, Reos and Regs

Our Battalion was prepared for the second tour of Vietnam from an equal number of Regular Army and National servicemen soldiers. During our tour of duty, we received reinforcements (Reo's) from 1ARU (1st Australian Reinforcement Unit). These soldiers replaced serving members, who were wounded, had served their time, or had made the supreme sacrifice. From where I was, ALL of us had equal standing. It mattered not whether these Diggers had trained and prepared for war from Holsworthy, were taken on board when we relieved 1RAR, came from 1ARU, or remained to join 7RAR. It has become apparent that some of our reinforcements felt inferior, did not know whom they replaced, the circumstances that created the vacancy that they filled, or were thrown into a tactical situation with no real training or induction. In Australia today, nobody would be able to commence work without some sort of an induction. In our time, if you had survived Canungra, you were considered to be a competent infantryman.

In the nine years that I served, I was not aware of any adverse feelings toward Nashos or Reo's. Apart from a bit of friendly sledging (we could teach cricketers a thing or two), we were all part of ONE team. A couple of association members have recently (via the Association website) expressed their feelings and impressions of when they joined 5RAR. Their comments are very much appreciated.

All of us had a role in 5RAR, and everyone was dependent on others. There were cooks, storemen, clerks, hygiene reps, drivers, medics, and of course the backbone of the Army - the infantry soldier. There were Majors, Captains, junior officers, senior and junior NCOs, and the Diggers. There were officers with a lifetime commission, National Service officers, enlisted men with regular army 6 and 3 year sign-on periods, and National Servicemen. Some left the Army after their engagements expired, others extended their service. Once we had donned the baggy green skin and black feet, who could tell us apart? More importantly, who could have been considered to be the better soldier? I don't think any of us can answer that question.

Nashos, Reo's and Regs' - hold your heads up high. We have achieved something that most others have not: We have served Australia - with pride and dignity.

There is one sure way to find out whether your mate was a Nasho, Reo or Reg - ask him. You might not know otherwise.


© Don Harrod
C Company

Scroll to Top