Noel David Pope
Wulli Wulli
(Theodore, Cracow and Eidsvold, Queensland)
Retired Private
Royal Australian Infantry Corps

Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with clasp Vietnam
Vietnam Medial
Australian Defence Medal
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Served in the Australian Regular Army from 1970 – 1973
Trained at Kapooka Victoria
Served Vietnam Full Tour of 12 months
Australian Advisory Team Vietnam (AAATV) – 1972
Australian Army Assistance Group Vietnam
Australian Embassy Guard

“My Uncle Ivan Collins was in the Military and my older brother was called up to national service and he enlisted in 1968. In those days, the best job prospect we had was being a labourer, and it didn’t pay much. which weren’t paying very much, so when my brother called me and asked why I didn’t try to enlist, I thought it sounded like a good idea. I experienced all kinds of segregation and racism growing up in a little regional town, but when I joined the military, it was the first time in my life that I was fully accepted. I was 22 when I arrived in Vietnam in 1972 and I was one of the last 28 soldiers left in Vietnam and was there till 1973. I was in Vietnam for 14 months, starting at the Australian Army Assistance Group Vietnam before being moved to the Australian Embassy Guard for the peace talks.  

I was shocked by the devastation, and I got post-traumatic stress. When I got home, it took me a while to find the right community to help me realise what I was going through. Returning to the bush is where I found peace. I am now semi-retired, but I run a program that I co-created to assist ex-servicemen with post-traumatic stress to retreat, reset, and escape society’s complexities. We take them out bush and bring people together in conversations sitting around the campfire.

 The day I enlisted to serve I agreed to defend and protect our country because that’s who I am. I will always be a soldier, for the rest of my life. Watching my grandkids March on ANZAC day is a big thrill”.