With the introduction of Conscription in the 1960s, it was realised that Australia’s defence forces would now have access to a wider pool of talented men, other than those that normally volunteer for service.
Major Jack Roberts was tasked by the defence department to form a small group of the National Servicemen to take on some unique tasks.
He chose three young men that had shown signs of being able to work with anyone from different backgrounds or ethnic groups.
These three men were Christian, a Jew and a Moslem.
After being whisked away from their regiment, as it sailed for Vietnam, they were taken to an isolated island and underwent their unique training.
When their special training had been completed, they joined the war as intelligence observers.
It did not take them long to discover that some of its allies were not being as ethical as they should be. Some of them were involved in criminal activities.
Because the Australian Government needed to be sure that no Australians were involved, they immediately directed the group to seek out Corruption, Criminal activity and Human rights violations from all sources (including allied forces).
They developed into a unique force that as well as reporting on corruption, was soon to assist refugees
Along the way, their group expanded, and although the original three were only conscripted for two years, they were together until the late 1970s.
Their activities came to the attention of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, along with the Human Rights High Commission. With the Australian Government’s blessing, they were recruited to continue their work, only now as a UN investigating unit to collect evidence of corruption and Human rights violations in Indo-China.
Their adventures as well as discovering corruption also lead to romance as well as a tragedy when one of their members is killed by a land mine while saving a small bay that wandered into the minefield.
As well as in Vietnam the team was involved in activities relating to Laos, Thailand, Cambodia (Kampuchea) and Maylasia.
Although not a war story, “Men with a Mission” shows the tragedies that come out of war balanced by the loves and hopes of the future.