|Title:||Personal Particulars form for Vietnam conscript Patrick O'Hara|
|Keywords:||war, conflict, domestic war effort, armed forces, national security, military service, soldier, armies, military campaigns, war service, conscription, enlistment, recruitment, armed forces, conscientious objection, enlistment|
|Record creator:||Central Army Records Office|
This is the 'Personal Particulars' form of Patrick Harrington O'Hara, a national serviceman (conscript) who served in the Australian Regular Army (ARA) from 1967 to1969. It is taken from his service record and includes a black-and-white photograph of O'Hara, aged 20, personal information and his signature. The form was completed on or around 19 April 1967, when O'Hara reported for duty at Puckapunyal Military Area in Victoria for his initial ten-week training course.
Patrick O'Hara (1946–) was one of nearly 64,000 Australian men who were called up for national service between 1965 and 1972. National service was a scheme of compulsory selective conscription in which national servicemen were required to fulfil two years continuous full-time service in the ARA, followed by three years part-time service. In 1971, the two-year requirement was reduced to 18 months. National servicemen were eligible for deployment overseas, including the conflict in Vietnam.
Like all national servicemen, O'Hara had been conscripted in a birthday ballot of 20-year-old men, a method of selection that caused considerable public controversy. Often described as a 'lottery', this method was widely regarded as inherently unfair and contributed to public opposition to conscription. His birth date, 1 December 1946, was selected in the fourth national service ballot held on 9 September 1966.
O'Hara was one of those conscripts who were selected for 'special overseas service' and was sent to Vietnam in November 1967. It was his first trip overseas. He was nervous, excited and afraid of what awaited him. His mother could not bring herself to see him off. His father, who had served in World War II (1939–45), was opposed to the Vietnam War but didn't mention it as his son departed or throughout his military service.
The document contains O'Hara's full name, service number, height, weight, religion, physical disabilities, special characteristics and date of birth. Some of this information, such as height and weight, would be used to allocate duties. Additional information on the form, which relates to individual marks and scars, location of a will and blood type, was used by the army to help treat or identify servicemen in the event of injury or death.
O'Hara's marital status is listed as single on the form. Had he been married before call-up, he would have been granted an indefinite deferment of national service. Temporary deferments were also available on the grounds of hardship or compassion or if he had been a student, apprentice or trainee at university, teaching or technical college. Exemption based on physical or mental disability, occupation or conscience would have been considered after the ballot.
Working as a public servant before call up, O'Hara sought no exemptions and completed his initial ten-week training course followed by an additional three months of corps training. He served with the 4th Field Regiment as a signalman in Vietnam for six months and was officially discharged 12 months after his return from active service on 18 April 1969. After his discharge, he trained as a teacher.
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