The Story of the Team Badge

The Team Cloth Shoulder Patch

The Team Metal Hat Badge

 In July 1966 the Commanding Officer of the Australian Army TrainingTeam Vietnam, Lieutenant Colonel A.J. Milner gave WO2 Laurie Nicholson the task of designing a badge for the Team.

WO2 Nicholson recalls he had no particular expertise in this area and at the time was temporarily attached to the Headquarters in Saigon to recuperate following a spell in hospital.

Apart from the requirement to include the word 'Persevere' as the motto, no guidelines were given, so Laurie Nicholson formulated the following ideas which resulted in the badge adopted.

'The shape of the badge, a shield, was based on a similar shield design of the United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam (USMACV) badge and symbolized the partnership of the Team with the USMACV.'

'The colours of the badge symbolized the green of the tropical environment and the colours of the flag of the Republic of Vietnam (yellow (gold), and red).'

'The primitive tribal weapon of Vietnam, the Montagnard crossbow, was combined with the native weapon of Australia, the boomerang, to symbolize the nexus between the two nations.  As the boomerang was considered a ready to use weapon, the crossbow was depicted in a loaded state so that both weapons symbolized the Team's preparedness for action.'

'Finally the motto "Persevere" was displayed on a gold scroll at the base of the shield to balance the gold boomerang and carry through the theme of the colours of the Republic of Vietnam flag as well as providing the maximum relief for the lettering displayed on both.'

In 1967 permission was obtained from the Commander Australian Forces Vietnam for the wearing of the badge as a cloth shoulderpatch on the right shoulder.  In the early 1970's a metalcap/hat badge appeared but as the badge in either form was not officially authorized it could not be worn on the uniform in Australia unless the wearer was still a member of the AATTV.

Note:  For obvious reasons the metal hatbadge was not polished.


Comments below from Laurie Nicholson AATTV in relation to retaining the correct design and symbolism of our unit badge:

Hi Rick, When Lt. Col Milner asked me to design an AATTV badge  it was forwarded to Army HQ for approval...AND RECEIVED APPROVAL... for its reproduction and issue to AATTV members. This was despite it not being officially recognised. So, the badge occupied the unique position of being approved as a badge for the AATTV, but not 'officially' recognised as a unit badge.
These matters however, tend to detract from what I see as the core issues, that is : a) The badge was approved for wear by our unit, therefore it was our unit badge, therefore it should not suffer unauthorised variations.  b) It was approved in a particular design which included all the detail on the design, the colouring, the background, the symbolism of the detail etc. c) The approval did not include any allowance for variation to the design. d) The variations evolved, as I understand, when unknown individuals reproduced designs in Vietnam, and after, which they considered to be commercially viable and which were produced and sold and eventually became accepted as they were the only ones available.
However, irrespective of whether the badge was 'official' or 'approved' is not relevant.  IT WAS OUR UNIT BADGE AND THE UNIT WAS A UNIQUE UNIT AND ITS MEMBERS WERE, AND STILL ARE, RIGHTLY PROUD OF ITS ACHIEVMENTS AND MILITARY HISTORY. For this reason Rick, we should individually and collectively actively discourage any tampering with the detail of that history whether it alters facts relating to dress, actions in which individuals or groups were involved, individual honours and awards, dates and place of service, unit badges, foreign units our members served with, or any other detail or historical facts. Altered history is not history. It may well be that resistance from vested interests to the above principles is experienced from a few, but that should not deter us insisting on integrity relating to the detail of our unit and its authentic record. For general information, the authentic story of the badge and the symbolism of its detail is reproduced in the book 'The Team In Pictures' and on your web-site.
I would have no objection to you also publishing the above on your web-site.
Persevere mate.  Laurie ( Blue) Nicholson.

For a detailed reading of the story of the AATTV Unit badge from conception in July 1966 to final authorisation 47 years later in a letter from Lt. Gen. Morrison, Chief of Army, to Laurie Nicholson, dated 20 Sep. 2012. Copies of this letter, together with a 22-page investigation were sent to the Australian Army History Unit, the Australian War Memorial and the President of the AATTV Association. A further requirement of this letter was that the CA’s authorisation of the AATTV badge was to be entered into the Australian Army Customs and Traditions Book as a badge worn by Australian soldiers. Please Google the following, “ Wikipedia AATTV history”. Laurie Nicholson would be happy to receive any further information to add to this Wikipedia article. If sending information please give any source of confirmation that may be available. While this is desirable it is not absolutely necessary. Laurie’s email address is laurencenic30@gmail.com.

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