Official war history says alcohol abuse posed problems for Australians fighting in Vietnam

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CANBERRA, Australia — Alcohol abuse during the Vietnam War was a significant problem for Australian troops who were supplied with the equivalent of more than five cans of beer per soldier per day during the latter years of the conflict, an official record says.

But some Australian commanders regarded beer as a lesser evil than the heroin and marijuana that gained popularity with allied U.S. troops fighting in the conflict, according to the third and final volume of the official history of the Australian Army in Vietnam, “Fighting to the Finish,” which is being published Tuesday.

“A few Australian commanders said the Aussies had a drinking culture and they were safer keeping that under control then allowing them access to what could have been far more damaging,” co-author Ashley Ekins told The Associated Press on Monday.

“It was a big problem that every Australian task force commander had to confront,” said Ekins, an Australian War Memorial historian....

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