Trooper Victor Ian Pomroy, A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment
Victor Ian Pomroy, known as “Vic”, was born on 4 June 1945 in Camberwell, Victoria. He attended Camberwell Grammar School, where he was a member of the school’s cadets.
Pomroy was called up for service with the Australian Army on 29 September 1965. After basic training and his initial employment training, he was deployed to Vietnam. Pomroy arrived in Vietnam in June 1966, and after a month with the 1st Reinforcement Unit, was posted to the 1st Armoured Personnel Squadron. It was redesignated as A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, in January 1967.
Following attacks by enemy units on compounds of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam in the early hours of 17 February, the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was tasked to assist. A Company was the first to be airlifted out to the area of operations. It took enemy fire, and after suffering several casualties, withdrew to the landing zone. B Company followed on the next lift but the men were forced to jump from hovering helicopters, as enemy fire stopped the aircraft from landing.
With the belief that they faced a small number of enemy troops, leaders decided that B Company would carry out a quick attack.
After a short advance, the platoons came under heavy enemy fire, and 5 Platoon was ordered to take out a machine-gun that was holding up the rest of the company. However, as the men rose to begin the attack, heavy casualties were inflicted by well-sited enemy machine-guns, which forced the survivors to take cover.
Armoured Personnel Carriers from A Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, were called in to provide fire support and to extract B Company. Pomroy was driving the lead carrier, call sign Two-One Bravo. Soon after stopping to load casualties, Pomroy’s APC took a direct hit to the engine compartment from a recoilless rifle fired at close range. The resulting explosion killed Pomroy instantly.
A second recoilless rifle round then struck the open cargo hatch, wounding the vehicle’s commander and the medical orderly and also hitting several already wounded men.
Along with the other survivors of 4, 5 and 6 Platoons, the wounded and Pomroy’s body were taken to their original landing zone. In total, the Australians suffered eight men killed and a further 26 wounded.
Pomroy’s remains were returned to Australia and he was laid to rest in Springvale Garden of Remembrance and Crematorium in Victoria. He was 21 years old.
Michael Kelly, Historian, Military History Section