Australian journalist Simon Townsend, who was later to become the host of the popular children’s TV show Wonder World made news in the mid 1960′s by refusing to serve in the Australian army as a conscript. He was jailed for a time by the army and given a tough time.
Simon was certain to be sent to South Vietnam to fight the perceived threat of ‘communism’ in their civil war that has become known as ‘the American war’ by Vietnamese.
Before the American’s, the French Foreign Legion also had hard times in what was then their colony. They departed and the Americans stepped in.
The Vietnamese believing America was trying to become another colonial power – ‘which it was not’ (so said Robert S. MacNamarra in the award-winning documentary The Fog of War).
A website worth a view, if you are interested in this kind of military history is http://dienbienphu.org (the guest book had become a bit of a mess with spam, unfortunately).