History Overview - 547 Signal Troop

See  Pronto in South Vietnam 1962-1972, Chapter 5 - Part 1

See 547 Signal Troop in Vietnam 1966-1971 (ASD Declassified)

547 Sig Tp Unoffical Logo used in 1968

The primary role of 547 Signal Troop (547 Sig Tp) was to provide signals intelligence (SIGINT) for the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) by locating and monitoring enemy radio signals in order to identify their strength, location, capability and future intentions.

The troop was raised as a deployable element of the 7th Signal Regiment (7 Sig Regt) specifically for service in South Vietnam.   The organisation of the troop evolved during the conflict and included sections specialising in search and interception, analysis, airborne radio direction finding (ARDF) and the operation of experimental high frequency (HF) direction finding (DF) equipment.   The single station location method developed by Australia during the Vietnam War is now used world wide in sophisticated HF DF Systems.

547 Sig Tp ARDF Crew Wing

Commanded by a Captain or Major, the troop had a strength of 45 personnel for the majority of its deployment to South Vietnam.  The bulk of the unit was made of Royal Australian Signals (RASigs) Corps personnel, with a small number of Australian Intelligence Corps (AUSTINT)personnel.  The troop became operational on 24 June 1966 and ceased operations on 13 December 1971.

547 Sig Tp was under operational control of the United States Army Security Agency’s 509th Radio Research Group and was assigned to the 303rd Radio Research Battalion. The troop’s deployment to South Vietnam included responsibility for direct support to the Australian Task Force and American units operating under the US II Field Force Vietnam command.

The work of the troop was marked with great secrecy and very few individuals outside it knew of its real role or could access its reporting.  The troop first became widely known in 1993, when the official Australian history of the Vietnam conflict discussed its role in the lead up to the Battle of Long Tan on 18th August 1966.

On the 1st September 2018 the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), formally approved the awarding of the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation (the citation) to members of 547 Signal Troop in recognition of the military assistance provided to the former Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) while under the operational command of the United States Military Assistance Command (MACV).

Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation

547 Sig Tp is still part of 7 Sig Regt.

7th Signal Regiment Colour Patch

7 Sig Regt provides tactical Electronic Warfare (EW) support to the Army in times of peace, crisis, and conflict on any operation anywhere in the world. The unit does this through listening to adversarial communication systems or, to a limited extent, disrupting those communication systems to protect our own forces on the battlefield. 

The unit operates a large range of complex, state-of-the-art electronic intercept and monitoring equipment in the tactical environment. This can either be from a building inside a protected base, in the back of an armoured vehicle or on foot alongside combat elements.

7 Sig Regt is part of the 6th Brigade (6 Bde) which was re-raised on 1st March 2010 to oversee the Army's command support and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (CS & ISTAR) units.

In recent years, 7 Sig Regt has had elements serve on active duty in Bougainville, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

View photos of 547 Signal Troop in South Vietnam:

Album 1  | Album 2  |  Album 3  | Album 4  |  Album 5  |   Album 6

Click  The Story of 547 Signal Troop in South Vietnam 1966 to 1972 (Edition 4) (94MB PDF)
By Robert (Bob) Hartley AM and Barry Hampstead

vertical barClick   Annex A - Comint Support Instruction (PDF)
Click   Annex B - The Early Days in an Operator Signals Duties (PDF)
Click   Annex C - Equipment (PDF) 
Click   Annex D - Battle of Long Tan Intelligence Background | 547 Sig Tp  (PDF)
Click   Annex E - USAF ARDF (PDF)
Click   Annex F - Caption Richard's Tape  (PDF)
Click   Annex G - New Estabishment for 547 Sig Tp (PDF)
Click   Annex H - US Army ARDF (PDF)
Click   Annex I   - Australian ARDF  (PDF)
Annex I - Appendix 1 | Australian ARDF, Technical Memorandum  (PDF)
Click       Annex I - Appendix 2 | Australian ARDF, Project Thorough Reports  (PDF)
Click       Annex I - Appendix 3 | Australian ARDF, Shellfest Seventy Report  (PDF)
Click   Annex J - The Activities of 274 and 275 VC Regiments during Tet  Offensive  
Click   Annex K - Of Shush Missions | 547 Sig Tp  (PDF)
Click   Annex L - SSL (PDF)
Click   Annex M - 547 Sig Tp ACV Callsign 85D  (PDF)
Click   Annex N - The Battle of Binh Ba  (PDF)
Click   Annex O - FSB Colorado | Letter of Appreciation  (PDF)
Click   Annex P - Jim Danskin | Baron v Brass  (PDF)
Click   Annex Q - Jack Fenton | A normal day at Nui Dat (PDF)
Click   Annex R - Lt Ron Estes, US Army | Vist to 547 Sig Tp  (PDF)
Click   Annex S - Paul Stock | Chau Duc  (PDF)
Click   Annex T - The Vatican Guineas   (PDF)
Annex U - Jim Kanowski | FSB Bridgit  (PDF)
Annex V -  547 Sig Tp Nominal Roll  (PDF)
Annex W - Report of the Inquiry into 547 Sig Tp 1966 to 1971  (PDF)

Click  Of Shush Missions, Voice Sorties and Pucker Factor (PDF)
Article from the Australian Aviation Magazine, May 1991 by Don Dennis

Click  Signals and ACVs - Part 1 Vietnam
Details of Signals and Armoured Command Vehicles (ACV) used in Vietnam including the 547 SIg Tp Vehicle "Callsign 85D" is on the 104 Sig Sqn Web Site.  Return to website via last menu option "Pronto Website"

Click  The Unclassified History of 547 Sig Tp in South Vietnam (PDF)
Blue Book by J. Fenton, H. O'Flynn, S. Hart and P. Murray.  Orginally published unknown - Prepared for the internet 1999 (2008 Updated Version 3).

Story 1 - Visit to 547 Signal Troop by US Army Lt Ron Estes

Story 2 - A Hair Raising Trip - ARDF task with the US Army by Garth Brown

Story 3 - A Tactical SIGINT Success by LTCOL Steve Hart (Ret'd) 

Story 4 - Battle of Long Tan and Signals Intelligence by Denis Hare

Story 5 - The Painting from Vietnam by Denis Hare

Story 6 - Use of Signals Intelligence Information to Prevent Casualties during
                Operation Canberra
by RW (Bob) Hartley  Note:  RASigs Units 103 Sig Sqn and 547 Sig Tp

Story 7 - A Perfect Ambush by RW (Bob) Hartley 

Story 8 - Operation Overlord (June 1971) by RW (Bob) Hartley

Story 9 - Operator Signals on Patrol with SAS by RW (Bob) Hartley

Story 10 - Direction Finding (DF) Systems by RW (Bob) Hartley

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