In response to a request dated 10 May 1965 from the Government of South Vietnam for combatant support, the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. K. J. Holyoake, announced on 27 May 1965 that New Zealand would provide a four-gun battery of artillery to that country and that it would serve alongside an Australian Infantry Battalion.
In a White Paper tabled in Parliament on 13 July 1965, entitled New Zealand Assistance to the Republic of Vietnam, it was stated that, while the Government had to consider its defence obligations and commitments elsewhere, it had decided that the dispatch of an artillery battery to Vietnam in no way detracted from New Zealand's ability to sustain its forces in Malaysia. Because of the formal request from Vietnam, the New Zealand Government, it was claimed, had acted in pursuance of its obligations under the SEATO Collective Defence Treaty, to which the free territory of Vietnam was joined by protocol. Prior to the Prime Minister's statement of New Zealand's support on 27 May, it was announced that the New Zealand V Force, consisting of 161 Battery, 16th Field Regiment, RNZA, and a small Headquarters and logistic support element totalling 120 men, with four 105-millimetre pack howitzers, would be transported to Vietnam by RNZAF Hercules aircraft. This New Zealand V Force, together with supplies and equipment, arrived in Saigon during July 1965.
A New Zealand Army Engineer detachment of 25 men had served in South Vietnam in a non-combatant role from June 1964, but was withdrawn upon the arrival of the New Zealand V Force. R.A.B.