David Brown was a cadet at The Canberra Times when he was conscripted into the army to serve as a public relations officer in Vietnam. From 1964, Mr Brown was one of 34 officers who recorded and reported the Vietnam War until Australia withdrew its forces in 1972. Because the group was so small, many officers served two-year long tours of duty in Vietnam. Bill Cunneen, who also served in Japan, Korea, Malaya and Borneo, served multiple back-to-back tours of duty in Vietnam totalling, more than 900 days. Despite feeding the news cycle back home and providing invaluable information for families, the army has rejected the officers' requests to have their service recognised with the Army Combat Badge, introduced in 2005 to recognise non-infantry serviceman. Mr Brown said the Vietnam officers' shun was despite the army awarding the combat badge to their veteran colleagues in Iraq and Afghanistan for doing substantially the same tasks they did in the 1960s and 1970s. "The army has repeatedly rejected applications from men who served in Vietnam and each time the reasons for the rejection varied considerably, even though the applications were strikingly similar," Mr Brown said. "This is an indication of inconsistent policy application." According to Defence, to be eligible for the badge, personnel must have either been assigned to a battle group or combat team for an aggregate of 90 days or deployed to the same location as a combat team to directly support them. Mr Brown said his latest application in April 2019 detailed the more than 300 days he spent providing support to combat units in Phouc Tuy Province; a file of media stories and dispatches he wrote during more than 700 days service in Vietnam and a list of his photographs posted on the Australian War Memorial and website. The current commandant of the public relations service, Colonel John Weiland, also provided analysis of the application and recommendation it be approved, Mr Brown said. However, the application was rejected by the army's director-general, Brigadier W.B. Stothart in March this year. A Defence spokesperson responding to questions The Canberra Times put forward this week said Mr Brown and his fellow public relations personnel did not provide direct support to a combat unit. The spokesperson said officers sent news to the public relations detachment in Saigon, manned operations centres and provided advice to commanders, as well as escorting visiting media. Defence claimed personnel who received the badge for service in Afghanistan and Iraq were "force assigned to battle groups, which meets the eligibility requirements". Mr Brown said it was true they were based in Saigon but the reasoning ignored the fact most of the force was immediately put on a plane and sent to Nui Dat, where they were on the posted strength of a different task force. READ ALSO: He said many members of this task force had been awarded the Army Combat Badge, yet his and other members of the public relations team had their applications rejected. Mr Brown said his correspondence from Defence provided no reference to counter his detailing of his roles and responsibilities. "The army's refusal to acknowledge the role of the public relations personnel in Vietnam is a grave injustice and perpetuates the blatant discrimination between today's service men who are awarded the badge for service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and yesterday's Vietnam veterans who are denied it," Mr Brown said.