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Media releases & speeches

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Minister for Defence Materiel

12 May 2016

Australia commemorates Vietnam War veterans on 50th anniversary of Battle of Long Tan

Australia’s Vietnam War veterans will be honoured with a series of commemorative events this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said today.

The Battle of Long Tan took place on 18 August 1966. It was the most costly single battle fought by Australian soldiers in the Vietnam War, involving 105 Australians and three New Zealanders from D Company 6RAR and more than 2,000 enemy troops. A total of 17 Australians were killed in action and 25 were wounded, one of whom later died of his wounds.

D Company were greatly assisted by an ammunition resupply by RAAF helicopters, close fire support from New Zealand's 161 Field Battery, together with additional artillery support from the Australian task force base at Nui Dat, and the arrival of reinforcements in APCs as night fell.

“On the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan we honour and commemorate all those who served in Vietnam, including the 521 Australians who died and more than 3,000 people who were wounded, injured or became ill as a result of the conflict,” Mr Tehan said.

“Our Vietnam War veterans made great sacrifices for their country and this year, the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, is an important opportunity for all Australians to acknowledge their service and sacrifice.

“It was very pleasing to see our Vietnam Veterans leading our Anzac Day marches across Australia this year.

“I have no doubt our Vietnam Veterans will take the opportunity this year to engage with their old mates and take part in the many events being held to honour their service.”

This year there will be a program of events to commemorate Long Tan and the Vietnam War, starting with an official reception at Parliament House, Canberra on 17 August.

On 18 August, at 7am, a ‘Stand To’ service will be held at the Australian War Memorial.  A national Vietnam War commemorative service will be held later that morning at the Australian Vietnam Forces Memorial on Anzac Parade in Canberra. A special Long Tan commemorative service will be held at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera, Brisbane, for veterans of the Battle of Long Tan and their families.

The winners of the Honouring Australian Vietnam Veterans school competition, which was open to Year 9 and 10 students from across Australia, will attend the national commemorative service as part of a three-day program for the students.

The Saluting Their Service program will provide ex-service organisations with the opportunity to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

A commemorative dinner for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan will be held on Friday, 19 August and the Vietnam War Commemorative Concert will held on Sunday, 21 August, both at the Brisbane Convention Centre.

Media enquiries:

Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

 

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.