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Media releases & speeches

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

29 July 2017

Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam

The Australian Government today recognised the unique contribution the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) made to the Vietnam War.

Raised in 1962, the AATTV was the first Australian unit into Vietnam and the last to leave.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the AATTV served in Vietnam for over ten years and were one of the most highly decorated units in the history of the Australian army.

“Almost 1,000 Australians served with the AATTV, as well as a small number of New Zealanders, and the unit received over 100 military decorations, including the only four Victoria Crosses awarded to Australians in Vietnam,” Mr Tehan said.

“From an original deployment of thirty officers, warrant officers and sergeants, the Team grew to 200 men in South Vietnam at any one time. Initially confined to a training role, in 1964 the Team was permitted to participate in combat operations alongside the soldiers they trained.”

AATTV members Kevin Wheatley, Peter Badcoe, Ray Simpson and Keith Payne were each awarded the Victoria Cross.

Kevin Wheatley and Peter Badcoe received the Victoria Cross posthumously. Ray Simpson and Keith Payne were each decorated for their courage in leading others in combat and rescuing wounded comrades, their awards coming within three weeks of each other.

The AATTV Association will conduct a 55th anniversary commemorative service today in Queensland.

The last surviving VC recipient from Vietnam Keith Payne will attend the service with his wife Flo, and the service will include special recognition of five AATTV members who were interred overseas and returned to Australia during Operation Reunite last year.

The Honourable Karen Andrews MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills and Federal Member for McPherson will lay a wreath on behalf of the Australian Government.

“I congratulate the AATTV Association for its efforts to ensure that the service of these men are not forgotten and for recognising the men of this unique unit,” Mr Tehan said.

Media enquiries:

Minister Tehan’s Office: Amelia Gard, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 4719

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.