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The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

MEDIA RELEASE

31 August 2018
VA071

50 years since Australia's RAAF Thailand service

TODAY Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Darren Chester, has encouraged Australians to honour the valuable service of the RAAF units who served at Ubon Ratchathani in Thailand between 1962 and 1968.

These units were deployed in accordance with Australia's obligations under the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation, to defend Thailand against a possible invasion by North Vietnamese backed Laotion communist forces.

"The deployment of Air Force personnel to Ubon predated the arrival of the first Australian troops to South Vietnam by two months and included troops from 79 Squadron, No 5 Airfield Construction Squadron as well as a detachment of RAAF airfield defence guards who provided security within the base and outside its perimeter," Mr Chester said.

"During the six years that these Australians were deployed, they played an important role in deterring the spread of communism from Indochina into northeast Thailand.

"The nature of service at Ubon varied according to circumstances in Vietnam. There were times of high threat and the Squadron's Sabres were kept fully armed, maintaining a constant state of operational readiness.

"With the close proximity of Vietnam, the role of 79 Squadron's Sabres at Ubon and the security provided to the base by the RAAF Air Defence Guards was highly valued by Australia's American ally during a bitter war that threatened to engulf and spread communism into Thailand.

"We thank these Australians for their service."

Ends

Media Contacts:

Whil Prendergast: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon Darren Chester MP, Canberra

 

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.