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20 August, 2020

Vietnam Vets remembered

Just days after VP Day commemorations took place across the Tablelands, Vietnam Veterans day was observed with a special ceremony taking place at the Mareeba Cenotaph.

By Phil Brandel

Just days after VP Day commemorations took place across the Tablelands, Vietnam Veterans day was observed with a special ceremony taking place at the Mareeba Cenotaph on August 18.

The Vietnam War was Australia's longest military engagement of the 20th Century with the arrival of the Australian Army Training Team in South Vietnam in July 1962 marking the start of Australia’s involvement in the war.

By the time the war had come to an end, almost 60,000 Australians had served between 1962 and 1972 with 521 of them being killed and 3000 wounded.

August 18 is the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in 1966 where the men of Delta Company, 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, faced a force of some 2000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. The battle was fought in wet and muddy conditions during a heavy tropical downpour.

By the end of the day, 17 Australians had been killed in action and 25 were wounded, one of whom died a few days later.

This was the largest number of casualties in a single operation since the Australian Task Force had established its base at nearby Nui Dat the previous April.

Ross Cuzzubbo President of the Mareeba RSL Sub Branch said that remembering the Vietnam War was important “The day is important because we need to keep our history alive and Vietnam was an important part of that,” he said

“We know that some people were against it at the time, and that’s ok,

“But over 500 hundred soldiers died in the Vietnam War so it’s very important that it’s kept alive.”

Mr Cuzzubbo said that when the Vietnam veterans returned to Australia they received a poor reception.

“The reception for the men and women when they came home was pretty poor so this is an important day to make amends.”

“We will keep doing it (Vietnam Veterans Day) to make amends and to remember"


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