Forty-eight years ago this Monday, Australian soldiers fought for their lives against an overwhelming enemy force in a South Vietnamese rubber plantation.
This was the Battle of Long Tan on August 18, 1966, pitting 108 members of Delta Company of the 6th Battalion (6RAR) against a 2000-strong force of North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers.
Delta Company lost 17 dead, with another 24 wounded, one of whom died later. There were 245 known enemy dead.
Long Tan was a defining Australian battle of Australia’s controversial involvement in Vietnam and August 18 has become Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day, honouring the service and sacrifice of all who served in Vietnam.
Veterans Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson said veterans, their families and the wider community would gather at ceremonies across the country this weekend, especially on Monday, to mark Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day.
“As we pause to honour and remember those who lost their lives, we must also pay tribute to those who served and returned home, many still carrying the effects of the war,” he said in a statement.
“The physical and mental scars left by the war are still evident for many of those who served and their families.”
Senator Ronaldson said the government provided a range of services to veterans and their families.
Children of those who served in Vietnam can access the Long Tan Bursary Scheme which provides up to $9000 over three years towards study or professional career.
The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service, founded in 1982, is the legacy of Australia’s Vietnam veterans, providing all veterans and their families with counselling and support for war and service-related mental health conditions.