Members Statement – Vietnam Veterans Day

Mr CARROLL (Niddrie) — I rise to thank Keilor East RSL for inviting me to lay a wreath at their annual Vietnam Veterans memorial service and to honour those who served in the Vietnam War. Australian servicemen and servicewomen were engaged in the Vietnam conflict from 1962 to 1975. The Republic of Vietnam requested support from the United States and allies, including Australia, in the early 1960s with the aim of resisting the communist North Vietnamese government’s attempt to overpower the south. In response Australia deployed the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, a non‑combative action which was in keeping with the policies of other nations.

The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest military engagement of the 20th century. Almost 60 000 Australians fought in it and more than 500 lost their lives. Originally known as Long Tan Day, Vietnam Veterans Day is commemorated on 18 August every year. As many members know, this year marked the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan where 108 brave young men from D Company, 6RAR, resisted an attack by 1500 to 2500 North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops. This would become one of the most extraordinary chapters in Australia’s military history.

Each year when I commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day I remember my uncle, Allin Moore, who served in Vietnam for the United States as part of the US Coast Guard. I have had the honour of visiting his graveside at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC. It will always be an honour for our family that he is buried there.

I would like to thank Keilor East RSL president William Laker and secretary Kevin Millman for inviting me once again to take part in the memorial service to honour the sacrifices of those courageous young men and women who served in the Vietnam War.