ADF commemorates 50th anniversary Battle of Long Tan
18 August 2016
The Australian Defence Force joined Vietnam Veterans in Canberra today to commemorate Vietnam Veterans' Day and the 50th anniversary of Battle of Long Tan.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin attended the national service at the Australian War Memorial to pay tribute to the nation's Vietnam Veterans, including the men of Delta Company.
On 18 August 1966, Delta Company 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment was engaged in a fierce fight at close quarters.
Pinned down in a rubber plantation in torrential rain, the Australians were subjected to heavy mortar and machine gun attack.
"The Battle of Long Tan remains one of the most significant battles in Australia's military history. Isolated and out numbered 20 to 1, Delta Company took on the Viet Cong and, in an extraordinary feat of courage and determination, they held off the advancing enemy for several hours until reinforcements arrived," Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.
Members of the Royal Australian Artillery Corps' 103 and 105 Batteries joined the 161 New Zealand Battery and a US Army gun crew firing a four-gun salute during today's service.
"With artillery support, the Australians stood their ground and when the ammunition ran low, Royal Australian Air Force Iroquois pilots also braved the treacherous conditions to fly dangerously low along the tree-line to drop ammunition to the troops in contact and evacuate the wounded," Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.
Seventeen Australians were killed in the Battle of Long Tan and another 25 were wounded, one of whom later died of his wounds.
"Today, as we honour those who fought the Battle of Long Tan, we remember the 521 Australians killed and the thousands who were wounded in the Vietnam War.
"We also recognise the 60,000 Australians who served during the conflict, whether they fought in other significant battles like Coral, Balmoral, Bihn Ba or Operation Bribie or served with the Royal Australian Navy as clearance divers or on the gunline providing fire support to ground forces. We acknowledge all those who served, particularly those who continue to suffer from the effects of their military service today," Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.
The Australian Defence Force is supporting a number of commemorative activities with a United Drumhead Service at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane, home of 6RAR and a number of RAAF flypasts around Australia.
Imagery will be available later today at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20161971.