50th Anniversary home-coming
The 50th Anniversary of the home coming to Australia of its military forces (from SVN) took place at the Vietnam Veterans Monument in Canberra on Friday 18 August 2023.
The picture shows John Verhelst from HQ1ATF Coy, laying a wreath on behalf of HQ1ATF
Our National Vietnam Veterans Museum needs your help. Please Donate Now.
At a cost of over $1M, your museum now has a Development Approval for the new museum building.
ADDITIONAL MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT FOR WHITE CARD HOLDERS
|Ten thousand veterans with complex mental health needs will have access to a network of qualified GPs nationwide, following the expansion of support provided by the Australian Government.
Minister for Veterans' Affairs Andrew Gee today announced the Coordinated Veterans' Care (CVC) Program has been expanded to provide additional support for DVA White Card holders with an accepted mental health condition.
"The Australian Government already provides free mental health care to anyone who has served one day in uniform," Minister Gee said. "This program goes a step further in providing dedicated and coordinated care to veterans with chronic conditions and complex care needs.
"No two veterans have had the same experience while in service, and their level of health care requirements and support should reflect these differences. The CVC Program aims to specifically support each participant based on their individual needs.
"Expanding the program means veterans with complex mental health needs can access this life saving support through their local GP.
"Our country asks so much of our men and women in uniform. In return, Australia needs to ensure they have the best care possible we can provide once their service concludes. This further mental health support is a very welcome and positive development."
Previously open only to DVA Gold Card holders, the CVC Program engages General Practitioners and practice nurses to provide veterans in need with a multi-disciplinary care team, who develop and deliver comprehensive care plans to suit the individual needs of each veteran.
"The CVC program has proven to be effective in reducing unplanned hospitalisation and improving the quality of life for veterans in need of critical mental health care," Minister Gee said.
"I am pleased that 4,888 GPs are already providing services to veterans and their families through the CVC program, and I would encourage GPs around Australia who are not in the program already to consider joining.
"The Australian Government is focused on addressing veteran mental health and suicide prevention within the Defence and veteran community. Expanding this program to Veteran White Card holders provides veterans with complex needs with the support they require to receive the best possible medical treatment.Ã¢â‚¬
White Card holders need to have an accepted chronic mental health condition and meet the other eligibility criteria of the CVC Program. For more information on the CVC Program and eligibility visit www.dva.gov.au/cvc.
Ray Payne OAM
Seeking Adrian Parry
|The former Lieutenant Adrian Parry was OIC, Gun Mentor Team, KMTC, Afghanistan in 2012, and is the last known Next of Kin of Trevor James ATTWOOD, a former D&E Platoon, HQ Coy, 1ATF soldier.
A National 50-year Commemoration of Operation Overlord and the Battle of Long Khanh is scheduled at the National Vietnam Memorial, Canberra on 7 June 2021. Some of the remaining June 1971, members of Defence & Employment Platoon, Headquarters Company, 1st Australian Task Force are involved in this event, as are the Next of Kin of those D&E Platoon soldiers who died during this Operation
Would Adrian Parry, or anyone knowing his whereabouts ask him to urgently contact Eddie.
Contact: Eddie Tricker
DHAAT Final Report - 3 May 2018 Coral & Balmoral
6. The Tribunal found that:
a. all the men who fought at Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral displayed collective gallantry worthy of unit recognition;
Recommendation 1: To recognise all participants in the battles, the Tribunal recommends that the 1st Australian Task Force (Forward) be awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry for extraordinary gallantry in action at the Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral, between 12 May 1968 and 6 June 1968.
Recommendation 4: With regard to the unique contributions of No 9 Squadron RAAF and 161 Reconnaissance Flight, the Tribunal recommends that any 9 Squadron or 161 Reconnaissance Flight members who flew missions in direct support of the Battles of Coral and Balmoral, or who were forward deployed to the Fire Support Bases and therefore attached to 1st Australian Task Force (Forward), be entitled to wear the insignia. Recommendation 5: The Tribunal recommends that servicemen from United States and New Zealand units who participated in the Battles of Coral and Balmoral under the command of the 1st Australian Task Force (Forward) should also be considered for recognition.
To Apply for Your UCG.
Defence Honours and Awards website has an online application form which is the easiest way to apply for the award.
It You can also apply by phoning 1800 333 362
Mailing address is:
In filling out the form Section E: Leave PMsKey blank and only enter your service number.
Section G: Write in "Unit Citation for Gallantry, Battle of Coral Balmoral"
Note that the online form is "page progressive" meaning that you cannot get to the next page without filling in the required details on the current page. I have not been through it so I do not know if you are able to write into Section G. If this is the case then please resort to the written application form.
Page 6 is a Guidance Page and lists those eligible to apply.
The issue of recognition for Australian soldiers who fought in the Battle of Long Tan, Vietnam, is to be reviewed again by the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal.
Long Tan Honours Appeal
Long Tan honours appeal
The issue of recognition for Australian soldiers who fought in the Battle of Long Tan, Vietnam, is to be reviewed again by the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal.
In April 2015, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Smith (Retd), former Officer Commanding D Company 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment at the Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam on 18 August 1966, applied to the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal for review of a decision by the Chief of Army to refuse to recommend 13 members of the Australian Army who fought at the Battle of Long Tan for a range of gallantry awards, including a Victoria Cross for the late Warrant Officer John (Jack) Kirby.
The Chief of Army′s decision was made in respect of submissions by Lieutenant Colonel Smith to the Tribunal′s Inquiry into unresolved recognition for past acts of naval and military gallantry and valour.
Despite any previous considerations, Lieutenant Colonel Smith has a statutory entitlement under the Defence Act 1903 to seek review of the Chief of Army′s most recent decision in the Tribunal. In hearing this Matter, the Tribunal will consider the refusal to recommend the following 13 individuals for various defence honours (listed in the above image).
Assistant Minister for Defence Darren Chester said he was pleased the Tribunal was progressing to public hearings for the review. "I′m confident that the Tribunal′s review will finally resolve this important issue for veterans and their families," Mr Chester said. "I look forward to receiving the Tribunal′s recommendations, once the hearings and the Tribunal′s further deliberations are completed."
Seventeen Australians were killed and 25 wounded when on 18 August 1966, 108 men of D Company, 6RAR held off an assault by more than 2,000 enemies in the middle of a tropical downpour. They were greatly assisted by a timely ammunition resupply by RAAF helicopters, close fire support from Australian artillery, and the arrival of reinforcements in Armoured Personnel Carriers late in the battle.
The Tribunal will consider honours for 13 veterans of the Battle of Long Tan, including a Victoria Cross for the late Warrant Officer 2 Jack Kirby, who received a Distinguished Conduct Medal for his gallantry during the battle.
The Tribunal will hear evidence from veterans of the battle, representatives of the Department of Defence, and witnesses called by the applicant, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Smith SG MC (Retd).
The Army Remembrance Pin Acknowledges the Service of Men and Women Who Have Died While in Army.
The following family members are automatically eligible to receive the Army Remembrance Pin on application:
Spouse or recognised interdependent partner; Children, including stepchildren; and Parents and/or stepparents.
A person who is not listed as an eligible family member may apply to have special consideration to receive the Army Remembrance Pin. These applications will be considered by the Approval Authority on a case-by-case basis.
Family members who believe they are eligible to receive the Army Remembrance Pin are requested to complete form AE606 — Application for the Army Remembrance Pin (online version). A printable version of the form is available here.
Application forms can be emailed directly to: firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by mail to:
Army Remembrance Pin
Please note: Applications for the Army Remembrance Pin are to include a certified ‘True Copy’ of the deceased member’s Certificate of Service.
ANZAC Day - 2015
ANZAC DAY MARCH, Sydney, 2015
A beautiful sunny morning after the last few years inclement weather.
About 30 Vietnam Vets surfaced for the event which is pleasing seeing that many participate in their local events of the day. Good to see Doug Lawrence who, this time last year, was in hospital and has had a few operations since. Also the daughter and grandson of Vietnam Veteran, Andrew Ormston, marched with us. Postie was there again in spirit. Thanks Di, for your annual message, it is appreciated.
250,000 spectators watched the Sydney parade and a few tears on the Vets faces.
All in all, a very memorable day and see everyone again next 25 April.
President - HQ1ATF Association
ANZAC DAY MARCH, Melbourne, 2015
Unfortunately, unlike Sydney, the weather for the Melbourne March this year was bleak & raining! However this did not deter about 10 hardy souls from representing HQ 1 ATF in the March— we were pleased to welcome Nev "Woody" Woodberry who was over from WA to the ranks & also a Sydneysider who had served as an Intelligence officer with HQ who was visiting and recognised our banner!
Given it was a centenary even the weather did not deter a larger than usual crowd of spectators which added to the atmosphere and it was a nice touch to have several young grandchildren break spectator ranks towards the end (undoubtedly a technical security breach!) and join us for the march past the official party with Grandpa!
By the time we had adjourned afterwards with families etc for refreshments, of course, the weather had improved! Anyhow we resolved to do it all again next year.
HQ 1 ATF Assoc
. Vic Rep
Alan and Unwin - I Was Only Nineteen
|From the AE Website|
A powerful and moving picture book about the Vietnam War based on the unforgettable song.
John Schumann's unforgettable lyrics about the Vietnam War are etched in our memories and into our history books. Now they've been warmly brought to life by one of Australia's best-loved illustrators.
Best known for his leadership of legendary Australian folk-rock band Redgum, JOHN SCHUMANN's Vietnam War anthem, 'I was only 19' changed the way our nation thinks about how we treat our war veterans. Described by rock historian Glenn A Baker as 'one of the finest songwriters this country has produced', John has received almost every award the Australian music industry has to offer. His songs have been paid the ultimate compliment by becoming the property of the people and country they were written about. His lyrics are read in schools and universities across Australia.
CRAIG SMITH is one of Australia's most prolific children's book illustrators. He has collaborated with many of Australia's best-loved authors, such as Paul Jennings and Doug MacLeod, and illustrated books for Allen & Unwin including The Big Ball of String, The Boy Who Built the Boat, Heather Fell in the Water and Where Are You, Banana?
Probe Into Defence Award Injustices
|Defence force personnel who have been improperly denied honours and awards will be the focus of a new national investigation.
The Abbott government has tasked the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal to conduct a full inquiry into "refused, withheld and forfeited" honours and awards.
Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Darren Chester says the tribunal will examine the period from the beginning of World War II to the present day.
"Recent work of the tribunal has indicated that many of the decisions taken to withhold the medallic entitlements of our veterans who served in the Second World War and later conflicts were of doubtful legal validity," Mr Chester said.
"I expect the tribunal to report back to government on the correct and preferable way to address any injustices it encounters in the course of its investigations."
Submissions to the inquiry will close February 28.
RSL national secretary John King welcomed a review into the honours and awards system.
"It's timely to look at this in the big context," he said.
Mr King said that some awards had become dated but others had been applied with too much rigidity, meaning some personnel had missed out.
He added that the changing role of the ADF, through peacekeeping roles, border security operations and use of contractors meant that some award categories may need to be expanded.
Source: AAP, with Judith Ireland
Misuse of Insecticides at Nui Dat Reports
|These reports are alarming and worthy of wider dissemination.|
To view the reports, simply click on the link and the report will open in a new window.
About the author; John Mordike is a Vietnam Veteran, having served in Vietnam as the Officer Commanding, 12 Field Regiment Light Aid Detachment from 24 February 1971 to 02 November 1971. He graduated from the Royal Military College in 1966. As a professional historian, he has a BA and LittB from the University of New England and a PhD from the University of New South Wales. He is also the author of 'An Army for a Nation : A history of Australian military developments 1880-1914' and '"We should do this thing quietly" : Japan and the great deception in Australian defence policy 1911-1914'.
This Report covers University research that analysed the medical records of 2,783 of the 3,400 New Zealand military personnel who served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1971. The findings are alarming for Australian Vietnam Veterans also.
It is important that these reports are brought to the notice of the Committee people in your local Vietnam Veteran's Association; your local RSL and other local ESO's so that they can organise a concerted campaign to all your local Federal Members, with the insistence that these reports are tabled and acknowledged by the Federal Government in Parliament. This is your chance to make a noise. This is your chance to have the previous wrongs to Vietnam Veterans rectified and corrected.
The Reports on the use of herbicides, insecticides and other chemicals by the Australian Army in South Vietnam and on the use of herbicides, insecticides and other chemicals by the Royal Australian Air Force in South Vietnam were tabled in Parliament on Thursday, 09 December 1982.
We have also provided you with links to Hansard - Thursday, 9 December 1982, Pages: 3273 and Page 3278, which cover the Minister's Report Tabling Speech and the Opposition's Reply Speech
And that of his Opposition counterpart,
During his reply speech, Mr Holding made the following comment:
"Mr Manning and his boss Mr E. D. Letts have consistently attempted to disprove our claims and downgrade our evidence, under Parliamentary privilege before the Senate Committee. They have openly demonstrated their hostility to our claims".'
It is important that these reports are brought to the notice of people like your local Federal member with the insistence that these reports are tabled and acknowledged by the Federal Government in Parliament. This is your chance to make a noise.
"Grocers and Gunners tours to Vietnam"
|Phil Brookes is a member of the RAASC Vietnam Veterans Association and the Diamond Valley Vietnam Veterans Association and they have been organising and leading the "Grocers and Gunners" tours to Vietnam since 2009. These tours are all for a good cause as during the tour they raise funds for charities in Vietnam. In 2012 they raised around $1600 for the Hanoi Blind School and two H'mong village schools in Sapa. There is a tour brochure link below for your information. There is also a 2012 tour article, published for the Diamond Valley Vietnam Veterans Association.
The tour is designed for those who have an interest, not only in Australia's military commitment to Vietnam, but also an interest in the culture of this fascinating country. It's four/five star, all inclusive and designed for couples.
Phil has travelled regularly to Vietnam since 1996 on business and private touring, and has a good knowledge of the country. On past tours, the Australian Defence Attache has joined the tour group for one of our dinners, which has been an added bonus. An invitation will be extended to the current attache to join us for our next tour.
Accommodation for the 2013 tour is:
Saigon: Caravelle Hotel
As you can see from the flyer and article, we spend a bit of time poking around Nui Dat, many memories here and still a few discoveries. We would look forward to some of your members joining us on our next trip. We always have a great group and a great time.
"Fighting To The Finish: The Australian Army and the Vietnam War, 1968-1975"
|Ashley Ekins with Ian McNeill|
Fighting to the finish tells the story of the Australian Army in Vietnam during the period of Australia's largest and most sustained military commitment to the Vietnam War. As the ninth and final volume of the Official History of Australia's Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-1975, it is the successor to the acclaimed To Long Tan by Ian McNeill, and On the offensive by Ian McNeill and Ashley Ekins.
The product of years of intensive research, Fighting to the finish reveals the experiences of Australian soldiers in Vietnam in a way that has not been possible before. It describes the activities of the Australian Task Force in Vietnam during its peak years, from the middle of 1968 to the end of 1971. The authors had unrestricted access to official government records, including highly classified defence files and operational records. To this they added extensive interviews with participants, personal papers and correspondence, communist Vietnamese histories, and discussions with former Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army soldiers.
Fighting to the finish covers the Australian involvement at virtually every level, from the senior commanders and planners to the experiences of infantrymen on patrol and in contact with the enemy. It also contains appendices of authoritative information and data on Australian operations in Vietnam, previously unavailable to general readers, which will ensure its value as the principal reference work on the subject for decades.
For Bulk orders of 5 or more a discounted price is available
Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk - Seymour
The Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk in Seymour is being constructed to be a place of remembrance and reflection for Vietnam Veterans and their families.
We have at this stage completed the replica Luscombe Bowl, used here as an interpretive centre, and have a Memorial Cairn set in engraved pavers in the forecourt.
We have secured a Centurion Tank and have applied for M2A2 Howitzers, an Iroquois helicopter and M60 door guns, and a Long Tan Cross is being constructed to be set in the Plantation. These will be placed in areas to give the best aesthetic effect. In July we will be planting Spotted Gum trees in plantation style and the grasses to represent rice paddies.
The Commemorative Walk Project group is at the stage of putting out tenders for the design and construction of the Walls with the names of all who served in Vietnam and the DVA are giving us access to the Nominal Roll.
What we need is to have the roll checked for the names.
We need to know if there is anyone in our system that does not want his or her name on the walls.
One of the conditions placed on us is to make sure there is no one on the roll that doesn't want to be there, and that everyone that went there and want to be part of it is named. This information is available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI).
We need to know that all is above board by Anzac Day.
The walls will have a sign indicating that the information contained on them is accurate as of 30th April 2012 and any alterations will be acknowledged as an addendum at a date to be set into the future.
Responses to Ross Gregson
Overseas Medical Vaccinations coverage under Gold Card
Gold Card Holders
Earlier this year after submissions had been made to me at an AVADSC meeting in Brisbane I approached the Deputy Commissioner in the Queensland Consultative Forum regarding Gold Card holders being required to pay for Medical Vaccinations prior to overseas travel, I have now received a positive outcome.
Prior to 1st Aug 2010 DVA has not provided coverage for medical vaccinations for DVA clients travelling overseas, the approach was that these were privately incurred expenses. DVA has now released a new Business Line where in it now states that as from the 1st Aug 2010 all GOLD CARD holders are eligible for all required vaccinations to be covered under the Gold Card arrangements. Any Gold Card holders that may have incurred charges from 1st August 2010 are able to seek reimbursement via DVA. I would expect a fact sheet covering this to be issued shortly. I ask that you make this information widely available to your friends and association membership, I will send you a copy of the DVA Fact Sheet once it becomes available. If you or anyone else has any questions ask them to contact their nearest DVA VAN office.
Carbon Price - Veteran Community
Around 350,000 in the veteran community will benefit from a package of additional payments that will assist with the cost of living impact of a price on carbon.
A nine month up-front advance lump sum will be paid in June 2012 called the Clean Energy Advance.
In March 2013, ongoing supplement will be paid, with a choice of either fortnightly or quarterly payment called the Clean Energy Supplement.
All service pensioners (full and part), disability pensioners and war widow(er)s will receive both the Clean Energy Advance and the Clean Energy Supplement.
Assistance for service pensioners and war widow(er)s will be calculated on 1.7% of the maximum rate of service pension or widow(er)'s pension.
Assistance for General Rate disability pensioners, including those receiving less than 100% of the General Rate, will be calculated on 1.7% of the General Rate of disability pension under the VEA.
Assistance for beneficiaries receiving an Above General Rate of disability pension (Special Rate, Intermediate Rate or Extreme Disablement Adjustment) will be calculated on the basis of 1.7% of the payment being received.
Veterans on a disability pension and service pension receive both payments.
Payments will also be made to:
Australian Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness
It is great to see a forum dedicated to Vietnam veterans and their history. My name is Olivia Newman, I am contacting veteran support groups to raise awareness for the Australian Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Week, the last week in November. As you may know around 30 percent of those diagnosed with Mesothelioma have served in the armed forces and can be directly tied back to their exposure to asbestos working on various military projects.
I represent MesotheliomaSymptoms.com and if you are interested, I would be grateful if you would share our resource on your links page so that veterans, patients and their families can better understand this terrible affliction. Our survival rate page is frequently visited due to the typically poor life expectancy of this disease. Ideally, our goal is to receive a single text link to our Survival Rate of Mesothelioma. Please, just give me an e-mail back and let me know what you think. I hope to hear from you soon and have a great week!
A Thank You to all Vietnam Vets from a Marine in Iraq
A guy gets time to think over here and I was thinking about all the support we get from home. Sometimes it's overwhelming. We get care packages at times faster than we can use them. There are boxes and boxes of toiletries and snacks lining the center of every tent; the generosity has been amazing. So, I was pondering the question: "Why do we have so much support?"
In my opinion, it all came down to one thing: Vietnam Veterans. I think we learned a lesson, as a nation, that no matter what, you have to support the troops who are on the line, who are risking everything. We treated them so poorly back then. When they returned was even worse. The stories are nightmarish of what our returning warriors were subjected to. It is a national scar, a blemish on our country, an embarrassment to all of us.
After Vietnam , it had time to sink in. The guilt in our collective consciousness grew. It shamed us. However, we learned from our mistake. Somewhere during the late 1970's and on into the 80's, we realized that we can't treat our warriors that way. So .... starting during the Gulf War, when the first real opportunity arose to stand up and support the troops, we did. We did it to support our friends and family going off to war. But we also did it to right the wrongs from the Vietnam era. We treat our troops of today like the heroes they were, and are, acknowledge and celebrate their sacrifice, and rejoice at their homecoming ... instead of spitting on them.
And that support continues today for those of us in Iraq .. Our country knows that it must support us and it does. The lesson was learned in Vietnam and we are all better because of it.
Everyone who has gone before is a hero. They are celebrated in my heart. I think admirably of all those who have gone before me. From those who fought to establish this country in the late 1770's to those I serve with here in Iraq . They have all sacrificed to ensure our freedom. But when I get back home, I'm going to make it a personal mission to specifically thank every Vietnam Vet I encounter for THEIR sacrifice. Because if nothing else good came from that terrible war, one thing did. It was the lesson learned on how we treat our warriors. We as a country learned from our mistake and now we treat our warriors as heroes, as we should have all along. I am the beneficiary of their sacrifice. Not only for the freedom they, like veterans from other wars, ensured, but for how well our country now treats my fellow Marines and I. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifice.
Major Brian P. Bresnahan
Anzac Day care packages for ADF members serving overseas
|Following requests from a number of community-based organisations and private citizens, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has established special mailing addresses for members of the public to send Anzac Day care packages to service men and women serving on operations overseas.
The ADF Joint Operations Command Director of General Support, Brigadier Dianne Gallasch, said she is moved by the desire among ordinary Australians to remember those currently serving overseas on the day the nation honours all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in present and past conflicts.
"To be serving on operations on Anzac Day is an experience no sailor, soldier, airman or airwoman forgets," Brigadier Gallasch said.
"The significance of the challenges and sacrifices made by those who have gone before them is all the more poignant when they stop to commemorate Anzac Day on foreign soil. To know that complete strangers back home are thinking of them on this significant day and have sent a small care package is extremely heartening."
Members of the public are able to send parcels through Australia Post, so long as they do not exceed a 2kg cubic weight limit. Items weighing up to 2kg and posted in a "B" size Australia Post carton can be posted without cost to the sender. Parcels exceeding this limit will incur full postal charges which must be paid by the sender.
The postal addresses are active from 14 March until 15 April 2011 and packages will be distributed throughout the appropriate operational areas. For postal security reasons, parcels must be posted in person with presentation of photograph identification and can be lodged at any Australia Post outlet, using the following addresses:
An Australian Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Airwoman
An Australian Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Airwoman
An Australian Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Airwoman
Brigadier Gallasch said deployed service men and women usually have access to essential personal items and those care package items most often appreciated include uniquely Australian treats such as lollies, as well as magazines, books and DVDs.
"Defence subsidises care packages to deployed personnel for Anzac Day and Christmas each year. For Christmas last year, some 10 tonnes of care packages were sent to deployed personnel by members of the public, boosting morale and providing a welcome treat," Brigadier Gallasch said. "On behalf of those members of the ADF who will receive care packages this Anzac Day, I would like to thank the public and community groups, particularly the RSL, for their thoughtfulness and kindness." Information on sending Anzac Day messages and care packages is available on the Defence website at http://www.defence.gov.au/anzacday/mail/index.htm. An alternate option to individual members of the public sending care packages is to donate to the RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund (AFOF). Twice a year the AFOF provides packages to Australian Defence Force, Australian Federal Police and AusAID personnel serving overseas. Further information regarding the AFOF is available on the RSL web site http://www.rsl.org.au/.
Keep Your Contact Details Up To Date
|Have you changed any of your contact details recently?
If so, please let John Verhelst know by emailing him of the changes.
It is particularly important that you notify him of changes to things, like for example, your email address, as this will be one of the methods used to communicate with you.