A replica of the cross that has come to symbolise the sacrifice of Australian servicemen in Vietnam a generation ago took pride of place in a ceremony at Multi-National Base — Tarin Kot yesterday.
Australian troops reflected on the service of their fighting forebears during the Long Tan Day commemoration in a world far removed from the jungle and plantations of Vietnam.
Addressing the Australian, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan troops who attended the memorial service, 1st Mentoring Task Force Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Mark Jennings said the exploits of Delta Company 6RAR in 1966 had come to symbolise Australia’s contribution to the war in South Vietnam but the day was also especially poignant for the soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan.
“While we take time out to reflect and pay respects to the 18 men of 6RAR who died at Long Tan, take a moment to remember this Task Force, our predecessors and our fellow warriors from the Special Operations Task Group who have lost 18 of our own generation here in Afghanistan,” Lieutenant Colonel Jennings said.
“The 6RAR Battlegroup – Mentoring Task Force 1 of 2010 – carries on the tradition set by our forebears.”
The 1st Mentoring Task Force is drawn from the Brisbane-based 6th Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment, the same unit whose soldiers fought for their lives in the Courtney rubber plantation of Phuoc Tuy Province 44 years ago.
Regimental Sergeant Major of the 1st Mentoring Task Force Warrant Officer Class One Brett Brown said it was important to recognise the history and tradition of the Battalion.
“It’s the young soldiers of today who are going to carry on this tradition as the Battalion’s history keeps growing,” Warrant Officer Class 1 Brown said.
Task Force soldiers serving in remote patrol bases throughout Uruzgan also held small services to remember the courage and service of Australia’s Vietnam veterans.
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