Australia — Vietnam Veterans remembered in Afghanistan

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. 

Media con­tact:
Defence Media Liai­son: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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