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Remembering the 50th Anniversary Of the Battle of Long Tan

Remembering the 50th Anniversary  Of the Battle of Long Tan

Representatives of the 7 Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment joined with members of local R.S.L. sub-branches, local school children, councillors and members of the community at the Tanunda Memorial Gardens last Thursday to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, also recognising Vietnam Veteran’s Day.

Father Mark Sexton said, “Today we honour those who made the supreme sacrifice as he gave his official blessing.

He spoke about the experience by the young Australian soldiers 50 years ago. He said they succeeded because of their dedication, their training and their back up support. 

“The Viet Cong intended to wipe out all of the Australians that day.” 

Lieutenant Colonel Jack Gregg, of Krondorf, addressing the crowd, said, “Today marks a very special anniversary in the history of the Australian Defence Forces and indeed marks a sad and special day for all Australians enjoying the wonderful freedoms and blessings of our country with the realisation that sometimes we need to fight and perhaps even die to protect and sustain what we have.

“Fifty years ago on this day in a foreign jungle during torrential, persistent monsoon rain 108 Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought and defeated an enemy force of 2,500.

“Members of Delta Company, 6 RAR supported by artillery and armour fought a bloody, close quarter battle that lasted for five hours.

“When finally the enemy withdrew, the smoke started to lift and the rain subsided, the full impact of the event was disturbing and shocking.

“Intelligence estimates suggest that Delta Company had fought off some twenty times their number, leaving over 800 enemy dead or wounded.

“Tragically, 18 Australian soldiers were killed in the action that was later known as the Battle of Long Tan. Twenty-four Australian soldiers were wounded.

“These dead are numbered alongside of more than 500 regular and national service sailors, soldiers and airmen who also went to Vietnam and did not return.

“Today we remember not just the soldiers of the Battle of Long Tan, but on Vietnam Veteran’s Day we recognise a wider group of Australians who served during the Vietnam conflict and continued to display and reinforce the traits for which Australian soldiers had become world renowned for since Gallipoli and the Western Front 100 years ago: courage and determination, mateship and teamwork, leadership and tenacity, compassion and humour.

“The Vietnam War further reinforced our international reputation as a skilled exponent of the profession of arms.

 For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.