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Vietnam Veterans Day.



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Sandy Macdonald The Nationals Senator for NSW www.sandymacdonald.com.au 17 August 2004

Vietnam Veterans Day

NSW Senator Sandy Macdonald is encouraging residents of New England to remember those Australians who served in the Vietnam War on Vietnam Veterans’ Day tomorrow (18 August).

There were 59,000 Australians who served in the Vietnam War, including 520 who lost their lives. New England has many Vietnam Veterans.

“Vietnam Veterans’ Day is an important way for both the veteran community and the wider Australian community to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of all those who served in Vietnam,” Senator Macdonald said.

“18 August also marks the 38th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan,” he said.

“This ANZAC Day, I was privileged enough to visit the Long Tan Cross in Vietnam for a commemorative service and to pay tribute to those Australian who fought in the Vietnam War.”

“The Battle of Long Tan is probably the best known action fought by Australians in Vietnam and demonstrates our troops’ dedication and perseverance in battle while facing overwhelming adversaries.”

Australian troops were ambushed by a large force of enemy soldiers while patrolling a rubber plantation near the derelict village of Long Tan.

The company involved managed to hold its position for three hours, being resupplied with ammunition dropped by RAAF helicopters and with artillery support from the nearby Australian base at Nui Dat. A relief force managed to fight its way to D Company and the enemy forces withdrew from the battlefield shortly after this.

“Sadly, 18 Australians lost their lives and a substantial number of others were wounded in the battle. The North Vietnamese force is estimated to have lost at least 245, with as many as 500 wounded.

“The anniversary of this battle is an appropriate time to honour all Australians who served in Vietnam, to remember not only those who died, but also those brave men and women who did return home."

Senator Macdonald said Vietnam Veterans Day also marked the opening of applications for the Australian Government’s $6,000 Long Tan Bursaries (30 in total), developed to help the children of Vietnam veterans pursue tertiary studies.

“Applications for the Long Tan Bursary are open until the end of October and I encourage the children of our Vietnam veterans to use this excellent opportunity. Further information on the Long Tan Bursary can be found on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website at www.dva.gov.au,” he said.

Media Contact: Rachel Kingsford Smith 6766 6998 / 0427 570 506