VIETNAM Veterans Day annual commemorative services will be held across Port Stephens on Saturday, 18 August.
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RSL sub-branch groups across Port Stephens will be hosting the commemorations.
The Nelson Bay RSL Sub-branch will be holding their service at the Apex Park memorial on Victoria Road, Nelson Bay commencing at 11.00am.
Medowie RSL Sub-branch will hold their service at Lions Memorial Park in Medowie, commencing at 10:30am.
Karuah RSL Sub-branch will this year host a combined service with Tea Gardens Sub Branch and Veterans from Bulahdelah and Nabiac, commencing at 11am at the Memorial in Karuah.
Tilligerry and Raymond Terrace RSL Sub-branch are also expected to hold services, with details to be confirmed shortly.
Vietnam Veterans Day was originally a day in commemoration of the Battle of Long Tan, which took place on 18 August 1966.
It has grown to be a day to remember the service and sacrifice of all Vietnam veterans from the Australian Army, Navy, and Airforce.
Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War went for over a decade from 1962 to the end of the war in 1975, making it Australia’s longest war at the time.
Of the 60,000 serving Australians, 521 were killed, and over 3,000 wounded.
Mr Russell Durant from Nelson Bay RSL sub-branch spoke with News Of The Area about his service.
“I was a national serviceman called up in the first intake on 31 June, 1965 for two years’ service.”
“After three months basic training at Puckapunyal in Victoria, I was posted to the 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, an infantry battalion at Holsworthy.”
“After a lot more training and learning new skills, I flew out of RAAF Richmond on a Qantas Boeing 707 with civilian crew at midnight on 6 May 1966 arriving at Saigon the next morning.”
“After two weeks acclimation training we airlifted to the area known as Nui Dat where the 1st Australian Task Force was to be located.”
“I spent the next 12 months with great mates, with whom I share a bond that will never be broken, from the most mundane of time on base, or getting organised for operations, to the madness of combat.”
“For me, Vietnam Veterans Day is a time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who have and are still suffering from the effects of their service.”
“Lots are still fighting the hidden demons, and I will be with my mates, telling a few stories and having a few beers.”
By Rachael VAUGHAN