Navy members based at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin travelled to Alice Springs to show their respects at the Vietnam Veterans’ Day memorial service last Saturday. They were joined by members from the RAN Band Sydney and Navy Headquarters South Australia as part of Navy’s Community Engagement Program.
The Australian Government’s official roll of Vietnam veterans indicates 22 servicemen born in what was then the small country town of Alice Springs who went on to serve in Vietnam as either sailors or soldiers. That number would be higher again when veterans born in the wider Alice Springs region is taken into account.
Vietnam Veterans’ Day is held annually on the anniversary of one of the most publicised Australian battles of the Vietnam War, the battle of Long Tan. In that battle, 18 Australians were killed and 24 were wounded of a company of 108 men who had engaged with a Vietnamese force of greater than 1000.
Speaking after the service, Able Seaman Emily Delaney said the 3000 kilometre round trip was worth the drive.
“The service was really beautiful and when the wreath was being laid it really did bring a tear to the eye,” said Able Seaman Emily Delaney.
Navy’s Community Engagement Program supports a range of local activities in remote communities across the Northern Territory.