Moreton reflects on the service of Australia's Vietnam Vets

This article has photo gallery Published on Royal Australian Navy (author), Images courtesy of Norman Park National Servicemen’s Sub Branch (photographer)

Location(s): Brisbane, QLD

Topic(s): HMAS Moreton, Commemoration, Vietnam Veterans Day

Commander Andy Clowes joins Vietnam veterans at a Vietnam Veterans Day commemorative service at Anzac Square in Brisbane. (photo: Unknown)
Commander Andy Clowes joins Vietnam veterans at a Vietnam Veterans Day commemorative service at Anzac Square in Brisbane.

HMAS Moreton represented Navy at two separate events in Brisbane on 18 August that commemorated the battles of the Vietnam War and those who served in them.

The first event was a Vietnam Veterans Day service which commemorated the 53rd anniversary of Long Tan and remembered the sacrifices of all those who served in the war in Vietnam.

Commander Andy Clowes represented Moreton and laid a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Day Ceremony at the newly refurbished Anzac Square in Brisbane city with all three services represented to honour those who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

“It was pleasing to see such a great turnout of Vietnam Veterans as well as a supportive public gallery.

“Many veterans still carry the scars - physical and emotional - of the conflict and it was an honour to be able to represent Navy on this very important day,” Commander Clowes said. 

Executive Officer HMAS Moreton, Lieutenant Commander Anne Mena, with Army Veteran Deacon Des Neagle, at a Vietnam Veterans commemorative service service at Anzac Square in Brisbane.

Executive Officer HMAS Moreton, Lieutenant Commander Anne Mena, with Army Veteran Deacon Des Neagle, at a Vietnam Veterans commemorative service service at Anzac Square in Brisbane.

Moreton’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Anne Mena delivered a speech at a separate commemorative event held at the Norman Park National Servicemen’s Sub Branch.

Her speech set the sombre mood and importance of the day for the Australian Defence Force.

Speaking to all in attendance, she said:

“Vietnam remains one of the most difficult and controversial wars we have ever fought. A war that caused social and political dissent. Media coverage in the war zone had a detrimental effect on public opinion. Pictures and stories of atrocities entering Australian households, the impact was that while the general Australian public initially supported the war, this support diminished as the war went on and the public was divided.

The sheer guts, determination and ‘fight’ of our Vietnam veterans should have remained within the carnage of the battlefield. But they had to keep fighting when they got home. These Vietnam veterans formed the Vietnam Veterans Association in 1979 and the Vietnam Veterans Federation in 1981 to carry their fight to the government.

Amendments to Government policies and processes, Defence Force policies and support services, Veteran’s affairs, RSLs and Legacy services to support both veterans and their families now ensure that all members serving within the Australian Defence Force will not have to go through what they did.

To Vietnam veterans, your fight was not in vain, and on behalf of those of us that serve, I thank you,” Lieutenant Commander Mena said.