Commemorative services for Vietnam Veterans Day involving both current and former Royal Australian Navy members took place across the country recently with Navy’s Western Australian-based personnel attending services at War Memorials in Port Kennedy and the City of Joondalup.
The Port Kennedy service was well attended and included children from local schools as well as many veterans. The service was again arranged by the Totally and Partially Disabled Veterans of WA with Executive Officer HMAS Stirling, Commander Milton Treeby, laying a wreath and personnel from Stirling forming the catafalque party.
The commemorative service at Joondalup was particularly memorable with the unveiling of a plaque honouring those that served in the Vietnam War from the Royal Australian Navy, a wreath laying and a fly past from Air Force’s 79 Squadron.
The service was attended by members of Clearance Diving Team Four, with a dedication speech was given by their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Michael Kerrisk outlining the variety of operational tasks at sea, ashore and in the air performed by the Royal Australian Navy in Vietnam.
“How do we convey the commitment of 13,500 naval personnel over a 10 year period involving 20 ships; one destroyer on the gun-line at all times and a continuous presence from the Fleet Air Arm and Clearance Diving Team Three?” he said.
“In reading the history of all the units and the personnel involved, I hadn’t taken onboard that the Royal Australian Navy were in essence engaged in an amphibious campaign for over 10 years.”
Vietnam Veterans Day is commemorated on 18 August every year. The day was originally known as Long Tan Day, chosen to commemorate the men of D Company, 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment who fought the Battle of Long Tan in 1966. In Canberra, a national service was held at the Australian War Memorial.