Gold Coast commemorates service in Vietnam

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Nick Robinson (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Currumbin, Queensland

Topic(s): Australian Navy Cadets

Commodore Malcom Wise, Commander Warfare, at Currumbin RSL for Navy Week Gold Coast. (photo: Unknown)
Commodore Malcom Wise, Commander Warfare, at Currumbin RSL for Navy Week Gold Coast.

The Royal Australian Navy’s contribution to the war in Vietnam was commemorated by the Currumbin Returned and Services League on the Gold Coast recently, as a part of Navy Week activities.
The commemorative event was supported by personnel from HMAS Moreton, Cadet units, Training Ships Southport and Shropshire, and the Royal Australian Navy Band - Queensland. 
Commodore Warfare, Commodore Malcolm Wise, travelled from Sydney to attend the event.
“It is great to have this opportunity to reflect on the service of our past members, with the local community here on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“I have had the pleasure of serving as the Commanding Officer in HMAS Perth, a ship that shares its history with the Vietnam conflict.”
A total of 18 ships of the Royal Australian Navy were stationed on continuous operational service in Vietnam between 1965 and 1972 where Navy members performed a variety of operational tasks at sea, ashore and in the air.
The Navy’s contribution consisted of destroyers, Fleet Air Arm personnel attached to a United States Army helicopter company and Air Force's No. 9 Squadron, a Clearance Diving Team and a logistical support force consisting of transport and escort ships.
“What always strikes me about the service in Vietnam is the length of time Navy spent on operations,” Commodore Wise said.
“In total our ships and personnel were involved in the conflict for almost eight years, which is a significant period.”
Chairman of the Gold Coast Navy Week Committee Jim Dee was an Able Seaman Underwater Controller on HMAS Vampire, during the conflict.
“The purpose of the week is to unite the navy community and to promote the role Navy plays today, as well as in the past and into the future,” he said.
“We have a different focus every year; last year we commemorated the service of HMAS AE2 and this year we decided to commemorate the Navy’s service in Vietnam, following on from the 50th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan.”
“This year has some personal significance for myself, having served during the conflict.”
Navy Week is an opportunity for the community to be proud of the contribution that Navy members past and present have made to Australia.