Vietnam Veterans’ Day 18 August
On 18 August, we commemorate Vietnam Veterans’ Day on the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in 1966. We remember the sacrifices of those who died and say thank you to almost 60,000 Australians who served during the 10 years of our involvement in the Vietnam War.
Australians and the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest military engagement of the 20th Century.
The arrival of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam in South Vietnam during July and August 1962 marked the start of Australia’s involvement in the war.
By the time the war had come to an end, almost 60,000 Australians served during a decade of conflict between 1962 and 1972. Tragically, 521 of them died and 3000 were wounded.
Battle of Long Tan
The Battle of Long Tan was a significant moment in Australia’s war in Vietnam.
On 18 August 1966, in a rubber plantation near the village of Long Tan, Australian soldiers fought one of their fiercest battles of the war.
The men of Delta Company, 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, faced a force of some 2000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. The battle was fought in wet and muddy conditions during a heavy tropical downpour.
By the end of the day, 17 Australians had been killed in action and 25 were wounded, one of whom died a few days later. This was the largest number of casualties in a single operation since the Australian Task Force had established its base at nearby Nui Dat the previous April.
On this day, we commemorate all the battles fought by Australians in Vietnam, from large-scale operations to platoon and section-level encounters. We remember the sailors of the Royal Australian Navy who supported land operations, and members of the Royal Australian Air Force who served in combat and transport roles.
A day to say ‘thank you’
On Vietnam Veterans’ Day, we pause and reflect on the bravery, teamwork and endurance that Australians displayed throughout the war.
It’s a day when we recognise all who served in Vietnam.
We honour those veterans who:
Lost their lives during battle
Returned home wounded, ill or injured
Lost their lives in the years since they returned
Still carry the physical and emotional scars of their service
We also pause to reflect on the impact of service on our veterans’ families.