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The Vietnam War

Victoria Remembers - Vietnam

The Victorian Government is committed to honouring the service and sacrifice of those who served during the Vietnam War and ensuring these stories are safeguarded and shared with future generations.

On this page

History

Soldier in field

Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial

Australian servicemen and women were engaged in the Vietnam conflict from 1962 to 1975.

The Republic of Vietnam requested support from the United States and allies, including Australia, in the early 1960s, with the aim of resisting the communist North Vietnamese government from overpowering the South. In response, Australia deployed the Australian Training Team Vietnam, a non-combative action which was in keeping with the policies of other nations.

Almost 60,000 Australians, including ground troops, air force and navy personnel, served in Vietnam; 521 Australians died in the conflict and over 3,000 were wounded.

Many more served and supported the war in different ways - medical personnel at the front and at home, volunteer nurses, entertainers, journalists, artists and, not least of all, family members who sent letters, care packages and their love.

Australia's participation in the war was formally declared at an end by the Governor-General on 11 January 1973 and the last Australian combat troops were withdrawn in June 1973.

Impact

The Victorian Government acknowledges the difficulties faced by those who served in the Vietnam War and their families - not only on the battlefield but upon their return home. Australian involvement was set against the backdrop of divided public opinion on conscription, the use of chemical and guerrilla warfare and global, immediate media coverage of the war - it was the first war to be played out on television.

Many of those who survived endured great hardship during the war, and returned home with both physical and emotional scars.

Over 19,000 of the men who served in Vietnam were conscripted as part of the National Service scheme, re-introduced in 1965.

Despite how the men on the battlefield came to be there, they all showed the same fine qualities as were displayed by the ANZACs during World War One - that of mateship, loyalty, dedication and courage.

The honourable conduct of Australian troops in Vietnam - including assisting enemy combatants with medical aid, protecting civilians and villages - has been noted by the Vietnamese and is represented by the Long Tan Cross which marks the site of the battle and is one of only two foreign memorials allowed on Vietnamese soil today.

Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk

Image courtesy of DigiGlass

2016 Commemorative Events and Activities

18 August 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan (also known as Vietnam Veterans Day), the costliest single battle for Australian troops during the Vietnam War. 18 Australians were killed in action and many more were wounded.

Vietnam Veterans' Day is commemorated annually on 18 August, when Australians are encouraged to pause and remember the service and sacrifice of all those who served during the Vietnam War.

During 2016, the Victorian Government will support a number of activities in recognition of those who served during the Vietnam War. $1 million over two years has been committed to support the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA) Victorian Branch in delivering a range of thoughtful commemorative and educational activities. Activities include:

Please visit www.vvaavic.org.au/50th-anniversary-battle-of-long-tan-commemoration - for the full list of events and activities for 2016.

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia logo

The Victorian Government is proud to support the Victorian Branch of the VVAA and acknowledges the important work they have done for over 35 years in addressing the issues of health and wellbeing for Vietnam Veterans and their families.


Links

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia - Victorian Branch

VVAA Education Team

National Vietnam Veterans Museum, Phillip Island

The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia - Victoria Branch

War Widows Guild

Australian War Memorial

Vietnamese Community in Australia

Victoria Remembers

Victoria Remembers

The Vietnam War is just one chapter in Australia's military history - a story which spans more than a century, from the late 1800s to current conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australians serve proudly today. We encourage all Victorians to connect and learn more about our history at www.facebook.com/VictoriaRemembers

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