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Vietnam 50 - commemorating Victoria’s service in the Vietnam War

On Vietnam Veterans Day, Friday 18 August 2023, Australia will commemorate the official end to its involvement in the Vietnam War.

Almost 60,000 Australian personnel served including 350 military and volunteer civilian nurses from 1962 to 1973. Not all personnel served at the same time. 

At any one time, there were no more than 7,700 combat troops on the ground. More than 3,000 Australians were wounded and 523 died in the course of their service.

For Vietnam, an estimated 2 million Vietnamese civilians from North and South Vietnam were killed, and over 1 million Vietnamese soldiers died with another 300,000 declared missing.

This war was controversial, with many Australians protesting against the nation’s involvement, and soldiers were not honoured on their return home from service.

To acknowledge this 50th anniversary and to respect and acknowledge the service and sacrifice of Victorian Vietnam veterans we have filmed five individuals who have shared their diverse perspectives and lived experiences of the Vietnam War.

Francis Donovan, they/them, Delta Company, 5RAR, Vietnam 1966–1967

Graham Atkinson, Armament Fitter, Vietnam, 1969–1970

Jan McCartney, Theatre Sister, Vietnam, 1968–1969

John Haward, Tank Gunner, Vietnam, 1968–1969

Nyugen Van Be, Field Medic, Republic of Vietnam Military, 1969–1975