Anzac Day 2019: Vietnam War through a young Digger’s eyes

THEY are the images of war never before made public: candid snaps of young men behind enemy lines, ­captured by one of their own… raw, intimate and devastating.

These photographs, taken by Vietnam War veteran Allan Beer, himself just 20 years old when he was conscripted into national service, offer a rare behind-the-scenes look at conflict told through a young man’s eyes.

They tell of mateship and youthful optimism, of sons and brothers doing their best. These are not the elite soldiers of today.

Just barely into their adult years, a ragtag group of six men pose outside a Vietnam War camp.

They’re snapped aboard a chopper flying low, taking a break atop a roadside convoy and shirtless watching a naval ship pass by.

There are cheeky shoeshine boys sneaking a cigarette and live performances for a sea of soldiers in green.

The pictures, detailing a group of Australian troop’s moments before their first operation, today made public for the first time will be celebrated at a special exhibition at Howard Smith Wharves as part of an Anzac Day service.

The commemoration coincides with Mr Beer’s 50th anniversary of service and the collection includes photographs of the artist himself, snapped by a friend, looking every bit of his youth, crouched beside a rifle and some ammunition.

Another photo captures him as he wades through mud and water, clutching a gun, while on patrol.

The 70-year-old said that from a young age he was passionate about photography, and carried a camera in his pack that would later capture roughly 300 photos during his time in Vietnam.

“It puts me back there, (the photos) because you can write a book about something, but one photograph can explain a lot to you – more than the written word can,” he said.

“It really captures the moment, and a lot of photos accidentally capture a mood and it’s a bit of a magical thing when you take photos that do that.”

Mr Beer said that he could ­remember every moment behind each picture he captured – and that he ­particularly remembers two ­mischievous Vietnamese shoeshiners.

“These little kids, they were opportunists of course, making a living and they were cheeky little kids, I think that photograph really captured them well,” he said.

He said the photos had been sitting in a box all these years, but would be exhibited for the first time, as he believes younger people are showing a greater interest of what life was like in the Vietnam War.

“I really wish I had of taken more, but of course, there was ­always something going on; there was never a dull moment really,” he said.

“It was all a bit of an adventure; we are all pretty young and it was a bit of an unreal situation.”

Mr Beer told The Courier-Mail that he was lucky to have the opportunity to capture candid shots in a surreal environment.

“A lot of the shots depended on where I was at the time, hanging out on the side of a helicopter – a lot of people never get to experience that, so when they see the photo it is a ‘wow’ moment,” he said.

Sophie Chirgwin, The Courier-Mail April 25, 2019

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Opinion – When Australia Punched Above its Weight


ONE hundred years ago in Paris, the victorious allies were negotiating a treaty to formalise the armistice declared on November 11, 1918. The Little Digger, PM Billy Hughes defended our diggers’ sacrifice.


PM Billy Hughes with Aussie Diggers

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ANZAC DAY 2019

Thank you Australia for keeping the spirit of Anzac alive

See the video presentation that will be shown on the big screen at the MCG  before the Anzac day clash between Essendon and Collingwood.

RARA QLD – eNews 2/2019 April

RARA Queensland’s eNews replaces the previously printed Newsletter “The Spirit”. This is the second quarterly edition.

Enjoy the Read

Vale – Brave Warrior – Ron Perkins 3RAR, Korea, AATTV and Vietnam

It is easy to write of an old soldier such as Ron Perkins who demonstrated strong qualities of life including leadership and love of country. Ron left the army after a very distinguished career including operational service in both Korea and Vietnam.

Even in retirement, supported and encouraged by his ever wonderful and devoted wife, June, he was very much involved in pursuing the interests of fellow veterans. Always to the fore was welfare, promoting pride and camaraderie.  No easy task, given that the aging veterans were scattered over vast distances.

As a soldier of the Third Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment, his baptism of fire was in the early days of the Korean War. The many bloody encounters included the historic Battle of Kapyong where his battalion, despite incredible odds, defied the might of an advancing communist army. For this outstanding and seemingly impossible delaying action, the battalion was awarded the most prestigious United States Presidential Unit Citation.

Years later, he was among those few, selected for service in Vietnam with a recently formed unit, the Australian Army Training Team. (AATTV)  Given that this unit received many awards during operations, the term ‘Training’ became very much a misnomer. AATTV was awarded two foreign unit citations, thus Ron became one of a very few at that time to be wearing three foreign unit citations along with his impressive array of other military awards.

Join me as I picture him and his mates, mostly young, and perhaps distant from the front line, camped on reverse slopes, and around a small campfire. There would be laughing, joking and often singing of their favourite songs which included “The wild colonial boy” and another where in loud voice, they claimed they were all illegitimate and preferred vice and sin to fighting for their country. Such was their wry humour.

Then in the morning, these warriors from the land down under, went forward, exposed to winter’s freezing icy winds and snow or summers hot and relentless heat. Always they were heavily laden with weapons, equipment and a blackened tea billy used by the sub unit, dangling from someone’s haversack. Many of them were wearing American boots, combat smocks and balaclavas they had “borrowed” from their American allies. They tramped along unnamed narrow dirt roads toward the fog of war and the unknowns of their tomorrow; always with a sense of purpose and trust in each other as well as confidence in their leaders. Always evident from the commanding officer to the most junior soldier was the immense pride in their unit. They knew who they were and what they were about to do.  

Ron was part of all of this and clearly showed his love of country and a firm belief in our precious way of life.  His pride and affection for his old units never faltered throughout his life.  Years ago, I became aware that when the time came, he would want to bid farewell to each and all of his surviving old comrades on Planet Earth who would still be answering “Present” at roll call and thus this note. 

Have no doubt that he is now part of the growing ghost column which follows behind today’s youngsters who serve in the battalion, who march proudly with their unit’s Colours held high. As he passes the cheering crowds, the Spirit of one of Australia’s best, Ron Perkins, marching with old comrades one more, and will salute his beloved wife and family watching from afar.

Ron’s military history is recorded in this interview in 2003 

                   Vale Brave Warrior

Go seek glory with your deeds from a distant past 
Rest with old comrades at long, long last 
Feel the glowing, peaceful warmth of the campfire 
Singing, laughing and then restful sleep; gone forever any ire 
 

Those fields of war now washed clean of blood, sweat and tears
Yet still the faint cry ‘‘Duty First’’ can be heard each and every year While on Planet Earth, a new generation firmly holds the sacred flame
Brave deeds stitched on sacred cloth, proudly carried high, again and again  

George Mansford April 2019

Poem – Of God and Soldiers

Many would say that this poem is a true reflection of how God and Soldiers are valued today:


Yet this poem was written nearly 400 years ago by Francis Quarles in his Divine Fancies (1632) ‘Of Common Devotion’

Media Statement – ADSO Policy Objectives 2019-2022

The Alliance of Defence Service Organisation (ADSO) welcomes the opportunity to announce its core Policy Objectives as a timely reminder to those seeking election to the 46th Parliament of Australia that the veterans’ community, speaking largely with a single voice, continues to seek redress of a series of key grievances, many of which have been outstanding for far too long.

Some issues have been the subjects of unfulfilled promises, not the least of which includes the inability to provide Australia’s most disabled Veterans and their families with an adequate standard of living.

kel

In commenting on the Objectives and encouraging all sides of politics to find legislative ways to redress each issue in turn, ADSO’s National Spokesman, Kel Ryan, wished to acknowledge that the Government, with the Opposition’s support, had taken action on a long-held key Objective, namely to legislate an Australian Military (Veterans) Covenant that gives formal recognition to the Unique Nature of Military Service. The Covenant has passed in the House of Representatives. Senators in the next parliament will have the honour of debating the important Bill and giving effect to it in law.

ADSO also wishes to support the outstanding initiatives that established ‘The Oasis Townsville’, a long-held aspiration of the Townsville ESO Community to have a single hub to which all veterans and their families could go, to be then referred out to the services available from the other ESOs in the area. The ‘Oasis’ is a model concept that could in whole, or in part, be replicated in other parts of Australia. ADSO wishes to congratulate all involved.
The Oasis is reflective of the collaboration that is possible between Ex-Service Organisations to help each other to achieve outcomes for a common cause; to have a shared focus on supporting serving and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force; to make the lives of these men, women and their families better, healthier, happier and more rewarding.
16th April 2019

ADSO comprises:
The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), Naval Association of Australia (NAA), RAAF Association (RAAFA), Royal Australian Regiment Corporation (RARC), Australian Special Air Service Association (ASASA), the Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Service Men and Women (TPI Fed), the Fleet Air Arm Association of Australia (FAAAA), Partners of Veterans Association of Australia (PVA), Royal Australian Armoured Corps Corporation (RAACC), the National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association Australia (NMBVAA), Defence Reserves Association (DRA), Australian Gulf War Veterans Association, Australian Commando Association (ACA), the War Widows Guild of Australia (WWG), Military Police Association Australia (MPAA), the Australian Army Apprentices Association (AAAA), the Women Veterans Network Australia (WVNA) and the Combat Support Association (CSA).

Federal Election 2019 – ADSO Policy Objectives

We’re back and ready for action.
At Election time the Government, all Parties and Pollies are accountable to the Australian people for their past performance and we veterans individually assess the impact of their election policies on our Family and the Nation’s future prosperity. The lead up to the Election is the time when Interest Groups such as ADSO have the best opportunity to be heard and listened to and to influence the Parties’ Veterans’ policies.

The Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia’s motto “Honour the dead but fight like hell for the Living”, truly reflects Australia’s paramount national interests in relation to military service: honouring the dead by commemorating their service and caring for the well-being of veterans and their families.
The Nation’s Promise to veterans as stated by PM Billy Hughes in 1917: “We say to them – ‘You go and fight, and when you come back we will look after your welfare’ ….we have entered into a bargain with the soldier, and we must keep it!”, is a non-discretionary obligation.
That commitment, which led to the national obligation to maintain for veterans and their families care and a reasonable standard of living, has been broken in certain areas by successive Governments.

ADSO – A REMINDER
ADSO is an active representative voice for our Australian Defence Family to the Australian Parliament and the Australian people. We advocate to Governments for the well-being of our Defence Family and protection of its service entitlements. We are a non-partisan Alliance of most major ex-service organisations. We lobby the Government, its appropriate Ministers and political parties to achieve our objectives. 
Our Canberra lobby team has direct access to the DVA Minister through quarterly meetings with him and staff on topical issues and importantly we are represented by eight of ADSO’s members on DVA’s National Consultative Framework and its constituent forums (ESO Round Table (ESORT)National Aged and Community Care Forum (NACCF)Operational Working Party (OWP) and Younger Veterans — Contemporary Needs Forum (YVF). It is a formal consultative structure designed to facilitate effective communication between the veteran and ex-service community, the Repatriation and Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commissions, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). It gives us the opportunity to highlight DVA policy and process problems and seek remedies. Have a look at what they discuss at their quarterly meetings.
And we respond to all Government inquiries related to veterans’ issues with researched submissions and attend related public hearings and inquiries to address them.
Major submissions in the past few years have been:
• 2019 – The Productivity Commission Inquiry into DVA – ADSO Submission March 2019 and ADSO Submission July 2018.
• 2016 – Senate Inquiry into Veterans Suicides – ADSO Submission dated 7 Oct 2016; supplementary submission dated 11 Oct 2016.

ADSO intends to become an Incorporated entity this year to give it greater strength, governance and opportunities.

ADSO’s MAJOR POLICY OBJECTIVES – 2019 Election and Beyond

Download ADSO Policy Objectives PDF

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 They will be released by our national spokesperson Kel Ryan in Townsville tomorrow Tue 16th April 2019.

WE NEED YOUR HELP – HERE’S HOW
To be successful we need your support. Even though these objectives may have no benefit to you personally NOW, they do to others of our Defence Family such as the:
• 235,000 military superannuants administered by the Government protected Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC);
• 110,000 MSBS members who have preserved benefits that are poorly indexed and not receivable until their notional retiring age and not portable to another complying Superannuation Fund;
• DFRDB Superannuants who commuted;
•  Widows whose reversionary payment is unfair;
• 27,000 TPIs whose disability payments have been severely eroded;
• 90,000 veterans whose disability payments have been eroded, and
• 290,000 DVA clients.
We hope that being part of our Family you will be supportive in whatever way you can.

Regardless of the election result we will be promoting our issues to all the newly elected MPs/Senators through our Advocates in Canberra and our Action Groups in the electorates by offering our support to brief them on veterans’ matters.

There is no doubt that using direct action tactics especially with social media is effective in promoting our issues. Please share our activities with your family and friends on Facebook, twitter or other social media.

Join Us. If you have not yet joined us, then please  subscribe to receive our free Updates and/or volunteer to join your local electorate Action Group Team or become an Advisor. As an Advisor you can assist us with your experience and expertise in a particular Campaign policy objective, such as arketing,public relations, media, investigative journalism, superannuation, legal, health, information services and technology, accounting, financial planning, sales, etc.

Add On. If you already subscribe to receive our Updates, then please consider increasing your involvement by volunteering to join your local electorate Action Group Team or becoming an Advisor.

Stay InformedKeep up to date with the Fair Go Campaign

Donating to Fund the Campaign

We are all unpaid volunteers and are motivated by the need to protect and care for our Defence Family. We fund our Campaign solely by donations from our supporters. If you can, please make a donation. Every donation, no matter how small, will make a big impact on our ability to get our message into the community. It will help pay for our promotions and promotional material (posters, Fact Sheet handouts etc), professional advice and administrative expenses. We are fortunate that many of our supporters provide their professional advice free. Thanks for your donation.

THANK YOU AUSTRALIA FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN PROTECTING THE PROTECTORS
UNITED WE SUCCEED, DIVIDED WE FAIL


Ted Chitham & Alf Jaugietis
Co-Directors ADSO Fair Go Campaign
15 April 2019

Vale – Ron Perkins

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Maurie Pears has advised that sadly Ron Perkins, our distinguished Korean War Veteran comrade and pioneer member of 3 RAR passed away after a long illness at 1900 last night 14th April 2019.

“I have conveyed our condolences to June through Ray Deed, who will notify us of funeral arrangements as soon as available.

He will be sadly missed by all who shared the pleasure of his company.

The members of the Korean War Association are devastated.

Ron was with us at the opening night at Beenleigh RSL and has been a constant attendance each year at Cascade since 2009.

Duty Done. “


Ron’s military history is recorded in this interview in 2003

Opinion – A pox on ADF’s PC stance

It’s now considered too dangerous for bodies of uniformed personnel to march at dawn service.
Australians gather each Anzac Day dawn to commemorate those who fell, not to express concern about those who might now merely stumble.

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