The Royal Australian Regiment – 70th Anniversary Celebrations

The Royal Australian Regiment will be a focus of activities in Canberra 22-23 Nov 18 to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Regiment.


Past and serving members of the regiment, together with supporters of the regiment are invited to a number of events:

Thu 22 Nov 18.

Regimental style dinner at the Canberra Institute of Technology restaurant.

Guided tours of the AWM with a Regimental focus.

Battalion or State/Territory Associations may wish to hold functions in Canberra – AGM’s, lunches etc

Fri 23 Nov 18

Primary activity is a parade on the Australian War Memorial (AWM) Parade Ground from 1530hr, involving all the colours of the battalions of the regiment, a guard found from 8/9 RAR and a ‘massed band’ of regimental pipes and drums of 8/9 RAR and the RMC band. Of interest, it is anticipated that all of the battalion colours will have ‘new’ battle honours emblazoned on them.

This will be followed by the Last Post ceremony, where a soldier of the regiment will be remembered.

A reception in Anzac hall will be held from 1830-2030hr. A separate invitation list will be advised shortly.

It will be a great opportunity for former and current serving members of the Regiment, together with family and friends, to celebrate this important milestone and remember the sacrifice of those who have gone before them.

Place these dates in your diary and keep an eye out for more details to be made available in early September.

Happy Fathers Day

To all the military Dad’s currently serving, at home or away, and veterans our best wishes to YOU for a HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

 

Commemorating the Service of Malaya and Borneo Veterans

Malaya and Borneo Veterans’ Day, today recognises Australian military personnel who served in two historical campaigns – the Malayan Emergency (1948–1960), and the Indonesian Confrontation, or Konfrontasi, (1962–1966).

 

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester today encouraged Australians to reflect on the service and sacrifice of those who served during these post-Second World War conflicts in Malaya and on Borneo.

“The Malayan Emergency was declared on 18 June 1948, following the Malayan Communist Party launching an insurgency against British colonial rule,” Mr Chester said.
“Australia’s military became involved in 1950 and served in the Emergency until its official end in 1960, however, some units remained in Malaya until 1963.
“I encourage all Australians to pause and reflect on our 13 years in Malaya, and to recognise how our personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force played a key role in bringing the long-running insurgency to an end.”
The Indonesian Confrontation began in 1962 when Indonesian forces launched attacks on the newly federated state of Malaysia. Australian forces became involved two years later.
“The British led response to the Confrontation included the deployment of various elements of the three Australian armed services,” Mr Chester said.
“Australian and other Commonwealth troops proved themselves during the Confrontation as professionally adaptable to the challenges of conducting successful small scale operations in the thickly forested terrain of Borneo, experiences that would prove useful in the Vietnam War.”
“Today we should reflect on the Australian service personnel who served in the Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation, and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

An Honour to Serve, a Dishonour to Forget

MANY Australians still remember that absurdly youthful face of Alec Campbell peering out from the front page of newspapers after he died in May 2002.
The “Last Anzac’’, who joined up at the age of 16 in 1915, was the final living link Australia had to perhaps our most enduring and powerful foundation myth – Gallipoli.

In a few short years, we’ll see another front-page, black-and-white photo. It will be of another youthful face sporting a jaunty grin and wearing a slouch hat at a rakish angle, the background depicting the jungles of Papua New Guinea or perhaps the brown deserts of North Africa.
Inside the paper and on millions of morning television screens will appear, adjacent to the ancient photo, colour portraits of a dignified old man wearing a sports jacket festooned with medals.
And, as we read about the death of the last Australian World War II veteran, we’ll feel a stab of poignant sorrow deep within.
We’ll ponder the horrors of war, the nobility of sacrifice and the whole transient, evanescent and inconstant nature of human existence.

And then we’ll turn to the sports pages.

It’s not that we don’t honour our war veterans. We do.
On a per capita basis, the Anzac Day crowds of April 25 possibly outshine the participation rates of Americans, who put aside not one but two days a year to honour their military vets – Memorial day and Veterans Day.
We can even (especially if we are politicians anxious to wrap ourselves in a flag of patriotic virtue) bestow upon anyone who dons a military uniform a righteous stamp of morality they don’t always deserve.

Yet it’s clear we can also take military service for granted, mouthing platitudes about the honour of taking up arms then failing utterly to provide assistance to those who do.

Last week, we were told veterans of the Battle of Long Tan could not march through Central Brisbane on the battle’s anniversary because of logistic problems related to Anzac Square renovations.
No one was at fault. All those engaged in the process – from the Queensland Police to the Brisbane City Council to the vets themselves, acted in good faith to resolve the problem.
Yet, somehow, the 52nd anniversary commemorations of one of the most important Australian military engagements of the past half century was limited largely to a handful of events across provincial towns.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the Brisbane Anzac Day Combined Parade Committee who were looking for a few extra dollars (they need an extra $35,000 a year), were told by the Queensland Government to consider putting the begging bowl out to the private sector to take up the shortfall.
And just three years ago, I was intrigued to learn, while interviewing a WWII veteran who fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, about his struggle to obtain a disability pension.
“Ken’’ had lost both legs as the result of a ship board accident (not involving enemy fire) while serving in combat zones during WWII. Yet, for years the Department of Veterans Affairs argued with him over whether he qualified for a pension.
He won his case only because his wife found letters Ken had sent her (his then girlfriend) during the war years detailing the accident and its impact on his health. It struck me as an unseemly bout of bureaucratic churlishness given Ken had faced down kamikaze planes as he helped the Americans fend off the Japanese advance near the Philippine island of Leyte in October 1944.

Australia is a long way from the Roman ideal of the warrior. It can’t be disputed that in the years following WWII, the status of the military plummeted. Once military men (and they were almost exclusively men) dominated leadership positions in their communities and carried their honorifics (colonel, major etc) into civilian life, especially in rural parts of Australia.
Now, they are often ignored.

We might need a rethink of our attitude to those of us who, whatever their own personal motives or goals, perform one of the most difficult jobs on earth.

It’s clear we can also take military service for granted

Have you any unwanted ADF Buttons?

Vietnam Veterans’ Day and the Battle of Long Tan

TODAY on Vietnam Veterans’ Day and the 52nd anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, all Australians are encouraged to pause and reflect on the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served during the Vietnam War.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester will pay his respects to all those who served in the Vietnam War, laying a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day Service at the National Australian Vietnam Forces Memorial, ANZAC Parade, Canberra.
“The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest military engagement of the 20th Century with almost 60,000 Australians serving during a decade of conflict between 1962 and 1972,” Mr Chester said.
“Each year on the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, Australia commemorates all those who served in the Vietnam War, including the more than 500 Australians who lost their lives.”
“Today we acknowledge and honour all who served in Vietnam during 10 years of war and we honour the veterans who have lost their lives in the years since they returned, those who still carry the physical and emotional scars of their service and the families that have stood by them.”
The Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day Service in Canberra is organised each year by the Vietnam Veterans and Veterans Federation ACT Inc.
“The Battle of Long Tan, on the 18 August 1966, was one of the fiercest battles fought by Australian soldiers in the Vietnam War. A total of 17 Australians were killed in action and 25 were wounded, one of whom died a few days later,” Mr Chester said.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia and the role it played in the establishment of a dedicated counselling service providing specialised mental health and support services to all veterans and their families — the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service, now known as the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS).”
Australians are encouraged to attend the Last Post Ceremony held at the Australian War Memorial at 4:55pm AEST today to commemorate Vietnam Veterans’ Day and the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
It will remember the service and sacrifice of Petty Officer O’Brian Cedric Ignatious Phillips who served during the Vietnam War in the Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam and was killed in action in a helicopter crash on 21 August 1968, aged 32.

Look back at VP Day, cost of war

LOST in all the media fog over past days was the 73rd anniversary of Victory in the Pacific in World War II.
Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945 after US aircraft dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshima, then Nagasaki.
Until these devastating attacks Japan had shown no inclination to end hostilities, despite Allied preparations to invade the Japanese mainland.
Historians can only speculate what that may have cost in lives and materiel, or whether it would even have succeeded as had the Allied invasion of Europe 14 months earlier.
Victory in Europe was declared on May 8, 1945 when Germany surrendered.
However, despite Japan’s capitulation, formal surrender ceremonies would not happen until September 2, when US General Douglas McArthur formally received Japanese representatives aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Valley Veterans: What Vietnam Veterans Day means to those who served

·        Mick Birtles DSC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldiers returning from the Vietnam War look on as a protester covered in red paint interrupts the welcome home parade in Sydney in 1966. Photo by Noel Stubbs, Fairfax Media.

Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War continued longer than any other conflict of the twentieth century.  Beginning as a small commitment in 1962 and concluding in 1975.

Approximately 60,000 Australian’s served in Vietnam with the loss of 500 lives and over 3000 wounded. There was little opposition to our participation in the early years, however this changed as perception grew that the war was being lost and conscripts were increasingly being deployed, killed and wounded.

For many of those returning from Vietnam the public anger regarding this country’s involvement in the conflict was personal. Many were shunned and disrespected by elements within the community.

Through the efforts of Vietnam Veterans and their families, the public conscience eventually came to understand that these men and women had been in Vietnam on the direction of their government and were doing their duty. As an act of national recognition, in 1987 Prime Minister Bob Hawke declared the 18th of August each year would be known as Vietnam Veterans Day.

Accepted and respected

There are many Vietnam Veterans who call the Mid North Coast home and I have spoken to a few to get their thoughts on Vietnam Veterans Day.

Mr Wayne Mason of Stuarts Point, a former National Serviceman served in Vietnam as an Infantry soldier. He considers this day is a time to remember all of those who served and did their duty, irrespective of their views on the conflict.

Mr Bill Shepherd of Nambucca Heads, says he does not think back fondly on his time there but remembers those who were killed in action.

 Mr Bill Shepherd in Vietnam during the war and today at home in Nambucca Heads.

Mr Brian Duncan OAM of Nambucca Heads, served in Vietnam with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR), on the first large deployment of combat troops to Vietnam. He says this day provides comfort to many veterans as it demonstrates they are now accepted and respected by the Australian public.

Each of the three Veterans had a different experience on their return to Australia. Mr Mason recalls arriving back in Australia very late at night and generally being shielded from public view, possibly to avoid protesters.

Mr Shepherd remembers being shunned by one RSL Sub Branch on one occasion as the ‘old and bold’ did not consider Vietnam a war, then being overwhelmingly welcomed by another RSL Sub Branch.

During a welcome home parade for 1 RAR in 1966, Mr Duncan was witness to the much-documented actions of a young lady covering herself with red paint and smearing it on the battalion’s commanding officer.

 Mr Brian Duncan (second from the front) looks on as a protester covered in red paint interrupts the welcome home parade in Sydney in 1966. Photo by Noel Stubbs, Fairfax Media and Mr Duncan OAM at home in Hyland Park, Nambucca Heads.

In response to a question I posed to these gentleman regarding their advice to veterans returning to Australia from recent conflicts, their response was similar.

They recommend accepting any help available, that is intended to assist with integration back into the community, to understand there is help for you and to trust your judgement.

Mr Duncan added it is important not to lose contact with your mates who had been through the experience with you, as it is often they who can best understand issues you may be having and be able to lend a helping hand.

Nambucca Valley commemorations

For the Nambucca Valley the 2018 Vietnam Veterans Day Commemorations will be held at Stuarts Point. The service will begin at 11am (gathering at 10:45 am), August 18, 2018 at the Memorial on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Marine Parade, followed by lunch at the Stuarts Point Bowling Club.

About the author: Mick Birtles is a recently retired army officer now living in Nambucca Heads. During his 36-year career, Birtles served in Bougainville, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for command and leadership. Here he shares his interest in the issues effecting veterans on the Mid North Coast.

Commemoration – 65th Anniversary Korean War Armistice

A national commemorative service to mark the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice will be held on Friday 27 July 2018 at the Australian National Korean War Memorial on Anzac Parade in Canberra.

The Armistice ending three years of fighting on the Korean peninsula was signed on 27 July 1953. The present day border between North and South Korea approximates the border as it was in June 1950 when North Korea invaded the south, beginning a war that pitted the Cold War powers of communist China and the Soviet Union against the United States and her allies, fighting under United Nations’ auspices, in a massive military confrontation.

All three of Australia’s armed services took part in the Korean War. The Royal Australian Navy committed ships four days after the war began; the Royal Australian Air Force’s 77 Squadron was deployed to Korea within a week of the invasion, and the first Australian ground troops arrived in September 1950. Approximately 17,000 Australian personnel served in Korea, including Army and RAAF nurses. Some 340 lost their lives, more than 1,200 were wounded and 30 were taken prisoner.

This is a free event and members of the public are encouraged to attend. This is not a ticketed event and limited, un-allocated seating will be provided for general public. Standing room will be available once the unallocated seating area has reached capacity.

For more information, please email [email protected]

Anzac Day Service at Fort Benning USA

ANZAC Day ceremony in Fort Benning USA at the only memorial in the US that lists the names of Australian KIA. Listed are the names of 1 RAR Group members killed while serving with the 173rd Airborne Brigade (SEP) in Vietnam in 1965-66.

READ MORE  and watch the video