Long Tan 50th anniversary service cancelled

The Vietnamese Government has advised the Australian Government that it will not permit the ceremony to commemorate Vietnam Veteran’s Day at the Long Tan cross site at 15:30 on 18 August to proceed.

Long TanThe Government is deeply disappointed at this decision, and the manner in which it was taken, so close to the commemoration service taking place.

Australia’s Ambassador has registered our deep concerns with the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Government is seeking urgent calls with Vietnamese counterparts at the most senior levels to register our concerns.

Australia has been working closely with Vietnamese authorities for 18 months to prepare for this event. Memorial events have been held at Long Tan since 1989.

Australian veterans and their families had planned to attend a ceremony at Long Tan marked by mutual respect to remember and honour the sacrifice of those lost in the Vietnam War from both sides. For many veterans, this would have been their first visit to Vietnam since the war.

For the more than one thousand Australians who have travelled to Vietnam to attend the 50th anniversary memorial service this is bitterly disappointing news.

The Vietnam Veterans’ Association and the Vietnam Veterans’ Federation have been briefed by the Government on the decision taken by the Vietnamese Government.

The Smartraveller website has been updated. Travellers requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the 24 hour consular line on +61 2 6261 3305.

The Vietnamese Government has advised the Australian Government that it will not permit the ceremony to commemorate Vietnam Veteran’s Day at the Long Tan cross site at 15:30 on 18 August to proceed.

The Government is deeply disappointed at this decision, and the manner in which it was taken, so close to the commemoration service taking place.

Australia’s Ambassador has registered our deep concerns with the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Government is seeking urgent calls with Vietnamese counterparts at the most senior levels to register our concerns.

Australia has been working closely with Vietnamese authorities for 18 months to prepare for this event. Memorial events have been held at Long Tan since 1989.

Australian veterans and their families had planned to attend a ceremony at Long Tan marked by mutual respect to remember and honour the sacrifice of those lost in the Vietnam War from both sides. For many veterans, this would have been their first visit to Vietnam since the war.

For the more than one thousand Australians who have travelled to Vietnam to attend the 50th anniversary memorial service this is bitterly disappointing news.

The Vietnam Veterans’ Association and the Vietnam Veterans’ Federation have been briefed by the Government on the decision taken by the Vietnamese Government.

The Smartraveller website has been updated. Travellers requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the 24 hour consular line on +61 2 6261 3305.

 

 

18 August 1966 – The Battle of Long Tan

Long Tan
Long Tan action, Vietnam, 18 August 1966 by Bruce Fletcher (1970, oil on canvas, 152 x 175 cm). A reconstruction of the Battle of Long Tan, Vietnam, 18 August 1966, between ‘D’ Company and Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces; several events that happened at intervals during the battle are shown here happening simultaneously.

In March 1966 Australia decided to increase its commitment to the war in Vietnam. The 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) was part of this commitment. 1ATF was responsible for the Phuoc Tuy Province, an area with significant Viet Cong activity.

1ATF began arriving at Phuoc Tuy between April and June 1966. They constructed their base at Nui Dat (now part of Ba Ria city). In June New Zealand’s 161st Battery was also integrated into the 1ATF.

The Viet Cong moved against Nui Dat to remove the Australian threat. The Australians had been tracking their radio communications as they moved towards Long Tan but could not locate the unit.

By 16 August 1966, the Viet Cong were at the Long Tan rubber plantation about 2 kilometres from the Australian base. In the early hours of the 17th, the enemy began bombarding Nui Dat from distance.

On 18 August 1966 heavy fighting ensued with Australia’s D Company of 108 facing a much larger force but supported with heavy artillery fire, held them until ammunition and reinforcements arrived. The Viet Cong began to withdraw.

Initially the Australians believed they had suffered a major defeat with 18 dead and 24 wounded but a sweep of the area the next day revealed otherwise. The Viet Cong had lost at least 245 men. The Battle at Long Tan proved to be a major local setback for the Viet Cong.

There were other large-scale encounters since that battle, but 1ATF had established its dominance over Phuoc Tuy and allowed it to attempt to restore government authority.

 


 

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