Veterans to mark anniversary

Warwick RSL Sub-branch secretary/treasurer Gordon Nielson served in Vietnam with 1RAR and the US 173rd Airborne Brigade in 1965 and later returned as a member of the Australian Training Team Vietnam.
Warwick RSL Sub-branch secretary/treasurer Gordon Nielson served in Vietnam with 1RAR and the US 173rd Airborne Brigade in 1965 and later returned as a member of the Australian Training Team Vietnam. Contributed

VETERANS of the Vietnam War will gather at 11am at the Warwick Cenotaph today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Australia's involvement in the war.

The service will begin with Scots PGC student Tamar Stanfield-Roche playing the bagpipes.

All war veterans, their families, friends and members of the public are invited to attend the service which will include playing of the Last Post and Reveille by Brendan Babington and a wreath-laying ceremony.

It was May, 1962, when the then Minister for Defence, Athol Townley, announced Australia would commit 30 military instructors to assist in the training of the South Vietnamese Army.

At the height of the war, Australia had three battalions and supporting units serving on a 12-month rotation system in Vietnam with as many as 10,000 troops there between 1968 and 1970.

A total of 80,000 Australians served in Vietnam of which 521 were killed and 3000 were wounded. Three of them were from Warwick.

Veterans Support and Advocacy Association member Barry Kelly was a combat engineer or "tunnel rat" serving with infantry soldiers with the 6th and 5th Battalions, the Royal Australian Regiment.

"Vietnam Veterans' Day is not about glorifying war, it is about glorifying peace and as a grateful nation, thanking those who gave it to us," he said.

Veterans and visitors should be at the Cenotaph in Leslie Park at 10.45am today in order to take part in the proceedings and remember those lost.

Topics:  anniversary vietnam veterans warwick

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