REMEMBERING: John Skinner (Warwick RSL sub branch), Cr Tracy Dobie (SDRC), Ken Ashton (SDESA), Major Grant Prendergast, Rev Willie Liebenberg and Barry Kelly (SDESA) at Leslie Park at the Vietnam Veterans' Day Remembrance Service.
REMEMBERING: John Skinner (Warwick RSL sub branch), Cr Tracy Dobie (SDRC), Ken Ashton (SDESA), Major Grant Prendergast, Rev Willie Liebenberg and Barry Kelly (SDESA) at Leslie Park at the Vietnam Veterans' Day Remembrance Service. Gerard Walsh

Experiences of Vietnam Vets now helping current soldiers

MAJOR Grant Prendergast recalled his first deployment when he presented the address at the Vietnam Veterans' Day Remembrance Service.

He spoke at the centotaph on Sunday morning on the 53rd anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

Maj. Prendergast said he was 22 years of age when first deployed overseas to East Timor.

"I remember as soon as we landed on the beach we were in contact with the enemy," he said.

"That exposed me to the reality of war, I was in constant danger and experiences from that operation still haunt me today.

"However I remember talking to a Vietnam veteran before I deployed and the advice and lessons learnt set me and my team up for success.

"John Skinner told me about an ambush and Barry Kelly spoke of clearing a minefield of booby traps.

"To all of the Vietnam veterans here today, your sacrifices, your commitment and lessons learnt in Vietnam weren's wasted."

MC for the day was Barry Kelly, secretary of the Southern Downs Ex-Services Association.

The laying of the wreath was led by association president Ken Ashton followed by Mayor Tracy Dobie, the Warwick RSL Sub-branch, Warwick RSL Memorial Club, 17 Australian Army Cadets and district schools.

The Australian National Anthem was led by Jess Botha from Assumption College. Warwick City Band member Brendan Babbington was again the bugler and Stuart Woodside from Scots PGC was the piper.

The prayers for those who suffered were led by Rev Willie Liebenberg from the Warwick/Killarney Uniting Church.

Maj Prendergast has been with the defence forces for 25 years and is currently based in Tamworth in charge of bases at Armidale, Tamworth and Muswellbrook.

He has been deployed in 12 countries in 25 years. A crowd of more than 100 was at the service this morning.



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