- Battle of Long Tan saw ANZAC soldiers pitted against overwhelming enemy forces
- Five Aboriginals fought in the battle - one of the first major battles for the Australian Army in Vietnam
Veterans Issues Minister Peter Tinley will use the 53rd anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan tomorrow to urge all Western Australians to honour the men and women who served in the Vietnam War.
The anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, which in 1966 was one of the first major conflicts of Australian forces serving in Vietnam, is remembered each year on August 18.
The battle took place in a rubber plantation and centred on 105 Australians and three New Zealanders from D Company 6RAR, who fought against an overwhelming number of North Vietnamese Army and local Viet Cong soldiers.
Vastly outnumbered, D Company was ultimately saved by their own rigorous discipline under fire and by a timely resupply of ammunition, accurate artillery fire and the arrival of reinforcements in armoured personnel carriers.
Recent research indicates that five Australians fighting in the battle of Long Tan were Aboriginal. About 50,000 Australians served in the Vietnam War with 521 killed and more than 3,000 wounded. A total of 61 Western Australians were killed during the conflict.
Comments attributed to Veterans Issues Minister Peter Tinley:
"Vietnam Veterans Day gives us all cause to reflect on the sacrifices made by Australian service men and women during the Vietnam War.
"Beyond those who lost their lives in Vietnam, many more of our service personnel returned home and continue to bear the physical and emotional scars of that campaign.
"The Vietnam War was the largest contribution of Australian service personnel since World War Two. It reinforced the reputation of our armed services as determined and courageous professionals who would not let their mates down.
"The contribution of Aboriginal veterans is worthy of specific mention. At least 160 Aboriginal service personnel fought in Vietnam, with seven of them killed in service.
"To all of those who served our country, and to all those who continue to serve, we give our utmost gratitude, respect and heartfelt thanks."
Minister's office - 6552 5300