Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, last night met with veterans of Vietnam at the Knox Council Chambers in Wantirna.
Along with the Mayor of Knox, Cr Adam Gill, Senator Feeney addressed a gathering of 250 veterans to commemorate fifty years since the arrival of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) on 31 July 1962.
Following his remarks, Senator Feeney had the opportunity to hear from and speak with many veterans of the City of Knox and surrounding regions.
“The service of so many young Australians in Vietnam will never be forgotten, nor will the sacrifice of 521 young men who lost their lives in that conflict.
“Fifty years really is a milestone and I am pleased to be able to be here tonight with so many people who have bravely served their nation. It has been a good opportunity to hear from veterans one-on-one about Vietnam, as well as about their lives now,” Senator Feeney said.
Cr Gill also had the opportunity to speak with veterans, saying that the City of Knox is proud of their service.
“Tonight is in commemoration of Australia’s first deployment to Vietnam and as a city it’s an opportunity to honour the service and sacrifice of these veterans.
“Interestingly, the City of Knox has a significant number of Vietnam veterans because the Whitlam Government provided discount land upon their return from service,” Cr Gill said.
On 31 July 1962, Colonel Ted Serong, along with 30 officers and NCOs arrived in Saigon to begin training the South Vietnamese Army to resist the communist North.
The AATTV were participating in missions alongside the South Vietnamese, Territorial and Mobile Strike forces and other local units.
Arriving in 1962, they did not leave until the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) was withdrawn in 1972.
Jeffrey von Drehnen: 0477 348 476 (photos are available)