Nelson Bay, Medowie and Tea Gardens to commemorate 51st anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan

Port Stephens will commemorate Vietnam Veterans’ Day on Friday with services at Nelson Bay, Medowie and Tea Gardens.

This year marks the 51st anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. 

On August 18, 1966, D Company, 6 RAR Battalion, numbering 105 Australians and a three-man New Zealand artillery team, went into the Long Tan rubber plantation. 

They came under heavy machine-gun fire and mortar attacks from the Viet Cong with at least 1500 and possibly 2500 troops.

Eighteen Australians were killed and 24 wounded while the Viet Cong sustained 245 deaths.

The services at Nelson Bay, Medowie and Tea Gardens will begin at 11am.

Medowie will also host veterans from Tilligerry.

“Whatever people’s opinions of the Vietnam, it’s important to remember that the government said we should go,” Medowie RSL Sub Branch president Ian Harding said.

“There shouldn’t be any debating the service these veterans did.”

The Karuah RSL Sub Branch will this year send a bus to Tea Gardens for the service at the Marine Drive memorial.

“I went to Vietnam in 1969,” Karuah RSL Sub Branch president Peter Fidden said.

“I was a mechanic in the 3rd Cavalry regiment and a couple of the blokes I know where involved.”

Those friends drove the armored personel carriers that pulled some of the infantry out. 

“I was even at the site in 1969 at Long Tan and it would have been one of the scariest things ever,” he said.

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