The Battle of Long Tan is arguably the most famous battle fought by the Australian Army during the Vietnam War. In the words of Graeme Davis it was like no other.
And Graeme should know. He was there with 107 other men on that dark, rainy night of August 18, 1966, when D Company battled against 2500 North Vietnamese soldiers across a rubber plantation the size of a football field.
Eighteen Australians were killed and 25 wounded in the three-hour battle, including Graeme, who spent 12 months in hospital recovering from his injuries.
Graeme was just 21 when he joined the army in 1963 and said that he and his fellow soldiers went to Vietnam with the spirit of youth and the belief that they could really make a difference.
As you mature you obviously question more, and my firm belief now is that no-one wins in war, said Graeme. Once that first shot is fired, everybody loses.
Graeme and the other veterans from D Company have been invited to Parliament House in Canberra for a reception on Friday to mark the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. This will be followed by a trip to Brisbane and a service at last light, the time the bloody battle began. Graeme said it will be a moment for the veterans that will definitely bring out the ghosts.
Vietnam Veterans Day and the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan will be commemorated this Saturday, August 19, with a march starting from the old Lismore Post Office at 4.45pm, followed by a wreath laying service at the Vietnam war memorial adjacent to the Memorial Baths.
For information phone Sheldon on 6624 4486.
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