The Battle of Long Tân took place on August 18, 1966, in a rubber plantation near Long Tân, in Phước Tuy Province, South Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. It is regarded as the bloodiest and fiercest battle of the entire war.
On its 52nd anniversary, one Australian soldier who fought in that battle was amongst a gathering of 150 who attended the commemoration service in Belmore Park.
Walter Buckland was one of the lucky boys that day in 1966 who were not killed or wounded. How many Long Tan Days he will be able to attend no one knows, but it will not be many.
The number of Vietnam veterans at this year’s ceremony was well down on last as all are over 60.
Absent as well were several family members who had previously attended almost every Vietnam Veterans’ Day commemoration and laid wreaths.
The absences were a sad reminder of the passing of time and lives since the 1960s -70s when Australian forces were engaged in this conflict.
Reverend Norm Wakefield mentioned the mental scaring that many of those who served suffered. Post traumatic stress was not really recognised back then and it is only now with personnel returning from other military service that the condition is being recognised.
Many of the young lads, who volunteered or were conscripted and served in Vietnam were shunned by society on their return from service despite the fact that they were simply doing what they had been directed to do by the government of the time.
Also attending the Goulburn service were representatives of the Queanbeyan RSL Sub-branch.