20 August 2008

Australian medals to be awarded for Vietnam

ZUI this article from the Melbourne Herald Sun:
THE officer who commanded Australian troops in the Battle of Long Tan says his men have finally been given the justice they deserve.

The recognition comes 42 years after the bloody Vietnam War conflict.

Harry Smith, who commanded D Company 6 RAR, and two of his fellow officers are to receive gallantry awards while surviving veterans of the battle will be able to wear a unit citation recognising their bravery, the federal government has announced.

Mr Smith, a major at the time of the battle, has been offered the Star of Gallantry, the nation's second-highest military honour behind the Victoria Cross.

Former lieutenants Dave Sabben and Geoff Kendall will be offered the Medal for Gallantry, equivalent to the Military Cross.

ZUI also this article from The Age:
Another 11 former soldiers will be able to have their claims to further awards examined before an independent Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal to be established by the Federal Government.

The Battle of Long Tan, long considered Australia's most significant battle in Vietnam, took place on August 18, 1966, when 108 members of Delta Company, 6RAR, commanded by then-major Smith, encountered a regiment of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. Delta Company, outnumbered by more than 10 to one, held off wave after wave of attacks until a relief force arrived. Eighteen Australians died and 21 were wounded.

Update 1244 28 Aug: This article from the Brisbane Courier Mail includes more information about the Battle of Long Tan.

Star of Gallantry (SG) and Medal for Gallantry (MG)

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