[Photo caption: a prototype shield for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan on display yesterday. Design by Ross McRae.]

Yesterday, on Vietnam Veterans’ Day, details of a 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner to commemorate the Battle of Long Tan were announced.

The Gala Dinner will be held next year on Thursday 18 August 2016 in Vung Tau, Vietnam. Confirmed attendees currently include 40 Vietnamese members and several guests of honor from Australia including Lt Col Harry Smith SG MC (Ret), WO Keith Payne VC (Ret) and Daniel Keighran VC, and members from all branches of the Australian military veterans

AusCham’s Board, at its meeting on 10 August 2015, agreed to support the promotion of this event.

Below is a transcript of the Organising Committee’s press release.

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LONG TAN – VIETNAM VETERANS’ DAY 2016

50TH ANNIVERSARY, 18 August 2016

On the 18th August 2016 it will be 50 years since the Battle of Long Tan and 50 years since the Australians and New Zealanders entered the Phuc Tuy Province. This resulted in seven years of continual operations in the province until the withdrawal in 1972.

Earlier this year (2015), former soldiers of the Liberation Army extended the hand of friendship to their Australian counterparts at several ceremonies that were held in Vung Tau and Ba Ria, Vietnam.

An organizing committee made up of several veterans has been established to hold a Gala Dinner next year on 18 August 2016 in Vung Tau. In attendance will be 40 Vietnamese members and several guests of honor from Australia including Lt Col Harry Smith SG MC (Ret), WO Keith Payne VC (Ret) and Daniel Keighran VC, and members from all branches of the Australian military veterans.

Australia has a strong presence in Vietnam with more than 20,000 Vietnamese students studying in Australia annually and a population that has assimilated into to Australia’s way of life. The Gala Dinner has been organized to build stronger bonds between both countries.

We have strong bonds and trading relationships with Turkey (Gallipoli) Germany (Western Front) Japan (Kokoda) South Korea and now Vietnam.

The Dinner will be held at the Pullman Hotel in Vung Tau which is a new five star resort with seating capacity of 2,000 people. Veterans, partners, children, friends and public are invited to attend this dinner of friendship on 18 August.

Money raised on the night will go to several charities here in Vung Tau, including the Centre for the Protection of Children, Vietnam Veterans and Friends and to the war disabled. The children at the orphanage have 16 children affected by agent orange and need constant care.

This is an opportunity for both sides to get together as both sides lost their youth in Vietnam. Now is a time for healing.

People interested in this event will be able to purchase tickets in early 2016.

The website, www.longtancross.com will launch in September 2015. It will include all details regarding tickets.

The following bars in Vung Tau are helping to organise the event and can provide further information:

Regards

Glenn Nolan
Vung Tau, Vietnam
+84907378523, nolanglenn@yahoo.com.au

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Rod Harlor and Glenn Nolan

Rod Harlor (Vietnam Veteran) (left), together with Glenn Nolan at the Long Tan Cross yesterday following the Vietnam Veterans’ Day Service for 2015.