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September 17, 2009
By CMDR Steve Dunning
THE highlight of South
Australian Vietnam Veterans'
Day celebrations this year
was the spectacular flyover of
a Tiger armed reconnaissance
helicopter from RAAF's
Arriving on cue as the
bugler sounded the Last Post
during the memorial service,
the Tiger's arrival served as a
poignant reminder of the criti-
cal role rotary wing aircraft
played during the Vietnam con-
flict between 1963 and 1971.
This year's event began
with a gunfire breakfast at the
Army's former Torrens parade
ground in the heart of Adelaide
followed by a march through
the city and memorial service
at the Vietnam War Memorial.
While Navy was well repre-
sented, the significance of the
occasion was not lost on South
Australian Governor RADM
Kevin Scarce as he took the
A Vietnam Veteran who
served in the "Vung Tau Ferry"
-- HMAS Sydney -- RADM
Scarce no doubt found himself
reflecting on his own service
when sharing his thoughts on
the significance of the occa-
Deputy Director Naval
Reserve Support-SA LCDR
Trish Matthews was the guard
commander of the 18-man tri-
Service guard, with POCIS
Mark Baker the flag bearer.
LCDR Matthews, a stalwart
of many tri-Service guards
ensured the ceremonial aspects
of the day's events left an
indelible impression on those
in attendance, reinforcing the
importance of the link between
past and current ADF mem-
After the end of official pro-
ceedings, the RAN Band (SA
Detachment) entertained the
veterans and spectators with a
nostalgic mix of '60s and more
A state government spokes-
man said that, while the anni-
versary of the Battle of Long
Tan was on August 18, Vietnam
Veterans' Day events are tra-
ditionally held in SA on the
closest Sunday to that day
By Michael Brooke
THE riddle of exactly how old a
Navy old salt is was answered
recently when COMAUSFLT
RADM Nigel Coates came face-
to-face with two RAN personnel
who served in the Vietnam War.
RADM Coates attended the
Vietnam Veterans' Day commemo-
ration service at Sydney's Martin
Place on August 18, when he
encountered the barnacle-encrusted
LCDR Mick Gallagher and POMT
Roy "Shady" Lane.
He chatted with the old salts
about their experiences on the gun-
line and in escorts for the "Vung
Tau Ferry", HMAS Sydney, between
Australia and Vietnam.
The discussion also focused on
how all the RAN's Vietnam War-era
warships had come and gone, but
a tiny handful of dedicated sailors
from that era continue to serve in
"I served in HMAS Vampire
1964-65, which is now in the
Australian National Maritime
Museum in Sydney, where a lot of
people think I should be," LCDR
A Naval Reserve officer, LCDR
Gallagher did seven trips to Vietnam
in HMA Ships Sydney and Vampire,
as well as MV Jeparit, which was
chartered on behalf of the Army to
transport military vehicles and sup-
Now regulator Fleet Support
Unit, HMAS Waterhen, PO Lane
said his tours of duty to Vietnam
were in HMA Ships Anzac in 1968
and Hobart in 1970.
He said Vietnam Veterans' Day
was a time to reflect on the sacri-
fices of those fallen heroes in the
Navy, Army and Air Force who gave
their lives in the line of duty.
LCDR Gallagher and PO Lane
are two of the 13,500 Navy person-
nel who served in Vietnam from
1965 to 1972, during which time the
RAN performed a variety of opera-
tional tasks at sea, ashore and in
Vets fully qualified old salts
NOT MUSEUM PIECES: RADM Nigel Coates with LCDR Mick
Gallagher and PO Roy Lane at the Martin Place ceremony.
Photo: ABPH Andrew Black
Vietnam vets take to Adelaide's streets
PARADE PRIDE: LCDR Trish Matthews leads the march.
Photos: POCD Troy Pudney
STANDARD BEARER: PO Mark Baker waits with
READY TO ROLL: The parade is formed up.
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