Monday, August 18, 2008

The Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan

It was my father-in-law's 65th birthday today. We had a small family celebration of a barbecue and some beers at our house this evening. It also happens to be the 42nd anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. This battle is arguably the most famous battle fought by the Australian Army during the Vietnam War. The date the battle began, 18 August, is commemorated in Australia as Long Tan Day, also known as Vietnam Veterans' Remembrance Day.

Coincidentally, my father-in-law spent his 23rd birthday on 18 August 1966 only about 1000 metres from the battle. He was part of the 1st Australian Task Force stationed at the Nui Dat base. He'd only arrived in Vietnam a week prior to the battle. Where he was dug-in on the perimeter of Nui Dat was right in the path of the advancing Viet Cong had they not encountered D Company of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR).

It was interesting talking to him over a few beers. Although he didn't take part in the actual battle, he was close enough to hear it and had been on the receiving end of incoming mortar fire on the preceding night. He was also part of a small detachment which searched and buried the bodies of the enemy dead on the morning after the battle. I'm going to have to find some time in the future to properly interview him and capture his memories of his time in Vietnam for our family history.

In other news, this morning I checked my service request number online which shows the status of the repair of my Xbox 360. Apparently it has already been repaired and posted back to me. When I got home I found a card in the letterbox stating that they'd tried to deliver it to me today. Wow! I only posted it off seven days ago! That's quick service.

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