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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 15431

Review of Recognition for the Battle of Long Tan

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/10/2007

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 15431

The Battle of Long Tan was the first significant engagement of the Vietnam War. It has come to be considered a defining event in Australia's history.

On 18 August 1966, during sweep operations in a rubber plantation, Delta Company, 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (D Coy 6 RAR) was attacked by a regiment of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. Although outnumbered by more than 10 to one, the Company held its position for more than three hours until a relief force of infantry mounted in armoured personnel carriers arrived. The enemy fled, leaving 245 dead on the battlefield. D Coy lost 17 members who were killed in action; another 21 were wounded.

As a result of continuing representations from the ex-Service community, the Government has decided to appoint an independent panel to review the treatment of award recommendations stemming from the Battle of Long Tan.

The review panel will comprise former serving military officers:

* Major General Peter Abigail AO, former Deputy Chief of Army, Vietnam veteran, currently Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute;
* Major General Steve Gower AO, former General Officer Commanding Training Command, Vietnam veteran, currently Director of the Australian War Memorial; and
* Brigadier Gerry Warner AM LVO, former Chief of Staff Land Headquarters, former Military Secretary to the Governor-General, currently a member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The review will examine the documentary evidence available, consider the nature and context of the Battle of Long Tan and the process that followed concerning individual and collective recognition, and seek to arrive at a fair and sustainable response to claims for further recognition. The review will have regard to the Imperial gallantry awards recommended at the time as well as claims for the award of the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Unit Citation. The panel will interview relevant key individuals.

The review will commence as soon as practical and report by 28 February 2008. Secretariat and other support will be provided by my Department.

Transcript 15431