Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s commitment to the Vietnam War

18 August 2023

On this Vietnam Veterans’ Day, the nation pauses to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s commitment to the Vietnam War.

Between the arrival of the first members of the Australian Army Training Team in 1962, and the withdrawal of our last troops in 1973, 60,000 Australians served in Vietnam. Among them were 42,000 soldiers of the Australian Army (of whom 15,381 were National Servicemen) who served with professionalism and distinction in what was a long and difficult war.

On this day, let us take a moment to reflect on the contribution of those soldiers who came before us, and the impact they made on our Army. Their service remains a central part of our Army’s story and who we are as a profession, a national institution, and a fighting force today.

Primarily operating from Nui Dat in the southern province of Phuoc Tuy, Australian soldiers served with professionalism and distinction throughout their contribution to the Vietnam War. Extensive jungle patrolling, the cordon and search of villages, ambushes, route clearance and civic action projects were the mainstay of Australian operations, with major engagements occurring at Long Tan, Binh Ba, Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral and Nui Le.

Despite the political situation at home and questions surrounding the purpose and efficacy of the conflict, Australian soldiers were highly successful within their area of operations. They performed admirably in a difficult environment, alongside other services, allies and partners. Their tactics, techniques and procedures for combined-arms operations shaped the ADF’s approach to joint land combat – especially counter-insurgency – for the next generation of Australian soldiers.

Above all, we remember the 523 Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice, the 2,400 wounded, those whose lives were affected, and the families of all who served during the Vietnam War. Today we salute the veterans who upheld the finest traditions of the Australian Army.