1074 – Australians secure the revered Long Tan Cross


Long Tan Battle, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Long Tan veteran Peter Dinham with the cross at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra last night. Picture: Kym Smith

Episode 1074 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will take a look at a very touchy situation for the government of Vietnam. It all started back in 1966 during the Vietnam War. It seems a force of 100 members of Delta company, 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment encountered 2,000 plus NVA soldiers in a rubber plantation near Long Tan, in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. The day long battle ended with a decisive Australian victory.

Comparatively speaking the Australians paid a heavy price for their victory. 18 of their  number paid the ultimate price with their lives. The opposition forces suffered 245 killed. After the battle, surviving members of Delta Company created a concrete cross with their own hands and set it in the red dirt of the rubber plantation as a monument to honor their fellow soldiers who fell in the battle. After the War Australians would make regular annual pilgrimages to Vietnam to pay their respects to those Australian soldiers who died there.

These pilgrimages apparently began to rub the Vietnamese government the wrong way. They apparently chaffed at foreigners coming to their soil to celebrate a victory won against their army during the Vietnam War. Recently the Vietnamese banned the Australians from conducting anymore Long Tan Battle remembrances on their soil.

Something is occurring that has caused the Vietnamese to take a more conciliatory attitude toward the Long Tan Battle dispute.  Vietnam is seeking to become a more accepted member of the nations of Southeast Asia so they decided to rid themselves of this bone of contention with the Australians.

A story in The Australian titled: Secret return from Vietnam for Long Tan cross by Simon Benson describes the situation. Listen to episode 1074 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast and discover how the sensitive situation was settled to the satisfaction of both parties.

Long Tan Battle, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Members of 6RAR at a ceremony to install the cross in 1969.

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