Ivan Friske.
Ivan Friske.

Veterans remember different time

THERE were no mobile phones, no iPads, no civilian satellite communications systems, no GPS navigation aids.

Massive computers less powerful than an iPhone were doing the maths behind the first human forays into space.

It was a different world altogether in 1966 when Australians learned, via telex, analogue radio or black and white television, of the Battle of Long Tan.

That day, August 18, became known to veterans as Long Tan Day and, to the rest of us, Vietnam Veteran's Remembrance Day.

Gympie veteran Ivan Friske yesterday said this year's celebrations would also mark the 50th year since the first Australians being sent to Vietnam.

The day has particular significance in Gympie.

Colonel Colin Townsend, who died in Gympie in 2006, was the commanding officer of a massively outnumbered company of 105 Australian soldiers who stood firm against 2500 enemy troops in the historic battle.

Gympie commemorations, normally held on the nearest Sunday to the anniversary, will be held on August 19 this year with a parade starting at 2.30pm in Smithfield St.

Veterans will march from there down Mary St and around to Memorial Park for a 3pm service at the memorial to Asian campaigns, near the Rotunda.

Mr Friske said a special lapel badge had been minted to mark the 50 years since Australia became involved in the Vietnam conflict.

A function will be held later at Gympie RSL Club.

Gympie Times


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