On June 7, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of Operation Overlord, including the Battle of Long Khanh, in the Vietnam War.
Named after the Second World War Allied invasion of Normandy, Operation Overlord was launched after intelligence suggested the North Vietnamese Army was using a buffer zone between Phuoc Tuy and Long Khanh provinces to train and equip troops.
Australian and New Zealand troops began deploying on June 5, 1971 to prevent the enemy from gaining a foothold into Phuoc Tuy province.
On June 7, the Australians were engaged in more than eight hours of intense fighting before the enemy withdrew. This became known as the Battle of Long Khanh and tragically, three Australians died during the battle, with a further seven Australians killed in an ambush five days later.
The anniversary of the Battle of Long Khanh is an opportunity for us all to pause and remember the service and sacrifice of those Australians who served in this engagement, on
Operation Overlord and all those Australians who served in the Vietnam War — the longest 20th-century conflict in which Australians participated.
Almost 60,000 Australian Defence Force personnel served in the Vietnam War, with some 3000 wounded and 521 tragically killed.
A national commemorative service was held at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial in Canberra on June 7 to recognise the anniversary Operation Overlord including the Battle of Long Khanh, and pay tribute to those who served, and those who died during this operation.
Lest we forget.
Darren Chester, Member for Gippsland.