This Wednesday, August 18, is Vietnam Veterans Day.

This day was chosen as a suitable day to commemorate, as on this date in 1996 the battle of Long Tan was fought in a rubber plantation some kilometres to the East of the Australian Task Force base of Nui Dat.

As a result of rocket/mortar attack on the base, 108 men of D Company of 6 RAR had been sent to patrol the rubber plantation area to locate the Viet Cong.

11 Platoon clashed with elements of 275th Regiment of Vet Cong and in 10 minutes some 17 men were killed or seriously wounded.

The Vietnam War went from 1962 until 1973 with 60,000 Australians serving during this time.

Because of the way National Servicemen were selected for service (Balls drawn from a barrel), there were strong feelings from some of the population.

The number of servicemen who returned seriously wounded and mentally scared was huge and later soldiers suffered serious illness and death through the effects of chemicals used to defoliate the jungle and vegetation.

The Australian Vietnam Museum is on Philip Island and is well worth a visit to enable a better understanding of what our servicemen and women experienced, all those years ago, for our country.

Lest we forget.

Peter Allen, Inverloch RSL vice-president.