Vietnam Ordnance veterans gather in Perth

Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps (RAAOC) veterans who served in South Vietnam were able to hold their 2020 biennial reunion in Perth in March, just before COVID-19 physical distancing and travel restrictions were implemented.

8 July 2020

The four-day reunion was attended by 148 veterans and their partners from around Australia, and from as far away as Townsville, representing RAAOC; and other corps that served at RAAOC units in South Vietnam or transferred to RAAOC.

The reunion committee are members of the RAAOC Association (WA). The committee conducted the reunion from 9-12 March and took participants on a packed program of visits and remembrance activities.

A wreath laying ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial Pavilion in Perth’s Kings Park was attended by: RAAOC Vietnam veterans; other veterans; partners; and members of the Republic of Vietnam Veterans Association of WA.

Two South Vietnamese veterans Chin Duc Tran and Ha To Ha with Australian Vietnam veteran Peter Bray AM. Ha To Ha is wearing a camouflage uniform and Chin Duc Tran and Peter Bray are wearing navy suits.

Left to right: South Vietnamese veterans Chin Duc Tran and Ha To Ha with Peter Bray AM. (Photo: Scott Stirling).

Official Guests included Mr Vince Connelly MP (a veteran himself) representing the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC; Peter Bray AM, representing RAAOC Vietnam veterans; and the Hon Pierre Yang MLC, representing the Western Australian Government and the people of WA.

Social events included a tour of Swan Valley wineries, a cruise down the Swan River to Fremantle and a reunion dinner.

The reunion dinner was addressed by Mr Graham Edwards AM, the former Federal Member for Cowan, who was severely wounded when he stepped on a mine in Vietnam while there with the 7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, and Peter Bray, who was at Headquarters 1st Australian Logistics Support Group in Vung Tau.

Reunion secretary John Arco said the reunion had received substantial support from WA companies, several Federal and State Members of Parliament, 13th Combat Services Support Battalion and the Australian Army Band Perth.

The reunion was unique because it reunited RAAOC Vietnam veterans under one reunion entity.

The next scheduled reunion will be held in Sydney in 2022.

Left to right: Neville Appleton, John (Jake) O’Donnell and John Hope, at Perth’s Vietnam Memorial Pavilion, (Photo: Scott Stirling).