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Civil Serpents Lose One at Last - Don't Give Up!
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Post Civil Serpents Lose One at Last - Don't Give Up! 
John Feltham asked me to post this on his behalf as he is having technical difficulties at present. My pleasure John -

The Australian Newspaper. 14 August 2008

FORTY-TWO years after the Battle of Long Tan, Harry Smith's long
campaign for due recognition for his men is over.

Mr Smith and two fellow officers will get top gallantry awards for the
100-odd men of D Company 6 RAR who on August 18, 1966, fought against
1500 North Vietnamese regular troops and Viet Cong guerillas.

This follows approval by the Rudd Government of the main
recommendations of an independent review, by a panel of retired senior
army officers, of the battle regarded as a classic study in the use of
combined arms to defeat a superior enemy.

It restores the awards recommendations proposed shortly after the
battle for the then Major Smith and Second Lieutenants Dave Sabben and
Geoff Kendall.

Eighteen Australians died and 21 were wounded in the battle, fought in
monsoonal rain on a rubber plantation on the outskirts of the
Australian base at Phuoc Tuy province.

Today's announcement is certain to reignite the controversy over
conferring retrospective gallantry awards, despite the objections of
veterans that they were denied appropriate recognition.

"It will be a bunfight, and cause a huge amount of stress among some
families," a leading military historian predicted last night.

The key decisions approved by Governor-General Michael Jeffery, a
former commander of the Special Air Service Regiment and holder of the
Military Cross for action in Vietnam, means Mr Smith will be offered
the Star of Gallantry - which is the equivalent of the Imperial
Distinguished Service Order, second only to the Victoria Cross.

"The fat lady has finally sung," a delighted Mr Smith told The
Australian last night. "I am extremely pleased justice has finally
been done - it's been a long battle."

It is understood that as a result of the new awards, the former
company commander will no longer be able to wear the MC, the
downgraded award given in place of the original recommendation he
receive the DSO.

Former platoon commanders Sabben and Kendall will now be offered the
Medal for Gallantry - equivalent to the MC, the third highest award
for valour that was originally recommended. Their original
recommendations were downgraded to mentions in despatches.

The Government also overruled a panel recommendation barring former D
Company veterans from wearing a unit citation and gallantry medal
conferred by the former Republic of Vietnam.

Speaking from his Hervey Bay home in Queensland, 74-year-old Mr Smith
said that while he was happy with the outcome of the independent
review panel, 42 years on it was all a bit of an anti-climax.

"But I am about to demolish one or two bottles of red tonight because
it has taken such a long time," he said. "I can tell you, I and my
colleagues have been very frustrated by bureaucrats in Canberra who
would not believe the words of the people who fought in the battle."

Mr Smith said he owed a great debt of thanks to Vietnam veteran and
former federal Labor MP Graham Edwards and Veterans Affairs Minister
Alan Griffin.

"There was enough evidence gathered at Long Tan to raise serious
issues as to whether injustices had been done in the awarding of
gallantry medals," Mr Griffin told The Australian last night.

Unresolved concerns regarding individual South Vietnamese awards for
Long Tan would be referred to the Independent Defence Honours and
Awards Tribunal.

Implementation of the recommendations properly recognised the
individual and collective gallantry of the diggers during the battle,
a government statement said.

The Government accepted the panel's findings that documentary evidence
supported claims that gallantry awards originally recommended for the
three officers had been downgraded.

Panel member Major General Peter Abigail said he and his colleagues
were "all very comfortable" with the decisions, and he defended the
panel's decision not to recommend approval on the old Republic of
Vietnam awards.

"We didn't feel free in our terms of reference to recommend the
setting aside of foreign awards guidelines," General Abigail said.

The Government accepted the panel's recommendations not to confer an
award for service for RAAF personnel stationed at Ubon in Thailand
between 1965 and 1968.

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the thought of 'giving up' never entered my head Andy...

Paroi...Rasah...Batu Signals Troop.
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Nor mine. Just waiting patiently......................but still here. Wink

Pingat Kami - Hak Kami
651 Signal Troop,
Semengo Camp,
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Don't shoot the messenger!
Surrender is not in my dictionary and I will only let up (not give up) when the PJM is given unrestricted wear.

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Sorry Mcdangle. Never thought that for a minute !!


Pingat Kami - Hak Kami
651 Signal Troop,
Semengo Camp,
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