Military repatriation chance to welcome home Australians
Sunday 29 May, 2016
Source: The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Minister for Defence Materiel.
Australia will welcome home 33 Australian service personnel and dependents, including 22 Vietnam War veterans, on Thursday, 2 June in one of the largest, single military repatriations in this country’s history.
The returning Australians, 21 Vietnam veterans, three servicemen and eight dependents, had been interred at Terendak Military Cemetery in Malaysia, with the single other casualty of the Vietnam War still interred overseas returning from the Kranji Military Cemetery in Singapore.
A military repatriation ceremony and private memorial service will be held at RAAF Richmond in Sydney on June 2, after two Royal Australian Air Force Aircraft C-17 Globemaster aircraft bearing the Australians land at about 10:30am.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said bringing the Australians home was an important moment for the families and for the country.
“The return of these Australians will bring closure to their families who have grieved for lost loved ones,” Mr Tehan said.
“They will be welcomed home with a respectful and dignified return to this country.
“For every Australian this will be an opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifice of all those who have died in service to their country.
“Representatives of our Vietnam Veteran community will attend and for some of them this will be a particularly moving occasion as they served with the returning servicemen.”
Mr Tehan said the Australian Government last year made an offer of repatriation to 36 families of Australians buried and Terendak and Kranji.
“Several families made the decision not to bring their loved ones home, and I am sure Australians will respect that decision and appreciate it was not made lightly,” he said.
At the conclusion of the private memorial service for the families, 33 hearses bearing the returning Australians will depart RAAF Base Richmond in a funeral procession at about 12.15pm and travel to the centre of Parramatta, arriving about 1pm.
The funeral procession will proceed via a green light corridor and under escort of the NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, with assistance from the Transport Management Centre.
Mr Tehan encouraged members of the public wanting to pay their respects to line the route of the procession.
It will travel from RAAF Richmond to Parramatta CBD via Church Street – George Street – Smith Street – Station Street – Parkes Street, where the public will be welcome to view the procession and pay their respects. Motorists using these roads at that time may experience some delays.
Reinterment services will then take place in every State and Territory, except Tasmania, over the following few weeks, in accordance with the families’ wishes.
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 0428 805 578
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.