Today, on National Servicemen’s Day, Australia acknowledges the contribution of thousands of our countrymen, also known as Nashos.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Matt Keogh said more than 280,000 Australians served in National Service schemes between 1951 and 1972.
“On 14 February we recognise the contributions of Nashos to our armed services and the important role that they played in serving our country in the 1950s, 60s and 70s,” Minister Keogh said.
“Nashos served within Australia and some were also deployed to locations including Borneo, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam and the waters off the Korean peninsula.
“The first National Service scheme, from 1951-59 saw men from across the country called up for training in the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force. More than 220,000 served during this period, in many cases putting aside their careers and lives to serve their country.
“The second National Service scheme took place from 1965-1972 and saw more than 60,000 young men called up.
“More than 15,300 Nashos served in the Vietnam War, joining regular army units and becoming part of the Australian Army for the duration of the war. Some 200 lost their lives in Vietnam. One hundred Nashos also served in Borneo, with two losing their lives while deployed.
“Whether their service included deployment overseas, or service within Australia, each and every national serviceman contributed to the defence of our nation and should be proud of their service.”
All national servicemen, even if they weren’t deployed, are entitled to a White Card from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs that includes mental health support.
“The Australian Government is committed to supporting our veterans and families, ensuring they receive all the services they are entitled to,” Minister Keogh said.
“I encourage all Australians to pause for a moment today and remember the service of our Nashos and their role in Australia’s armed forces.”
Editor’s note: In 2023 the Australian Government is recognising the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. A national commemorative service will take place at the Vietnam Forces National memorial on Anzac Parade, Canberra on Vietnam Veterans’ Day (18 August). For more information visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website www.dva.gov.au/VietnamCommemorativeService