Sent: Fri 14/02/2014 7:02 AM
SACRIFICES OF OUR NATIONAL SERVICEMEN REMEMBERED
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, encouraged all Australians to take a moment today, on National Servicemen's Day, to pay tribute to the young men who took part in the National Service scheme.
“50 years ago, enlistments began in Australia’s most recent National Service scheme. Introduced in 1964, the scheme was the fourth in our history, but was the first to have the power to send National Servicemen overseas,” Senator Ronaldson said.
“Australia has a proud history of military service with our National Servicemen, or Nashos as they are affectionately known, playing a vital role. These young men left their homes to undertake military training and stand ready to protect our country.
“For those Nashos who were enlisted under the 1964 scheme, their lives changed forever when, at only 20 years of age, they were asked to register with the then Department of Labour and National Service and endure an anxious wait to see if they would be drawn out of the ‘birthday ballot’,” Senator Ronaldson said.
More than 63,000 Nashos were called up to serve in the Army, between 1964 and 1972. Almost 20,000 Nashos served in Vietnam where some 200 died and more than 1,200 were wounded. The National Service scheme ended in December 1972 following the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam in 1972.
“I encourage all Australians to reflect, and if possible to attend a service, to commemorate the efforts of these exceptional men to ensure their sacrifices are not forgotten,” Senator Ronaldson said.
National Servicemen's Day will be marked around the country with services being led by the National Servicemen’s Association of Australia.
Media Note: a National Service media backgrounder is available from www.dva.gov.au/media.
Media inquiries: Minister Ronaldson: Brad Rowswell 02 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line 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 4546)