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RAAF Vietnam Veterans Association (Vic) ABN 34 550 672 219


RAAFVVA NEWSLETTER The official journal of the RAAF Vietnam Veterans Association (Vic), a Sub-Branch of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Victorian Branch Incorporated. (Reg. No. A0029247G. ABN 34 750 672 219) Patron: Air Vice Marshal E. M. Weller AM PRESIDENT

Nick LeRay-Meyer AM

Phone (03) 9386-6961


Brendan Lynch

Phone (03) 9741-4157


Lee Scully

Phone (03) 9827-8313


Rick Holmes

PO Box 462 Ascot Vale Vic 3032 Phone (03) 9317-7304


Maree Jongkryg

PO Box 73 Melton Vic 3337 Phone (03) 9743-1273


Lee Scully

Phone (03) 9827-8313


Gareth Davis

Phone (03) 9878-7940


Alan White Pieter Jongkryg Bob Brackin Andy Lapins Geoff Rose Neil Morgan

Phone (03) 9584-1836 Phone (03) 9743-1273 Phone (03) 9534-8683 Phone (03) 9511-4693 Phone (03) 9744-4212 Phone (03) 9687-8871


Anthony (Tony) Pahl OAM Tony Wheal Graeme Dodd OAM Phone (03) 5254-2738 Phone (03) 9852-1653

RAAF REGIONAL ADVOCACY, WELFARE AND PENSIONS OFFICERS Bill Wiltshire (Advocacy, Pensions & Welfare) Ron McMullen (Pensions & Welfare information only) Brendan and Pat Lynch (Welfare) David Taffe (Welfare & Pensions) Audrey Elliott (Welfare & Pensions) Rob Hart (Welfare) Lee and Ellen Scully (Welfare)

Melton Laverton Werribee Kilmore Wallan Broadford Melbourne Metro Area

Phone (03) 9746-9582 Phone (03) 9746-9582 Phone (03) 9741-4157 Phone (03) 5782-2779 Phone (03) 5783-1567 Phone (03) 5784-4096 Phone (03) 9827-8313

VETERANS’ CENTRES SUPPORTED BY RAAFVVA Western Suburbs Veterans and Services Centre Melbourne Veterans and Services Centre

Phone (03) 9746-9582 Phone (03) 9282-3518

Fax (03) 9746-9583 Fax (03) 9282-7854

DISCLAIMER The material, comments and/or extracts of articles appearing in the “RAAF VIETNAM VETERANS NEWSLETTER” is of a general nature only and neither purports to be, nor is intended to be, advice on any particular matter. No person should act on the basis of any material contained in the NEWSLETTER without considering, and if necessary, taking appropriate professional advice upon their circumstances. The RAAFVVA Committee, the authors and publisher expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by any such person in reliance, whether whole or partial, upon the whole or part of the contents of the “RAAFVVA NEWSLETTER”. Any member of the RAAFVVA, or other veteran organisation or any interested party may submit articles, letters, and advertisements for publication in the NEWSLETTER. The Committee and Publisher reserve the right to veto any such article, letter or advertisement. EDITOR: RAAFVVA Committee



THE “PRESIDENT’S PIECE” Greetings, Almost half the year gone already; must be a "collateral" effect of global warming! Nothing to do with getting older!!!!! Our ANZAC Day ceremony here in Melbourne was adjudged a great day although tempered by the earlier passing of Geoff Way (who was going to be one of the three march leaders) and the ABC's lamentable TV commentary of our passage up to the Shrine (stating that Geoff was in a wheelchair and leading our contingent!!!!!). For those who attended ANZAC Day ceremonies at other locations, I hope you had an enjoyable day during which you were able to remember those comrade-in-arms who have passed on, as well as meet and talk with others you hadn't seen for a while. For many of us, ANZAC Day also brought the good news that a team of dedicated folks had located the wreckage of the Canberra, crewed by Mike Herbert and Bob Carver. To date the search team have been unable to locate either Mike or Bob but are hopeful that further searching and discussions with local villagers may close this last chapter of our service there. It will be great if they too can be brought home!! At the March this year the 9 Squadron Association provided its new banner to accompany ours. To avoid any confusion, the banner brought up the rear of the contingent, accompanied by several 9 Squadron members, while the main body marched behind the Association's banner. Once we have the remainder of the unit banners we could either have them all up the front or position the unit banners at the rear of the contingent. I would personally be reluctant to see us march behind separate banners. If you have any thoughts on this aspect - for example no unit banners - feel free to drop me an Email (note the new address, thanks to Telstra's inability to transfer me from one plan to another and retain my original address - so much for modern technology!!) or a letter. If you didn't make it to any ceremony, why not pencil 18th August in your Diaries and join us here in Melbourne for Vietnam Veterans Day. More details elsewhere in the Newsletter. By the by, if your mobility isn't all that great and you need assistance to travel to and from the Shrine for Vietnam Veterans Day, let Rick Holmes know and we will endeavour to arrange suitable transport for you. I am delighted to welcome on your behalf the following new or rejoining members: John Mitchell

Neil Boulton

Barry Reichardt

Bob Dixon John Elliot

Ian Johnston Stuart Smith

John Mitchell joined us for the ANZAC Day march and Neil underwent his "baptism of fire" by attending our May lunch at the Palmerston. Neil enjoyed both the food and the comradeship and will be back for the June lunch; which may be at the newly opened "Duck Board" (details to be announced separately) rather than the Palmerston. Why not joins us? The lunch is informal, inexpensive and a great opportunity to meet and talk with others. You can also bring your partner or perhaps a friend (they don't have to be veterans). Finally and on a sad note, Harry "Fog Horn" Willmore passed away while holidaying in the UK. His family returned with him to Melbourne and some 200 attended the "Celebration of Harry's Life" at 3

St Bernadette's Church in West Ivanhoe. Five Association members joined Harry's RSL subbranch colleagues to form a Guard of Honour as his coffin was carried from the Church. Keep well

Nick NOTICE BOARD RAAFVVA CALENDAR OF EVENTS 2009 Monthly luncheons continue on the following dates:Third Wednesday of the month, 17th June, 15th July, 16th September, 21st October and the 18th of November. (No lunch planned for August due to Vietnam Veterans‟ Day) 1st August 2009 – State Council, Museum 11th August 2009 – Badge Week 18th August 2009 – Vietnam Veterans Day    

1015 - Assemble at our Plaque (Garden of Remembrance) 1025 - Short Commemoration Service (laying of wreath) 1040 - Form up for main Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony 1245 -reunion lunch at the Palmerston

14th November – State Council, Tocumwal (Goulburn Valley) Committee Meetings The RAAFVVA Committee meets monthly in the “Point Cook Room” at the RAAF Association (Vic) complex at 24 Camberwell Road, East Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122 (telephone 03 9813 4600). Meetings are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month, commencing at 1800 hours. RAAFVVA members are encouraged to attend these meetings as observers. Please, if you have something to discuss with the Committee, or if you just feel like filling in an hour or two on the Tuesday night, why not come along, and sit in on the meeting. Committee members begin arriving around 1730 hours, in time to enjoy a quick meal prepared and delivered by Pieter and Maree Jongkryg, for the cost of $2 per person. All we ask is, for catering purposes only, please advise your attendance 24 hours in advance by calling Pieter or Maree on (03) 9743 1273 2009 Badge Week and Vietnam Veterans’ Day Of course, we all know about Badge Week, which is held to raise money for welfare, during the lead up to V.V. Day on 18th August. As in recent years, we will be selling at three locations, Doncaster, Highpoint and Sunbury Square shopping centres. This year‟s selling days will be split, with Sunbury on 6th and 7th, Highpoint 13th and 14th and Southland on 15th and 16th of August. Rick Holmes will email further details and make a general call for volunteers, as the time approaches. 4

OUT AND ABOUT May’s RAAFVVA Luncheon At last - the word might be getting out! It was great to see sixteen (the largest number yet) attendees at our monthly luncheon at the Palmerston Hotel on Wednesday, 20 May. The get-together is a „mixed‟, informal, occasion, aimed at providing the opportunity to meet, enjoy a drink, a meal and have a chat with whoever decides to come along. We were very pleased to welcome four wives (Pat Lynch, Golda Holmes, Alethea McMullen and Noela Rose) who joined their husbands in the relaxed and convivial atmosphere. Welcome also to new member, Neil Boulton and to long time members, Les Pascoe and Ken Ewin, who attended the lunch for the first time.

The dining table is getting longer, but who cares, there is always room for more.

Vietnam Veterans Museum Open Day Members from all VVA Sub-branches were specially invited to attend the National Vietnam Veterans Museum Open Day on Sunday 31st May. Approximately 80 veterans and guests accepted the opportunity and travelled to Phillip Island in perfect weather conditions. A BBQ lunch was enjoyed by all, and Long Tan Veteran, Dave Sabben, gave a talk outlining the status of previous and current Tribunal Reviews concerning awards and recommendations for personnel who took part in the battle.


RAAFVVA was represented by Rick Holmes, Lee Scully, Andy Lapin, Neil Morgan, „Chick‟ and Sue Mercieca, „Snow‟ and Gill Coughlan, Brendan Lynch and his brother Bryan, who is a Navy Vietnam Veteran.

Everyone was impressed by the exhibits, including the latest addition - a "Possum" helicopter used in Vietnam by the Army's No 161 ALA Squadron. 6


Our three Life Members - Brendan Lynch, Graeme Dodd and John „Snow‟ Coughlan pose for „a picture opportunity‟ in front of RAAFVVA Banner before the march

Committee members Andy Lapins and Gareth Davis "waiting"!


Fine, but windy was the weather for this year‟s Anzac Day March. Forty nine members gathered on Flinders St, at east side of Swanston St. It had been planned for Geoff Way to share the lead with ex RAAFVVA President Joseph „Chick‟ Mercieca and recent „Certificate of Appreciation‟ recipient Alan White, but sadly, Geoff passed away on 26 March. Geoff‟s daughter Amanda bravely accepted the invitation and proudly marched in her Dad‟s place. Geoff‟s two sons, Brian and Allan were also in attendance, and supported the outrigger ropes of our banner.

„Chick‟, Alan and Amanda lead RAAFVVA members down Swanston St. Alan and Brian Way assisting with the Banner

Stepping out across Princes Bridge 8

Neil Morgan and Rick Holmes steady the Banner behind the RAAF Vietnam plaque in preparation for the short remembrance ceremony conducted after the march. Forty five members and guests headed down to the Citro restaurant for the traditional after march get together. It was a good opportunity to catch up with „old‟ mates and enjoy a tasty meal. RAAFVVA covered the cost of first drinks for all and it was a good way for everyone to „loosen up‟, relax and get in the mood for a friendly afternoon.

A good time was had by all 9

DID YOU KNOW? This is for Australian phone numbers! DID YOU KNOW? Mobile Phone Numbers have gone public. REMINDER: all mobile phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS!! The link where you can enter your phone numbers online to put an end to telemarketing


Wreckage of Canberra A84-231 Found in Vietnam An Australian Defence team has located the RAAF Canberra bomber flown by Flying Officer Michael Herbert and Pilot Officer Robert Carver. They are the final two missing ADF personnel from the Vietnam War. The aircraft wreckage is in an extremely rugged and remote area of Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, near the border with Laos. For more info:

HEALTH and WELFARE Below is a notice from DVA seeking participation of ex RAAF and ex RAN personnel in the Vietnam Veterans‟ Family Study. There has been a general misunderstanding that the Study was directed only at ex Army personnel and their families. However, the article explains that ex members, and families, from the other Services are encouraged to take part. The results of their survey questionnaires will be the subject of a separate report. The DVA website provides all necessary information about the Vietnam Veterans‟ Family Study. (The „Myth busters‟ section may resolve questions or doubts about the Study.) Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study – An Intergenerational Study Air Force and Navy personnel welcome in the Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study Registrations for the Vietnam Veterans‟ Family Study are still open. Air Force and Navy personnel who served during 1962 - 1975 are welcome to participate in the study. Although they are not part of the randomly selected study groups, Air Force and Navy participants will undertake the same survey as other participants. For scientific reasons their results will be the focus of a separate report. However, outcomes from the study will be applied to Air Force and Navy personnel as well as Army. The Study will gather scientifically-based data on the long term effects of war service on the families of veterans. Even if you or your family had no effects from service, you are important to the Study – others can learn from your experience. The information collected as part of the Study will help the Department of Veterans‟ Affairs plan for the future needs of service personnel and their families irrespective of which arm of the Services they work in. Your participation in this Study will help support the health and wellbeing of future generations of servicemen and women in all service branches. Participation in the Study will only require a few hours at different times over the coming years. It won‟t be onerous. Your main participation will be the completion of a comprehensive health questionnaire. A small number of participants may also be invited to participate in telephone interviews or small group discussions. For more information on the Family Study or to register contact freecall 1800 502 302 or visit the website at: 11

The Veterans Medicines Advisory and Therapeutic Education Services AKA Veterans MATES, is a program that is of an advisory nature and provides condition specific medical information to Veterans and Health professionals. In the past this has consisted of brochures and other information. Following on from the success of Veterans MATES, the DVA has set up a dedicated web address for this program in order that the information is spread far and wide. The initial web information, for Health professionals to assess, has been completed. On 22/4/09 Dr Melanie Harris of UNISA, who is the Project Manager, and with the assistance of a number of TPI Veterans, met in TPI House (TPI SA) to review the program and a number of changes were recommended to make the Veterans research much simpler. These changes will be implemented shortly. The website address is:

SECRETARY'S SNIPPETS Hi all ANZAC Day 2009: Despite ABC Commentary, there was a good turnout in support of the Way family. Numbers were good and some great pics were taken courtesy of Chick Mercieca. Monthly Luncheons continue to improve – great to catch up with Les Pascoe from Echuca at the May lunch. Our best turnout yet! I also welcome our new members who are mentioned elsewhere in this Newsletter. Badge Week 2009. This year we will be manning centres at Sunbury on the 6th and 7th of August, Highpoint on the 13th and 14th August and Southland on the 15th and 16th of August. At this date I have confirmation that Sunbury is in place but wait on confirmation of Highpoint and Southland. This year we need more volunteers, especially to support our Sunbury colleagues. I envisage 2 to 3 hour “blocks” of no more than 2 or 3 volunteers at each collection point. If you can help on these dates please let me know via email or a phone call. We do need fresh volunteers to support our stalwarts for this appeal. RSL Funeral – Did You Know? I am sure you are all aware of the availability of an RSL Funeral, and that it must be requested by a family member of the deceased, but are you aware that an RSL Funeral may be conducted by our Association‟s Welfare Officer? This knowledge could be beneficial when family members request an RSL Funeral, and prefer the procedure to be conducted by someone who knew the deceased. Lastly, I do ask that if you change your email address or you change any details, re contact, please let me know. Your committee is here to help and support but we can‟t do that unless you keep us informed. Rick Holmes, Secretary 12


In the midst of playing baseball in the backyard, Jim’s six year old son’s best friend, and next door neighbour, came out of his house. “Dad, can I go play with Brad?” he asked. “But son, we’re playing baseball. Don’t you want to play with me?” Jim asked, not really wanting to hear the answer he knew was coming. “Nah, I’d rather play with Brad,” his son replied, all too honestly. Jim had a rival for his son’s affection, and he was a six year old. As he struggled with that thought, knowing that he’d better get a handle on it because it was only going to escalate, he suddenly was reminded that God felt the same way about him. He jealously desires our affection and attention as well, it breaks His heart when we show more interest in cars, sports, newspapers, television, the garden, hobbies, books and family activities than we do in reading His word and prayer. It saddens Him when we are more committed to serving ourselves and pursuing our own interests than we are in serving Him. If God were to examine your heart today, what rivals for His attention would He find? It makes you think doesn’t it? Cheers, (Rev) George G. Ashworth, OAM A JOKE FROM THE PADRE “MONKS”

A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand. He notices, however, that they are copying from copies, not the original manuscripts. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this, pointing out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies. The head monk says, “We have been copying from copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.” So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original. Hours go by and nobody sees him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. Hearing sobbing, coming from the back of the cellar, he finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying. He asks the old monk what’s wrong, and in a choked voice came the reply, “The word is celebrate.” 13




BSF and 9 Sqn – Jun 67 to Feb 68 18th May 2009

RAAF Vietnam Veterans

Joseph Peter VELLACOTT 9 Sqn – May 68 to Feb 69 25th May 2009 Darryl Francis DIMMOCK 9 Sqn – Apr 70 to Apr 71 25th May 2009


Download and try it! 15


How Close to God are You? An 80-year-old man goes for a physical, and all of his tests come back with normal results.

The doctor says, 'George, everything looks great.

you doing mentally and emotionally?

How are

Are you at peace with God?'

George replies, 'God and I are tight doc.

He knows I have poor eyesight, so

he's fixed it so when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, poof - the light goes on!

When I'm done, poof - the light goes off!'

'Wow, that's incredible,' the doctor says. doctor calls George's wife.

A little later in the day, the

'Ethel,' he says, 'George is doing fine!

to call you because I'm in awe of his relationship with God.

But I had

Is it true that he

gets up during the night and poof - the light goes on in the bathroom, and when he's done, poof - the light goes off?' 'Oh my God!'

Ethel exclaims.

'He's pissing in the fridge again!’


A Short Story about a Wonderful Woman One day, a long, long time ago, there lived a woman who did not whine, nag, or bitch.

But it was a long time ago, and it was just that one day. The End.


THE VIETNAM VETERANS ASSOCIATION VICTORIAN BRANCH (Incorporated) IS A REGISTERED CHARITY. DONATIONS The VVAA Victorian Branch is a registered charity which means that all of the 30 sub-branches can raise funds from public donations and provide Tax deductable receipts for all donations over $2, providing the funds are used for welfare. Some VVAA members have already adopted our Association as their family charity. All that is needed is to make out a cheque payable to the Sub-branch Welfare Fund and forward it to the Treasurer who will provide the Tax deductable receipt by return mail. Even the smallest donation is very much appreciated. BEQUESTS AND LEGACIES Making a Will is good planning. It provides you and those for whom you care with peace of mind, ensures the security of you family, and enables bequests to be made to those charities that represent your ongoing interests and concerns. Bequests and Legacies are gifts of specifically identified possessions or specified sums of money gifted to a person, a group of people or an organization. If the VVAA is your charity then the correct title of the charity is Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Victorian Branch Welfare Patriotic Fund Please consider our Association as a charity. Remember, one day the person in need of assistance may be you or a member of your family. VVCS - VETERANS and VETERANS FAMILIES COUNSELLING SERVICE (A Service Founded by the Vietnam Veterans) Normal Hours: 86408700 Crisis Line (after hours) 1800 011 046 DVA VICTORIA Normal Hours: 9284 6000 Country/Regional: 1800 555 254 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In Hospital or Convalescing at Home? Like us to know about it and/or have someone to visit to assist or just chat? Name:…………………………………………………………………………………..….......... Address:……………………………………………………………………………………........ Preferred Contact details:……..………………………………………………………….......... Post or Email your request to the Secretary or give him a call on 9317 7304 and we will try and arrange a visit on your behalf.


June 2009  
June 2009  

RAAFVVA Quarterly Newsletter: June 2009