By Neil Wilson - Sub Editor for the Bribie Islander


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Tags: Army veterans. Military. Ceremonies. Bribie Island. Brisbane. Queensland. Australia.

Fifty-two years on from when Australian forces fought a battle against the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong at Long Tan in Phuoc Tuy Province on August 18th in 1966, a large crowd gathered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park to honour those who served in that and other conflicts. Prior to the commencement of the ceremony, a contingent of veterans was joined by members of the Marine Safety Military Cadets and the TS Koopa Cadets in a march along Toorbul Street from the Bongaree Sports Club to the Vietnam Veterans Park.

Featured Image(above): Wreaths were laid by representatives of many organisations

At the commencement of the official service, Master of Ceremonies Paul Cooke called on the Parade Commander to mount the Catafalque Party, and following a brief word from Bribie Island Vietnam Veterans President Michael (Kanga) Daley, MC Cooke then introduced the guest speaker, Major General David Ferguson AM CSC (Ret) and gave a brief description of the Major General’s service history. He told those present that as well as having served in Borneo, Vietnam, Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States, Major General Ferguson had done a stint in Canberra and also had been Commander of the eleven-nation Peace Keeping Force in the Sinai Desert.

The crowd was told that Major General Ferguson and his wife Sara had been responsible for initiating and seeing through the return to Australia of the Vietnam casualties and others who had died and were buried in Malaysia. As guest speaker, the Major General took time to pay tribute to the Australian Army Training Team and he pointed out that this gallant group of soldiers were the most highly decorated in Australian history.

The marching contingent arriving at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park

He also spoke about the extraordinary aircrews and the outstanding job that both the Caribou pilots and the crews of the Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam had done. After what was a very moving speech by the guest speaker, the association Chaplain, Reverend Colin Baxter RAN (Ret) offered a prayer for the commemoration of the fallen and this was followed by Patron Joy Leishman’s prayer for the Queen and RAN veteran Doug Marsden’s prayer for the nation.

The cadets looking resplendent in their uniforms and proud to be involved

The MC then called on the representatives from many of our local organisations including the various veterans’ support groups, the schools and Police Service along with Sharon and Gary Parsons from the Bribie Island District Community Appeal to lay a wreath at the base of the memorial wall. They were joined by Division One Councillor Brooke Savige, Member for Pumicestone Simone Wilson and Member for Longman Susan Lamb.

Mounting the Catafalque Party – Cadets from TS Koopa

Major General David Ferguson AM CSC (Ret) gave a moving address

Next came the haunting tones of The Last Post and the reading of The Ode by Kanga Daley. Veteran Phil Reeves read the Vietnam Veterans’ Prayer and after Reverend Baxter pronounced the Benediction, all present were invited to join in singing the Australian National Anthem. The service concluded after the MC called on the Parade Commander to march off the Catafalque Party and as a final comment, he remarked on how it was great to see the young cadets in their uniforms and obviously proud to be wearing them and to be taking part in the occasion.


It was a busy day for the Maritime Safety Military Cadets of Bribie Island. The group attended two parades on Vietnam Veterans Day. They conducted a group march, guard and colour party for Caboolture Veterans at Burpengary then hurried back to Bribie for the afternoon March and colour party. Their participation was reported as being greatly appreciated by all who attended both gatherings.

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A highly successful sales and leadership career working in a number of different and very competitive industries. Engaging with decision makers at all levels in business and government. Three decades employed by corporations, SME businesses in senior roles and almost twelve years operating as a freelance contractor has equipped me well for all aspects of business. Whether leading and mentoring sales teams, or in a direct sales role I enjoy the challenge to meet and exceed expectations. Making a real and tangible difference in either a team environment or as an individual is an important personal goal I have consistently achieved throughout my career. In all of my business and personal dealings over the years there is one issue that stands out above all others - communication. Excellent communication skills creates trust, helps with mutually beneficial outcomes and above all cements long lasting positive relationships. I strive everyday to communicate effectively with the people I encounter.