The Vietnam War was Australia’s most protracted military engagement of the twentieth century. In 1972, after more than a decade, approximately 61,000 Australians had served in Vietnam’s hostile jungles and humid lowlands. While the war was beset by controversy in Australia, diggers in Vietnam persevered in the spirit of camaraderie and mateship that had come to define the Australian soldier.
With the passing of time, and as the domestic controversy surrounding the Vietnam War has receded into memory, many of those who served are finally gaining recognition for their sacrifice – as well as the personal battles they continue to fight, so many years after returning home. Their medals are a tangible testament to their experience. The medals commonly awarded for service in Vietnam are shown below: