NEWS & EVENTS
Newsletter from the National Committee
on Queensland and Future Reunions
After the announcement that the Queensland Reunion originally planned for 2016 had to be rescheduled to around ANZAC Day 2017, there were Facebook posts and emails to the National Committee critical of this change.
Following the receipt of these emails, the National Committee met on two occasions to discuss what action was deemed necessary. The Committee also canvassed the views and opinions of a number of other people who had also attended previous reunions.
In summary the emails were distilled into four main subject headings, which were addressed in order:
Rescheduling the next reunion from 2016 to 2017;
Moving reunions away from ANZAC Day;
Holding Reunions every two years; and,
Minimising Reunion Costs.
1 ..... Rescheduling the Next Reunion from 2016 to 2017
The National Committee gave this matter considerable thought. We were conscious of the hard work done by the Reunion Sub-committee and what they had formulated to date.
The National Committee was also conscious that the Reunion Sub-committee had been asked by the National Committee to arrange the event as there were no volunteers or expressions of interest to organise the next reunion in Queensland.
As you would understand and appreciate, volunteering and agreeing to coordinate such a significant event can be daunting and the Committee felt that, in the first instance, the initiative and sincerity shown by the Reunion Sub-committee needed to be acknowledged and respected.
The National Committee raised many of the queries with the Reunion Sub-committee and sought a response from them. The Reunion Sub-committee informed us that they had thoroughly researched the prospect of conducting a 2016 reunion on the Sunshine Coast and the southern and northern beaches of Brisbane, but was unable to find a venue and accommodation to meet our requirements.
As has been the case with the previous seven Reunion Sub-committees and having considered their response, we have determined to trust their judgement and accept the need for the reunion to be rescheduled to 2017.
One factor that weighed heavily on our determination was the fact that 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the deployment of 86 Transport Platoon to Vietnam. As you might know the active service military history of our unit commenced when 30 men from the Platoon marched into the Vung Tau lines at 1330 hours on 23 April 1967, two days before ANZAC Day.
It is the Committee view that this date is highly significant and it would be irresponsible not to acknowledge it in an appropriate way. We know of no unit that would ignore such an important anniversary. Observing important anniversaries is what commemoration and reunions are all about.
In sum, these two significant factors provide compelling reasons for conducting our reunion in 2017.
2 .... Moving Reunions Away from ANZAC Day
The Committee can see some reason in the submissions. However, the Committee has canvassed the views of previous reunion convenors, most of whom have stressed the importance of holding our reunions around ANZAC Day.
Simply put, ANZAC Day is considered by many as being the most appropriate time to conduct events of military significance. We are talking about events that recognise and commemorate military service. Our reunion is not simply a social gathering; if it were the date would not be of such significance. Our event recognises our service to the nation. We embrace our military heritage and accept the benefits it provides. Our reunion is more than simply creating an occasion to “get on the grog” or ”just meet up with mates.”
The ANZAC Day March as part of the reunion is also often the only opportunity for a number of reunion participants to march with their mates as part of 86 Transport Platoon and receive the appropriate recognition and acknowledgement as part of a unit. It is also the Committee’s view that the ANZAC Day march is a proud and embracing moment for our partners to see us all marching under the 86 banner.
The National Committee firmly believe that moving the reunion away from ANZAC Day would diminish the military and social aspects of the event.
As has been stated, the community focus around ANZAC Day is on “remembrance” and this allows us to get more recognition for those of our unit who have passed on. After all, remembering our mates is a critically important part of our reunion and has been a special feature in all of our reunions since the Geelong Reunion in 2010.
3 .... Holding Reunions every two years
The National Committee can see merit in all of the arguments that have been put forward to advance the principle of our reunions being held every two years, and is happy to put this view forward to all of the sub-committees organising future reunions after our 50th anniversary reunion in 2017.
4 .... Minimising costs
The National Committee agrees and emphasises the need to provide an event at a practical cost without compromising the nature of the event. A well-researched budget is absolutely essential. Within that budget, however, there must be some flexibility so that every attendee is catered for in a way that gives them comfort.
Those who want to take the “economy” option should be able to do so knowing they will still be involved in all the major events. Those for whom money is not so much an issue can look to add the 'bells and whistles'. Ensuring this flexibility is the only way we can guarantee everybody a chance to attend.
In making these responses, the Committee believes it is acting in the best interest of the majority. We are asking that everyone fully support our 50th Anniversary Reunion from 21 to 26 April 2017 in Maroochydore, Queensland and we look forward to us all gathering again in 2017.
Information updates are provided on the 86 website at www.86transportvietnam.com or on the 86 Transport Platoon Facebook page
Bill Hignett / Secretary
86 Transport Vietnam Association Inc