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    AvatarDavid Walter Brown

    Army Public Relations Stripped of Identity

    Australian Army Public Relations Service officers and NCOs who served in Vietnam have received scant recognition for their role in reporting the war and for recording it in photographs and cinefilm for the historical record.

    Now we have been stripped of our identity.

    The Australian Vietnam Veterans’ Roll http://www.vietnamroll.gov.au/veteransearch.aspx
    lists us as belonging to RAAEC instead of RAAEC(PR).

    I first became aware of this nearly three years ago and wrote to Veterans’ Affairs asking for correction. I receive a reply from a wet-behind-the-ears otiose young female public servant informing me that just because I had a different job in the corps, it didn’t mean that I was not a member of RAAEC. Permission to correct the entry was denied.

    Since then Colonel Commandant of the AAPRS, Colonel John Weiland, has taken up the cause but not a thing has been done since he wrote to Veterans’ Affairs six months ago.

    Now some of us are writing to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon. Dan Tehan, drawing the matter to his attention and asking for his intervention to set the historical records straight. So far David Combe, John Fairley, Derek Roylance and I have written and Peter Thomas has undertaken to write tomorrow
    . I would urge all other RAAEC(PR) Vietnam veterans to also write. If the Minister hears it often enough, perhaps he will act.

    I am not aware of any actions on the part of the current members of the Australian Army Public Relations Service to assist in setting the record straight. If this is so, it disappoints me, because the nomination of AAPRS personnel as RAAEC on the Vietnam Veterans’ Roll is not only a personal insult to us (with all due respect to our teacher colleagues) , it is a distortion of the history of APPRS itself and should be of concern to currently serving members.

    I ask the Director of Army Public Relations Service, Colonel Jeff Squire, to throw his weight behind a concerted campaign to correct our listing on the Vietnam Veterans’ Roll.

    David Brown
    Ex-lieutenant colonel
    RAAEC (PR)

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