National Vice Commander
I served in the Republic of South
Vietnam with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment on their
second tour during 1971 as a combat medic/stretcher bearer with
Charlie Company, 7th Platoon. I was the Drum Major with the 3rd
Battalion, Royal Australian, Pipes and Drums.
After my Military Service, I had a
highly successful career in the private sector including as a
Corporate Manager for the largest armoured car corporation in the
world. I have worked in such industries as Mining, Aquaculture and
During the middle 80's, while in the
U.S., I was searching for a Veterans Organization that had as its
main direction the welfare of Veterans and their families and to
embrace the brotherhood of all Veterans.
Many Veterans organizations had started
off with this agenda. However, due to many ego trips, personality
clashes and power struggles the direction had changed to one of
self-gratification and in many cases the seeking of public awards
became the main direction.
Just like so many Veterans, I too, had
become disenchanted with these groups. Rather than just disappear
into the woodwork, so to speak, I decided to become involved with
the Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc., a dedicated Veterans
After being a Life Member-at-large for
several years, I sought direction from the National Office of the
Veterans of the Vietnam War as to how to go about introducing the
VVnW, Inc. into Australia and in 1991 this took place. Armed with a
great deal of paperwork I began the journey.
The VVnW, Inc. AU has gone to extreme
means to inform Veterans of their entitlements, to assist them and
to make representation to the authorities on their behalf. We have
tried to bring self-esteem, pride, fitness and strength through
unity during the last twelve years of the VVnW, Inc. AU through many
We are members of and have worked with
the Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition to bring the Coalition to
Australia. The Coalition helps to ensure strength through unity
which can only be achieved through a firm and strong base to provide
welfare and entitlements to all Veterans. When we stand together in
and for the betterment of Brotherhood we will ensure better
treatment of the entire brotherhood.
The VVnW, Inc. AU instigated and manages
the Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day Celebrations on the closest
Sunday to the 18th of August each year. This celebration includes
such things as a street march, memorial service, a family picnic day
and concert operated throughout the day under the NVGWV Coalition
banner and we seek all Veterans groups to participate.
The VVnW, Inc. AU put forward a proposal
and gained a grant to start the VVnW, Inc. Veterans Rowing Club, the
first of its kind in the world. We are now members of the U.S.
Masters Rowing Association and will continue to work to increase the
positive attributes that have come from this initiative. The VVnW,
Inc. Veterans Rowing Club sponsored a very successful SARA Regatta
at Westlakes in 1999.
The Veterans Assisting the Community and
Environment projects like the Waterways Rehabilitation project (that
you can read about in the Veteran Leader and website) are projects
that ensure awareness of the Veterans and promotes their being part
of and interested in the Community. This particular project focuses
on the Veterans giving back to the community in the way of
rehabilitating the River Torrens and waterways throughout Australia.
We have trailed an Enviro-Trap Drum net in the River Torrens and
other wetlands for over an18 months period and this proved that we
could remove European Carp without any losses of air breathing
The VVnW, Inc. AU along with the VVnW,
Inc. International Head Office have made representation through U.S.
Congressman Paul Kanjorski for a treaty between Australia and the
United States for reciprocal health treatment for United States and
Australian Veterans living in or traveling within each country.
Other projects include the Anzac Gunfire
Breakfast operated in conjunction with the military after the Dawn
Service on the Anzac Day Morning on the 25th of April each year; the
National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition and ANZAC Cabarets
held throughout the year to promote brotherhood and to bring
together the greater community and the Veterans. This has been
disrupted due to SA Government's inability to provide authority for
the booking we made in 2000 for the Torrens Parade Ground site
We found a need within the Veteran
Community throughout Australia where indigent Veterans were being
buried as paupers. To guarantee that Veterans would receive a
respectful, military-style burial at no cost we established, along
with Blackwell Funerals, the Veterans Burial Trust Fund. This fund
has now buried Australian and American Veterans and laid them to
rest with due respect.
I have volunteered at VVnW International
Headquarters for over five years; Advisor to the VVnW National Board
of Directors; National Convention Coordinator; Member, National
Membership Committee; Member, Veterans Fund of the U.S.; Director of
the Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition for the past three years
and a Board member in 2002-3; been instrumental in programs which
involve membership, homeless veterans food drives, flag awareness,
public relations, promotional/informational travel, military support
packages, Supporting Our Veterans in the War Against Terrorism
I am 100% DVA war service connected for
PTSD plus other conditions. However, this has not stopped me from
giving a great deal back although coping with these conditions can
be difficult. It hasn't stopped me from being useful and productive.
If you need additional information,
please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
I am honored to be part of the VVnW
Board and I take my responsibilities as the US National Vice
Yours In Brotherhood.
Peter J. Forbes
US National Vice Commander/Australian Commander
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