Today, on National Servicemen’s Day, Australia acknowledges the contribution of thousands of our countrymen, also known as Nashos.
More than 280,000 Australians served in National Service schemes between 1951 and 1972.
On 14 February we recognise the contributions of Nashos to our armed services and the important role that they played in serving our country in the 1950s, 60s and 70s,
Nashos served not only within Australia but also deployed to operational theatres such as Borneo, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam and the waters off the Korean peninsula.
The first National Service scheme, from 1951-59 saw Australian men called up for training in the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force. More than 220,000 served during this period, many suspending their careers to serve their country.
“The second National Service scheme took place from 1965-1972 and saw more than 60,000 young men called up.
Registration for National Service began again on 1 January 1965, and the first National Service ballot for the 60s Nashos was held in March that year. All males whose twentieth birthday fell within a specific six month period were required to register. Only Aborigines, serving members of the permanent Military Forces and, prior to 1967, non-British migrants were exempt.
More than 15,300 Nashos served in the Vietnam War, in regular army units and being part of the Australian Army for the duration of the war. Some 200 died in Vietnam. One hundred Nashos also served in Borneo, with two losing their lives while deployed.
Regardless of their service location all contributed to Australia’s defence and they should be proud of their service. We regulars who served with them certainly are.
Many transferred to the Australian Regular Army and distinguished themselves in higher ranks and appointments.
Today, we pause to remember them and their service to Australia.
Duty First and Duty Done