The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (235250) Lieutenant Anatoly Danilenko, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (RA INF), Vietnam

Accession Number PAFU2013/158.01
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 9 December 2013
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (235250) Lieutenant Anatoly Danilenko, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (RA INF), Vietnam.

Speech transcript

235250 Captain Anatoly Danilenko, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam
KIA 25 April 1968
Photograph: P03251.044

Story delivered 9 December 2013

Today we remember and pay tribute to Captain Anatoly Danilenko.

Tony Danilenko was born in Germany on 10 October 1943 to Russian parents who had been displaced during the early years of the Second World War. In 1952 the family immigrated to Australia and settled in Parkes, New South Wales.

He enlisted into the Australian Army in 1960, attending the Royal Military Academy, Duntroon. He graduated as a member of the class of 1963 with the rank of second lieutenant and was posted to the infantry. Danilenko was known as an unflappable character with an easygoing nature that endeared him to his friends, fellow officers, and serving men.

In 1965 Danilenko was posted to Western Australia, where he joined No. 2 Squadron of the Special Air Service. He also joined Nedlands Rugby Union Football Club and quickly became one of the club's best-known players.

In 1966, No. 2 Squadron deployed to Borneo during the closing stages of the Indonesian Confrontation. The squadron undertook a number of different tasks which would greatly assist them in future deployments to Vietnam.

Danilenko returned with his squadron to Australia in July 1966. Preparations for service in Vietnam were undertaken, and in November 1967 Danilenko was posted to Vietnam and attached to Headquarters, Armed Forces Vietnam, as the SAS liaison officer.

In February 1968 Danilenko was posted to the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam and was promoted to temporary captain. Upon joining the AATTV Danilenko was attached as a company commander to a United States Special Forces Mobile Strike Force based at Pleiku. Danilenko and the US Special Forces soldiers were involved in training Montagnard troops and leading them on combat operations.

In April, Danilenko's company and a second company were sent north of Dak Pek in Kontum Province to patrol and observe North Vietnamese Army forces in the area. The terrain was extremely hilly and the jungle conditions demanding on the troops.

At around lunchtime on 25 April Danilenko's company was ambushed by an NVA force. The nature of the terrain and the intense enemy fire meant that no effective return fire or counter-attacks could be undertaken. Danilenko attempted to lead an attack to extricate his company from the ambush. During the attack he became isolated, and as he prepared to move to another position he was shot and killed. Danilenko was posthumously Mentioned in Dispatches for his leadership and personal courage in trying to lead his men out of the ambush.

Danilenko's body was recovered by his American colleagues the following day and returned to Australia. He was laid to rest in his home town of Parkes, New South Wales.

Anatoly Danilenko's name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with more than 500 others from the Vietnam War, and his photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Captain Anatoly Danilenko, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

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