50th anniversary of the Battles at Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral

In May and June 1968, astride the North Vietnamese/Viet Cong infiltration routes to Saigon, Australian units fought an intensive series of battles over a prolonged period around Fire Support Bases (FSB) Coral and Balmoral.

To mark the 50th anniversaries of these significant battles of the Vietnam War, the following program of commemoration and exhibitions will take place:

Soldiers of 1RAR patrol "outside the wire" perimeter

7 May-7 June

Photographic display from Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral in the Entry Corridor of the Memorial’s Main Building.

M2A2 105 mm Howitzer : 102 Field Battery, Royal Australian Artillery

9-16 May

Two large technology objects will be on display on the Memorial’s Forecourt. This will include M577A1 Armoured Command Vehicle which served as Major JD ‘Blue’ Keldie’s vehicle during his command of the defence of FSB Coral and a M2A2 Howitzer, the standard type of gun that was used at FSB Coral in Vietnam in 1968.

Artillery officers at FSB Coral

13 May

Last Post Ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of first attack on Fire Support Base Coral will be held in the Memorial's Commemorative Area at 4.55pm. This ceremony will commemorate Corporal Robert Bernard Hickey, who died during the action. Australia’s Federation Guard will be participating in the ceremony in addition to the parading of standards and guidons around the Pool of Reflection.

Bien Hoa Province, South Vietnam. 1968-05. Two soldiers from 3rd Battalion, RAR

26 May

Last Post Ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of first attack on Fire Support Base Balmoral will be held in the Memorial's Commemorative Area at 4.55pm. This ceremony will commemorate Private Lindsay Noel Brown, who was serving with 3rd Battalion, RAR when Fire Support Base Balmoral was attacked. The ceremony will be supported by Australia’s Federation Guard.

A US Army Chinook helicopter delivers stores to 102 Field Battery

"They'll come looking for you"

Wartime magazine article

The first enemy attack on Fire Support Base Coral in May 1968 could have ended in disaster for Australian soldiers. Read "They'll come looking for you" by Ashley Ekins, Head of Military History at the Australian War Memorial, to learn more about the attack on Fire Support Base Coral.

Tracker dogs Tiber (front) and Justin (rear) wait to carry out helicopter winching training with their handlers and soldiers from 7RAR in Nui Dat, 1967. EKN/67/0097/VN

Tiber, the tracker dog who went missing from Coral

Wartime magazine article

When the second assault on Fire Support Base Coral came just two nights later, the noise of bursting mortars, bright flashes from gun fire, and intense activity caused one Australian to flee: a tracker dog named Tiber broke loose from his handler and took off across the battlefield, into the dark. By Emma Campbell.

Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial on Anzac Parade, Canberra

Commemorative National Service

Hosted by Department of Veterans' Affairs

A national commemorative service to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battles at Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral will be held at 11am on Sunday 13 May 2018 at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial on Anzac Parade in Canberra. Visit the Department of Veterans' Affairs website for more information.