A Mate's Quest - to Find Those MIA in Vietnam
The Hon. De-Anne Kelly, MP
Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence
Wednesday, 30 November 2005
A Mate's Quest - to Find Those Missing in Action in Vietnam
Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence De-Anne Kelly today acknowledged the efforts of Mr Jim Bourke and supporters of the Operation Aussies Home organisation in trying to locate the remains of Australian Defence Force personnel declared 'missing in action' in Vietnam.
"The Government is committed to resolving 'missing in action' cases and has a proud record in recovering missing Australian Defence Force personnel. Recent recoveries in Germany and Papua are testament to this," Mrs Kelly said.
"The ADF is also very mindful of not raising the hopes of the missing servicemen's next of kin and their comrades and will only search when there is sufficient evidence available. Further investigations will only be undertaken with the full support of the families as their welfare and wishes are of paramount importance and must be respected at all times.
"Mr Bourke of the Operation Aussies Home organisation has met with me and has kept me informed during his team's visit to Vietnam. The team met with Australian and United States officials, including former soldiers who were involved in the military actions, about the possible location of the Australian servicemen's remains.
"While the passage of time has made the task in finding the remains of those missing more difficult, Mr Bourke's team will shortly present the findings of their investigations. The report will then be considered by Defence to determine the best way forward.
"Mr Bourke and his team should be commended for their unstinting efforts in trying to bring closure to these missing in action cases."
Mrs Kelly said that there were six Australians that remain listed as missing in action or missing presumed dead in Vietnam. Of the six, four are Army members and two are Air Force.