Australian Navy Divers Mark 50th in Vietnam

Today marks 56 years since the arrival of the Australian Naval Clearance Diving Team Three in South Vietnam, an elite group who put their lives at risk clearing underwater mines and obstacles during the Vietnam War.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh said the task that faced the Australian Naval Clearance Divers was complex and dangerous.

“Their work did not have the same profile as that carried out by other elements of the Royal Australian Navy such as the large surface vessels or the Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam, but it was absolutely vital to the safety of military and civilian shipping during the Vietnam War.”

“The country’s long coast and many rivers gave the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong many opportunities to attack and disrupt shipping with mines and underwater obstacles. The primary task of the Australian Naval Clearance Divers was to combat these threats, referred to as ‘Stable Door’ operations,” Minister Keogh said.

The first of eight clearance diving contingents arrived in Vietnam on 6 February 1967, with each group performing difficult and dangerous tasks throughout the war.

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Throughout the year, the Australian Government is recognising the contribution of our Vietnam veterans, at war and in the decades since. This will culminate in a national commemorative service in Canberra on Vietnam Veterans’ Day, 18 August 2023.

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