14 Feb 2019

Rob Munro welcomes honour for NZ's Vietnam War veterans

From Morning Report, 7:53 am on 14 February 2019

More than four decades after the Vietnam War ended, soldiers who were mentioned in dispatches will be honoured at ceremonies this week.

The Minister for Veteran Affairs Ron Mark says it will give them the formal recognition they did not receive at the time. Thirty awards will be presented to the surviving veterans or to the family members of those who have since died.

Two ceremonies will be held at Government House in Auckland, and another at Government House in Wellington.

Rob Munro will be presented an award at the Wellington ceremony. "It brings back memories, in my case it was 47 years ago, they're pretty ancient.

"I was with the Aussies, I was an intelligence officer for the year I was there. We got out and about, did some paperwork and tried to work out what was happening and get our fellows to respond to it."

He tells Guyon Espiner he remembers very hard work, long hours, and success, until the time they withdrew.

He says the honour is "a very good thought by Minister Ron Mark and also a colleague of mine, Bob Davies from Lower Hutt, who's been the instigator of a lot of this.

"I think it means more to the family, but I think also of the widows of colleagues who are no longer with us, and sons and daughters who are there."

Mr Munro says he hopes there's more work being done to help Defence Force people after they have served.

"Things change... We've got to adapt with it. I hope we're looking forward to the young men and women who've served us so well in Afghanistan. The outcome there looks difficult."