THIS year is the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Australia's military involvement in the Vietnam War, and tomorrow, on Vietnam Veterans' Day, returned servicemen and women in the Redlands will remember.
Nationwide, veterans will honour the anniversary with reunions, special events and the annual Vietnam Veterans' Day march.
Joining them will be Vietnam veterans Len Elwell, of Victoria Point, and Gary Batty, of Alexandra Hills.
The two shared a significant experience during the war, but one they didn't realise until recently.
During a gathering of the Redlands Vietnam Veterans Group, Gary was looking at photos of Len's damaged tank, which was blown up after he ran over a mine near Cam My.
Gary, who served on two tours of Vietnam (1969 and 1970-71) as crew commander of an armoured recovery vehicle, said he realised while looking at the photos that he had attended to Len's tank after the incident.
He had facilitated its recovery from the jungle and organised to have it taken to Nui Dat.
"Then we met up back here (at Redlands Vietnam Veterans Group)," Gary said.
"We served in different units, so I never heard whether Len pulled through it.
"He had some pretty bad injuries."
Len, who served on one tour (1970-71) as an armoured personnel carrier driver, said it was "good to connect" with Gary, who had himself received major injuries when he was run over by a tank during his first tour.
Len said he would mark Vietnam Veterans' Day tomorrow at Caloundra with a march and reunion of his unit, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment.
"Vietnam Veterans' Day is a personal thing," he said.
"It brings back memories of mates I served with and mates we lost," he said.
"The biggest thing that impresses me is the children and the support they give to our veterans on Anzac Day and Vietnam Veterans' Day.
"When I march through Cleveland and see the kids lined up on the side of the street, I reach out and touch all their hands as we march past.
"It means the world to me to see them there."
Gary, who served his first tour with 1 Field Squadron Workshop, and his second tour with 1st Armoured Regiment LAD, will march tomorrow in Cleveland.
He said the day for him meant "sitting quietly and remembering".
"You sit down and think of all the mates you had," he said.
"Those you served with, those who didn't come home, and those who have passed on since."
In their service to Australia, Len served 22 years in the regular army and nine years in Army Reserves, while Gary served more than 20 years in the regular army.