MILITARY HISTORY: Senator Michael Ronaldson.
MILITARY HISTORY: Senator Michael Ronaldson. Michel Spingler

Australia pays tribute to the service, sacrifice of Nashos

VETERANS across the country gathered yesterday to remember the service and sacrifice of thousands of men who were called upon for National Service.

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Senator Michael Ronaldson said Australia owed a great debt to our "Nashos", who underwent training and served the nation, many of those on foreign soil.

Australia has seen four periods of compulsory military service, with the most recent two schemes seeing more than 280,000 National Servicemen, or Nashos, serve between 1951-1959 and 1964-1972.

The last National Service Scheme was introduced in 1964 in response to Australia's growing involvement in South-East Asia.

Men of 20 years of age were required to register with the Department of Labour and National Service, their fate was then determined by the "birthday ballot".

From 1964 to 1972 more than 804,000 men registered for national service, of whom more than 63,000 were called up to serve in the Army.

Of these men more than 15,000 went on to serve in the Vietnam War, with 201 killed and more than 1200 wounded.

"Nashos are an important part of our military history and their contribution should never be forgotten. This is particularly poignant as the nation commemorates a Century of Service over the Anzac Centenary 2014-2018," Senator Ronaldson said.

 Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service and Veterans Line can be reached 24-hours-a-day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046.