Gladstone Nashos back in uniform for tomorrow's service
A special group of Gladstone veterans will be be back in uniform tomorrow to commemorate Nasho Day.
A service will be held at St Saviours Anglican Church on Auckland St at 8am.
"Nashos", or national servicemen, were conscripted from the nation's young men during two periods, the first in the 1950s and again in the 1960s, as part of Australia's defence preparedness.
Men aged 18 to 20 years old were required to register for the draft, and ballots were held to determine which of them had to take part in compulsory military training.
Once conscripted, they had to serve three months of full time training, followed by three months service in the Citizen Military Forces, now known as the Australian Army Reserve.
Men conscripted in the 1960s served two years in Vietnam with the Australian Army.
There are 21 Nashos still living in the Gladstone region and they meet formally each month at the Rocky Glen Hotel, or get together for social occasions such as dinners or birthdays.
Noel Bowley, president of the Gladstone and District Branch of the National Servicemen Association, said many of the region's remaining Nashos were now in their eighties.
"But they still have their memories and companionship," he said.
"Often Nashos from round the country will make a point of dropping into Gladstone to meet with us if they are travelling through the district."
The group celebrates ANZAC Day, Vietnam Veterans' Day and Remembrance Day, as well as offering advice concerning medical support for its ageing members.
National Service Day, or Nasho Day, is held on February 14, but is traditionally celebrated on the Sunday closest to the date.
February 14 was selected to commemorate the day in 1972, when the last Nasho marched out of camp having completed their service.
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, more than 15,000 went on to serve in the Vietnam War, with 210 killed and more than 1200 wounded.
Another 150 men served in Borneo and of these, two were killed.