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13 August 2016


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Frank emailed me the other day to say "Rob,on August 18, the Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan fought in 1966, I have been invited to Kilcoy to attend what is likely to be a moving ceremony. Quite a number of veterans from all over are likely to join, including Lieut Colonel Charles Mollison, our company commander in the battle and also a good friend for many years."Unfortunately I can not attend.Lt Col Mollison wrote:
" Frank Alcorta is the bravest man I have ever met."

Hola Frank. I heard your name in the news some time ago. I went to Tasmania for a holiday and I was told that you moved to Queensland. Thank for your help the time you were in Darwin. I'm still here.

Congrats Frank, as is often said 'good things happen to good people' and you are a fine example of that. I'm proud to have known you.

Hello Francesco, Great to hear you are alive and still kicking a few goals. I left Darwin 2002,have been back a couple of times but not the same without Murph, Cowdy and your goodself.

Never got that mine off the ground but enjoyed my 30 years in the NT.

Look after yourself young fella.

ABC News Tuesday, 8 November 2016: 'Battle of Long Tan soldiers finally awarded bravery medals 50 years on'.

So typical of Francis Xavier Alcorta OAM MG not to let me know he was to be presented his Medal for Gallantry in Canberra from the Governor-General.

The Medal for Gallantry has only been awarded 56 times since it was introduced.

He had warned me many times that he didn't want any more stuff from his past brought up again.

I had organised his amazing life story to be portrayed in 'Australian Story' but by the look of it will have to wait until he falls off the perch, which, given the toughness of this guy, will be many years after I have gone

As the ABC script put it:

"Ten Australian soldiers have been recognised for their bravery more than 50 years after they fought in the Vietnam War's Battle of Long Tan.

"On 18 August, 1966, members of D Company, who were outnumbered 20 to one, fought against the odds to defeat the Viet Cong.

"About 245 Viet Cong were killed in the rubber plantation and 18 Australians were killed and more were wounded.

"But for half a century many of the men received no official recognition of their courage, despite sustained campaigning for recognition.

"Presenting them with their bravery awards, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove told them they were brave, dedicated and professional."

Congratulations to Frank. So pleasing that he has finally been recognised for his heroism. It was an honour to know Frank when he worked at the NT News.

Could you please pass on my congratulations to Frank
I knew him for a short time in 1988,
He made me very welcome in the Territory
he introduced me to a MM winner
Now he has his and very well deserved
James Morrison

Thanks, Rob, for sharing this story of a remarkable Australian.
He achieved so much in diverse fields of endeavour.
It is pleasing that his exceptional bravery in Vietnam was finally recognized.

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