4,500 veterans now eligible for medals after long battle for recognition

Source: 1News

More than 4,000 veterans are now eligible for medals after a battle for recognition over many decades.

The 4,500 veterans who served in South East Asia in the 50s, 60s and 70s can get service medals, despite not physically fighting.

John Titmus was posted to South East Asia with the navy several times in the 60 and 70s and his contribution has finally been recognised.

He served more than 50 years ago, and says it’s only just being recognised now.

“It just should never happen,” he said.

Titmus was one of 22 in his unit who weren’t commended for their efforts, which he says is not good enough.

After many decades, veterans can now claim their medals, but they still don’t qualify for veteran benefits like cheap doctor visits and military burial plots.

Defence Minister Peeni Henare says he is of the opinion that the good work they did should be recognised, “but that the threat level was not there.”

Others, including the three men of the victor six company, are still seeking recognition who risked their lives during Vietnam to save Australian troops.

Australia has honoured the veterans, but New Zealand is yet to do so.