Long Tan veterans vow to boycott a ceremony to present Delta Company with a Unit Citation for Gallantry Ian McPhedran From: The Courier-Mail March 10, 2011 12:00AM HONOURED: Harry Smith (right) is joined by VC recipients Keith Payne and Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith at Maryborough. Picture: John Wilson Source: The Courier-Mail ANGRY veterans of the battle of Long Tan are on a collision course with the army, vowing to boycott a ceremony to present Delta Company's Unit Citation for Gallantry almost 45 years after the battle. Company commander Harry Smith received his belated Star of Gallantry at Maryborough yesterday after a 15-year struggle for justice and due recognition for his men and the artillery and armoured vehicle crews who saved the day. The Unit Citation was awarded to D Company in 2009 and should have been presented by Governor-General Quentin Bryce, who had invited all Long Tan honours recipients to Government House in Canberra last August. But army chiefs derailed the vice-regal plan, insisting the citation be presented to Delta Company and 6RAR at the battalion's Enoggera Barracks base in Brisbane to mark Long Tan Day on August 18 this year. Mr Smith said the citation should have been presented to his company as soon as possible after approval in October 2009. D Company was awarded the US Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in 1968. The awards saga has been going for more than 40 years after senior commanders on the ground used a ridiculous quota system to downgrade awards to the men who actually fought the battle. Mr Smith said one file portrayed the commanding officer of 6RAR, Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Townsend, as being in command of the battle. It said that "his personal presence and calm control inspired confidence in all ranks and enabled the battalion to inflict an overwhelming defeat on the enemy". "Strange, but the CO was not there until the enemy had withdrawn," Mr Smith said. Former Delta Company sergeant Bob Buick said that he and many others would boycott the Brisbane ceremony. He said the presentation should be made to the company by the Governor-General at the Vietnam Memorial in Canberra where she will be on August 18. Mr Smith said that without an invitation from Ms Bryce he would celebrate Long Tan Day at Cairns RSL, if he wasn't out fishing for coral trout.