The Vietnam Veterans Mine Clearing Team, Cambodia-Inc. Was founded by Mr. Tony Bower-Miles. (Bomber)
Tony was born in Maryborough, Queensland on 31 December 1949, and when in his late teens decided upon a career in the Royal Australian Army. In the Army, Tony became a field engineer specializing in explosives and demolition. Tony served in Vietnam and continued with the Army, eventually rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
After leaving the Army on medical grounds, Tony worked with explosives in the mining and civil construction industries. During his work in these special fields Tony earned the nickname “ Bomber” . This nickname stuck with him for the rest of his life.
In 2001, Bomber, because of his involvement in tragic mine incidents during his Army tour of Vietnam decided to help with mine clearing in a very heavily infested South-east Asian country – Cambodia. He managed to raise enough money, running chook raffles and the like, to purchase one mine detector from an Australian company called Minelab.
Bomber, in 2002, travelled to Cambodia with his mine detector, fortuitously meeting a Cambodian man named Akira. Akira a veteran of many conflicts during the infamous rise of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge had formed and was operating a small land mine clearing team based in the town of Siem Reap. His team of Cambodian de-miners cleared land mines and unexploded ordinance (UXO) in rural areas. They located these dangerous devices using probes and small digging implements, no mine detectors at all !!! Akira had been known by a number of names but settled on Akira, Japanese for “Bright”. Bomber and Akira had similar goals, so Bomber gave Akira his first mine detector. With Bombers support Akiras team grew and Akira decided to call his expanded group Cambodian Self Help De-mining, (CSHD).
Bomber also decided to register in Australia his humanitarian activities in Cambodia and formed the Vietnam Veterans Mine Clearing Team Cambodia – Inc. (VVMCT). The active component of this team comprised Bomber, (Preident), Gerry Lyall, OAM (Secretary/Treasurer) and Robroy MacGregor Esq. MAC (Assistant Secretary/Treasurer).
Since these early beginnings CSHD, with VVMCT and others support, has grown to a team of twenty-eight deminers. We also have two independent Explosive Ordinance Devices (EOD) units which provide rapid response to problems. These EOD teams also work in conjunction with local village officials to educate and make people, particularly children, aware of the dangers inherent in the explosive devices in their area.
Sadly Bomber passed away earlier this year. Gerry Lyall, because of ill health, disassociated himself from VVMCT activities. Robroy MacGregor (MAC) and his new Team are continuing to promote Bombers and Akiras philosophy and plans with regard to land mine and EOD clearance in Cambodia.
There are in Cambodia literally hundreds of thousands of landmines and EOD's still to be cleared. VVMCT intends to be there at completion, making Cambodian rural land safe for the farmer and their families.