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Vietnam to Australia

A former Special Air Service Regiment soldier who lost a leg saving a fellow parachutist has left on a 10,000km bike ride from Hanoi to Sydney to raise money for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries.

Laurie ‘Truck’ Sams, 67, who served with the SAS in Vietnam before losing his left leg in a parachute accident, will take six months to complete the epic ride through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and across Australia.

Mr Sams will leave the Australian Embassy in Hanoi carrying an Australian flag he plans to present to the Australian War Memorial at 11am on Friday, November 11 to mark Remembrance Day 2016 before cycling on to Sydney and a welcome on the steps of Sydney Opera House on Sunday, November 20.

A world champion parachutist, Mr Sams was awarded the Star of Courage for the parachute incident in 1995. After learning to walk with a prosthetic leg he led two trekking expeditions along the 315km Thai section of the notorious Thai Burma Railway and has completed a series of charity bike rides around Asia.

He said he set his sights on “the big ride” to Australia as a friendship initiative between Australia and Asia and to support injured veterans.

“I’m blown away at the number of vets suffering from PTSD and other injuries, not just from Vietnam but all the conflicts we have been involved in before and since,” he said.

“My dad Bill was a prisoner on the Thai-Burma Railway in World War 2 and I lost mates in Vietnam. Many other mates are still suffering terribly, and I want to use the ride to raise money for their treatment and really shine a spotlight on their problems.”

The ride will pass through the paddy fields and dense jungle of Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh City before striking west through Cambodia and Thailand and skirting the Gulf of Thailand south to Malaysia and Singapore, where the team will catch a flight to Perth for the arduous trans-Nullarbor to Adelaide then on to Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

“We’re hoping to really interact with locals along the route, especially in smaller communities like Katanning, Ravensthorpe and Esperance in the West, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Murray Bridge in South Australia, Horsham, Ballarat and Wangaratta and Wodonga in Victoria and Albury, Goulburn and Bowral n NSW, Mr Sams said.


Sir Peter Cosgrove AK AC (Mil) CVO MC (Retd)

General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK AC (Mil) CVO MC (Retd) has succeeded the late Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC as Honorary Patron of The Long Road Home.


Like MAJGEN Jeffery, Sir Peter is a past Governor-General of Australia. He was

Knighted on becoming G-G in 2014 and was further honoured as a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by Her Majesty the Queen after his

retirement in 2019.


Sir Peter is widely known for his earlier career in the Australian Defence Force –

serving in Malaysia and Vietnam before coming to greater public

prominence as Commander of INTERFET in East Timor, Chief of the

Australian Defence Force from 2002-2005 and head of the Task Force set

up to help rebuild communities in Queensland after Cyclone Larry in



On his retirement Sir Peter went on to serve on several corporate boards before becoming Governor-General.

Founding Patron

The Long Road Home team wishes to pay our deepest respects to the memory of its founding patron, Major General Michael Jeffery AC, AO(Mil), CVO, MC (Retd).

MAJGEN Jeffery died after a short illness on December 18, 2020, four years after accepting an invitation to take up the honorary role.



Former warrant officer with the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR). Truck served in Vietnam and has 21 years’ service in the Australian Defence Force.


Star of Courage (Civilian Award), Australian Active Service medal clasp Vietnam War, The Vietnam Medal, Australian Service Medal 1942-75 for service in Papua New Guinea, Australian Service Medal 1975 Clasp SE Asia, Australian Sporting Medal (Civilian Honour and Award), Australian Services Defence Medal (for 21 years’ service), Australian Defence Medal, The Vietnamese Campaign Medal and The Infantry Combat Badge.

Skydiving and Parachuting Achievements

Laurie was team leader for the Army Parachute Team (Red Berets) and member of United States Army Parachute Demonstration & Competition Team (The Golden Knights) and inducted into their Hall of Fame and was a member of The United States Navy Parachute Team. Truck has completed 5,645 parachute jumps, was a World Championship Bronze Medallist, 11 times Australian Parachute Champion and an Australian Team member at six World Parachuting Championships including being Team Captain. Truck was a member of the International Seoul Olympic Skydiving Exhibition Team (SOSET) that jumped into the Seoul Olympic Stadium as part of the opening ceremony in 1988. Truck became an amputee losing his leg saving the life of a civilian for which he was awarded the Star of Courage.

Remembrance Expeditions and Rides

In 2005 under the patronage of the then Governor General of Australia His Excellency Major General The Honourable Mike Jeffery AC, AO (mil), CVO, MC (retd). Laurie led another successful expedition along the Thai Burma Death Railway taking two former SAS soldiers.

In 2002 under the patronage of the then Defence Minister, later Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mohamad Mahatir Laurie led an expedition of three Trekkers to:

1. retrace his father’s* footsteps from along the full length of the death railway (315 Kms) Thailand side.

2. pay homage to all POWs and Asian labourers who died building the death railway.

3. honour those POWs still living.

4. find missing Malaysian ( for the Malaysian government ) who were never repatriated home after the war.

5. report on the journey via local media, world press and television news on the expedition.

*Laurie’s father Private William Sams (deceased) served with the Australian Infantry (2/26 Battalion) in Malaya and became a prisoner of war (POW) after being captured shortly after the fall of Singapore. He later was sent to work on the infamous Thai Burma Death Railway.

By 2014 Laurie had ridden 12,000 kms of Vietnam visiting major battle sites of the American and Australians; Long Tan, Khe Sanh, Ashau Valley, Hamburger Hill, full length of the central Highland along the Ho Chi Minh trail, Son Tay, the complete area of the Mekong Delta, and Da Nang through to the highlands along the Ho Chi Minh trail crossing the 17 parallel (during the war) to the French and Viet Minh battlefield of Dien Bien Phu (4 times) which was the deciding battle that ended 100 years of French rule. He has already completed cycling (as an amputee) from the North (Chiang Mai) to the South (Phuket) 2,400 Kms in 23 days to raise money for operation smile and the blind society of Thailand.


Wayne Larkin

Wayne is a marketer and championship parachutist with more than 38 years’ experience in marketing and advertising. His Visual Design Group (www.visualdesigngroup.com) provided marketing and advertising services for the likes of BHP, Brambles Industries, CRA, Fairfax Media Group, WIN TV, Department of Defence as well as Federal, State and Local Governments.

Winner of 28 International and National Awards for Marketing, Advertising and Design Wayne is also a skier, ice skater, mountain climber, caver and parachutist, having completed more than 3000 jumps and represented Australia internationally and on demonstration descents with Laurie Sams.

Troy Lockyer

Troy is an SAS veteran with 19 years in the Australian military and deployments to Somalia, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Afghanistan and Iraq before leaving to become a security consultant in South-East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, USA, South America, and the Pacific.

Troy formed his company, Lockforce Consultancy International Pty Ltd (www.lockforce.com.au) in 2006 to provide maritime security services, response management services, auditing and compliance and specialised training services to the mining, oil and gas and energy industries. Clients include the largest mining and oil and gas clients in the region.

Noel Rath

Noel’s career in electronics, information technology and information management industry spanned 45 years with 30 years in sales and marketing. In 1972 he started parachuting and represented Australia in two World Championships in Freefall Formation Skydiving and received an Australian Sports Medal 2000 in recognition for his contribution to the sport. His fit and active life included running, bushwalking, swimming, surfing and rifle shooting. He has four children and now has many grandchildren. At age 62 he writes, swims and does model flying.

Bill Gray

As a National Serviceman, Bill served with 1 and 2 SAS Squadrons in Vietnam before returning to journalism with The Age, ABC, Nine Network and Herald & Weekly Times group, where he worked as a foreign correspondent based in London covering UK-Europe and Singapore covering South East Asia.

Bill left journalism to take over the PR role at the Australian Tourist Commission during the Paul Hogan era before leaving in 1993 to set up Sydney-based MG Media Communications (www.mgmedia.com.au), an award winning PR consultancy specialising in travel, tourism and lifestyle.

Jeff Beach

Jeff’s Warburton-based company Bigdog Software (www.bigdogsoftware.com.au) is an independent software development and integration consultancy specialising in internet and database development, network implementation, application training, data entry, and system auditing.

Deane Pye

Deane is a retired Army Major currently living in Adelaide. He spent 26 years in the Army with 14 being spent in the Special Air Service Regiment, Commando’s and the US Navy Seal Team 1. On leaving the Army Deane had various employment including Private Secretary to the Governor of Western Australia, Protocol Officer for the City of Perth and Functions and Bash Manager for the WA Variety Club

Dr Garry Newman PhD

Born Wangaratta Victoria, educated Tallangatta Victoria, primary and secondary, enlisted in the army straight out of school, served in infantry, armour and the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR), climbing and freefall troop, HQ, Support Squadron, Training Aids, discharged 1980, northern territory police 1980 to 1984, retired ill health injury, attended La Trobe University Bendigo, BA (social science, majored in economics, politics, anthropology and development studies, Honours at Deakin University B.Lett (Hons), University of the Southern Philippines PhD.

Worked from 1989 for International Pharmacticals based in the Philippines and other large multinational companies in the Philippines, travelled to Australia, New Zealand and the world with the Philippine Business delegation in 1995 with President Ramos. Returned to Australia in 1996, since then has been semi-retired and is on a few Boards in Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines.

Terry Barker

Terry spent 24 years in the RAAF from 1970, initially serving as a pilot on the C-47 Dakota with the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU). Subsequent postings were with 35 and 38 Squadrons flying the DHC-4 Caribou throughout Australia and Papua New Guinea, and with 36 and 37 Squadrons flying the C-130 Hercules on domestic and international tasks. Operational roles on the Hercules spanned humanitarian missions in Vietnam immediately prior to the withdrawal from Saigon in 1975, to supporting Australia’s participation in the Gulf War in 1991.

Terry also earned his military parachute wings and military freefall qualification in 1981, before completing two postings with the Army Parachute Training School.

After leaving the Air Force, Terry joined the Public Service within the Defence Materiel Organisation in Canberra, working with Australian industry and overseas manufacturers in support of major Defence acquisition projects, before retiring in 2014.

Giles Beresford-Peirse

Giles has 24 years of Military and Security Industry experience. He spent time as a member of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SAS). He spent four years residing in South America developing and operating security systems for the mining industry. He has worked extensively throughout the Middle East, including running security for the UN in the southern region of Afghanistan as their Regional Security Officer. He has comprehensive experience in security function auditing and security threat and risk assessments for various industries including Marine/Land Oil and Mineral, Logistics, Executive Protection.

Matthew Brown

Matt has over 21 years military experience, including service in the Australian Special Forces (SAS) and has operated and consulted in southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, North America and the Pacific region. Matt has also had over two years’ experience in the capacity of Australian Government security, in the role of Maritime Security Liaison Officer (MSLO). He performed the roles of a counter terrorist tactical team leader and a Special Forces patrol commander whilst on operations in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Matt is Operations Director at Lockforce Consultancy International Pty Ltd and extensive knowledge of maritime and land based security, plus vast experience in Emergency and Crisis management.

Mathew Jones

Mat has 11 years military experience which includes service in the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) with deployments to East Timor, Solomon Islands, Afghanistan and Iraq. After leaving the Australian Military, Mat worked for two years as a Team leader for a Personal Security Detail (PSD) in Iraq with International Aid organisations for the reconstruction of Iraq. Mat then moved into consulting in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific region.

Mat is the Director of Audit and Compliance for Lockforce Consultancy International Pty Ltd and has extensive knowledge in business continuity, crisis and emergency management, HSE compliance and management system development. Gaining formal academic qualifications in Security and Business Continuity.