My unit SVN was the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment
[RAR], I was in Support Coy, Anti-Tank Platoon. Fully trained in the art of killing tanks [106 recoiless rifles, karl gustave
etc], they had no real use for us in the jungle. Needless to say our mob had a varied commitment to the eradication of the
enemy. Setting up Fire Support Bases, patrol, ambush, patrol, ambush, protection for Engineers, building laterines, you all
know the story.
Anyway here we are just over the border of Phuoc Tuy
Providence plodding through the J when i took a radio message , one of our rifle companies was in heavy contact nearby and the
Yanks were there copping shit as well.
They decided to use my platoon as a blocking force, by
this time we were in elephant grass about 8 foot tall, sitting and waiting for the APC's to move us in closer to the fight
but that was ok by us. Next minute we here the roar of six G.M diesels, amazing how close they sound when they aren't.
By this time the arsehole is twitching and all you
can hear is the scream of GM,s but you can't see anything which was the problem. The troop commader said, "throw smoke!" As everyone had smoke canisters, you can guess the final result.
Over the radio came, "I see a rainbow would that be you
guys?" Everything was thrown except W.P . We all had a good laugh later. Some people have a strange sense of humour!
Funny thing about a conflict (we werent at war
?) you would spend 6-8 weeks patroling when the Army would be gracious enough to give you a little bit of leave . This
meant two days in Vung-Tau and back to the Badcoe Club. Well curfew was a challenge to start with - You blokes know what i
mean, buy the odd Siagon Tea, drink plenty of what ever you could get your hands on sorta thing. Actually don't need to say
anymore of this because we all remember it well.
The AustralianTask Force had a permanent Fire Support
Base called the Horse Shoe, it was a horse shoe shapped mountain (us grunts are pretty smart with names). It had all the good
shit, Tanks, 50 cal, Artillary, even an outdoor picture theater. It was one of those places where if you were close by you
would call in and change your clothes, have a shit, shave, shower, then f**k off again.
We had been there a couple of days (no idea why as grunts
are not told any important things like where we are going, how many of the opposition, we didn't have to know that.
All these rules and regulations made up by someone sleeping in a safe bed every night, makes you wonder doesnt it ?
Back to the story. Here we are at the Horseshoe, due
to go back out in the J next day when the platoon SGT comes to the lines.
"Lots of joy boys, ambush tonite" Our section won the
short straw and it was a very short straw. In the briefing we where told that "somewere out where we are heading" are ARVN
and local CADRE, but WE are not sure where.
I think i was the first to voice my opinion on the hazards
of walking through a minefield and ambushing an area that has locals doing the job.
We refused to go out that night and the SGT who
was standing with us on this, was busted to CPL . Macka had confidence in us, as we him but unfortunately brass on a shoulder
and 3 chevrons on a sleeve counts more than brains.
Nothing was ever said about this night and makes
you wonder who was at fault?
In '71 we has this platoon commander who seemed to think
that he was Audy Murphy and he loved to get up in a helicopter hanging out the side with his M16. Any contact from fire
support base and there he was, up in the air in a bell chopper doing his bullshit, being a hero, trying to get a kill.
Anyway aaahhh he got shot down, there was a bit of shit
happening and we had apc's with mortar platoon in the area and a mate of mine who happened to be there told me, not gospel
of course lol, that he heard the boss had gone down as they were right then bugging out and no one was doing a damn thing
about it, no one gave a shit , f**k him.
Then they remembered suddenly the poor chopper pilot
and off they went to go rescue the fellas, unfortunately they had to save the CO at the same time, bringing both back to safety.
Later on, the same platoon was sent to recover the helicopter
shot down and found that a 7.62 millimeter round had bought it down.
Nogs dont use 7.62
How popular was the boss?
Once upon a time, while we were
setting up a Fire Support Base in a happy little country called Viet-Nam, I was volunteered to set up a latrine. This was
no ordinary dunny mind you but an eight holer and for such a project they needed someone who new shit (i was the man).
Myself and a colleague did a recce and
found a spot, perfect . The F.S.B. itself was sited on a small hill so the site i selected was an estate agents dream,
once you got passed the rows of barbed wire, claymoor mines, flares and lots of other nasties. It was the beautiful
green jungle of S.V.N. nothing for miles but green green green.
Back to the story, managed to borrow a
backhoe from the engineers, dug the trench, lined all the tin thunder boxes up regimentaly exactly 2ft apart and straight
as a die. It was the Taj Mahl of crappers, had the lot - open air , beautiful scenery , M60 machine-gun close
Well once a week to keep the blowflies
in you would throw some diesel down the hole and burn it. This particular day there was no diesel to spare but I
damn wasn't gunna let no blowfly beet me so up to the chopper pad borrowing 20 lts of aviation fuel "beauty
I poured in the fuel, dropped in the electric
detonator, "Stand clear, fire in the hole". BANG
I managed to destroy the latrines, cover everything
in shit in a 200 ft circle and everyone in the F.S.B. had to stand to as the bosses thought the noggies were attacking
- and lots more of military protocol as you would imagine.
No one put me on dunny patrol again.
A little bit of light hearted crap amongst alot
Twice a day Chicken man was broadcasted on AFR
Everyone was working doing something or another, depending on their job and suddenly someone would yell out "brrrrrrrk brrrrk
chicken man" Everyone would stop, down tools and grab their transistor 6 radios and listen to chicken man.
Amazing to find a little bit of light heartedness in
the middle of the j with all these hard corp weary troops listening to 30 secs of some yankie shit but it made our day.
Either me or Jimmy Merrin when we were at the firebase
we would keep it going and do the chicken man call of the wonderful winged warrior and really get the boys going
Everyone loved that programme and all vets would know
the cry "He's Everywhere, he's everywhere - Chicken man" Tell me if you dont.