Extract from an interview with Paul Diamond, 8 August 2007
Reproduced with permission of Father John Carde
You're not pursuing enemy, you're lying in wait, as they're lying in wait, nobody's actively aggressive, you almost stumble upon, or are stumbled upon. The big thing that I subsequently heard, although I didn't know it at the time, they could smell us, because we were meat eaters, yeah, and they were mostly vegetarians.
And that affects the way people smell?
Amazing! Because I'd read about the not showering and the not having perfume or anything that would make you smell...
And I've heard it was being in that warm, wet environment, things like Tinea were a real nuisance. Was that a problem?
Yeah, well you're really warm. I used to have two change of clothes that I tried to sleep in at night that were clean, but then I put these wet, grungy things on the next day. I mean, three weeks in the jungle...you could smell us a mile off really... (laughs)
Did you come across leeches?
And that would have been the first time. Had you ever seen those before?
And what are they like?
Well, they sort of go like a staple, and you get them on your testicles, and you know about it, I can tell you. You burn them off with a cigarette.
That's because you're not supposed to pull them off, are you?
No. So I first got my leeches in around my balls and that in Malaya, we were going through a swamp, (laughs) I remember that. Up to your waists, yes. You used to wonder, really, what I was doing out there sometimes.
Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage