Early on in my tour, we had quite a large platoon ambush in which we killed a number of enemy – my role was to clear the kill area and search the bodies.
The young fellow who was the first one I checked was obviously very dead, and when I looked at his wallet I saw that like me he was a corporal, and a married man with three children.
That had an effect on me for some time – it still does. In my mind that was me lying there.
The risk of being there (in Vietnam) really hit home, and when I look back and reflect on it I realise how lucky I was to make it home.Bill Walker, V3 Company
Another outstanding memory for me is from the time we were in a patrol up by Bien Hoa. My best mate Bill Perry was a section commander on the same platoon – he was a nosey, inquiring bugger – and he found a buried mine, and then another, understanding that the Viet Cong used to lay mines in groups of three – but we couldn't find the third. So we called in a helicopter with an assault pioneer on board, and the next day he turned up with a mine detector.
We took him back to the area we had been searching, and the mine detector started to beep! beep! beep! – we had been standing right on top of the third mine – 25 pounds of TNT. Six or seven of us had been standing on that very spot the day before at the junction of two tracks, including the company platoon commander and two section commanders.
When we were over the shock, I asked Dave Cormack our platoon commander ‘what would have set the thing off?' He said "anything" – but this time, for some reason it hadn't gone off. If it had it could have easily taken out 20 of us.
It was pure luck that this time the device hadn't been reliable.