Operations in Viet Nam were usually of four to six week duration and were conducted in all weathers and all terrain. Hot and dry November to May and hot and wet May to November. It's hard to portray the scene but add little guys in black with AK47s, RPGs, jungle, hills, swamps, paddy fields, and danger and you will sort of get the picture.

We were always conscious of making noise in the bush and a mess tin banged sounded like Big Bens chimes, the Boss always said it wasn't the noise of the mess tin, as much as the expletive uttered afterwards that was the noisiest part.

 

Ops Up Top

Out on ops for up to six weeks
Climbing the hills and crossing the creeks

For so many metres on such and such bearing
The dry and the wet sure made it wearing

Stopping for smokes and to harbour at night
Restlessly sleeping and awaiting the light

Cursing the leeches and slapping the mossies
Waiting for maintdems flown in by Aussies

Reading our mail with our milk and a bun
Two hours sentry in a pit in the sun

O groups at night and news for the boys
Well founded warnings about too much noise

The telling of stories or reading a book
Brewing and finding good things to cook

The writing of letters or composing of poems
Dreaming of people and our faraway homes

That's what happened when we went on an op
That's what happened when we were up top

 

Peter M. Anderson, W3 Coy, 1969-70

Read more about Peter Anderson's Vietnam experience here.

Reference: 

Copyright Peter M. Anderson. Not to be published or reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder.

How to cite this page: 'Ops Up Top - Poem', URL: http://www.vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/ops-up-top-poem, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 29-Apr-2011

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