I was a young infantry soldier who served with Col.Brook's battalion in Malay 1967. I went to Vietnam as a L/cpl in John Hall's Company V3. I was in the little red one, 1 platoon, first under the command of Lt M Dobson and then Lt John Webb, Gentleman John. our platoon Sergeant was John Sanford and our MFC (Mortor Fire Controller) was the legendary Larry Southern. Our section commanders were the great Sam Christie, Leo Rogatski (who should have been NZ Minister of Finance (For ever) and Junior Manihera. We had a great tour and we very successful in the field, fighting against the well trained and experienced enemy. The secret to our success was that the team were always very happy, always laughing and getting up to mischief. For instance when our mischief making got to much for our Aussie mates and they put us on the dry, "no two cans of beer anymore" we used to get 2 cans per man per night whilst in the base, well when our aussie mates put us on the dry.. our still sprung into action and we swapped the home brew for cans of aussie beer.. the result was the more we were put on the dry, the more drunk we got. We cooked the best bread in the camp. We shot and killed more enemy soldiers, found more rice and goodies and had more fun than our other m8s in the other platoons.
It was a special time in all our lives and the people we served with are remembered with great affection.. they became brothers.. we are a Band of brothers, with our Aussie m8s, our American brothers and the Koreans (special friends) and all the others.. even now our Vietnamese friends, from both sides, especially those wonderfull Vietnamese folk in Melbourne and our forner enemy in the present day Vietnam.
I am not sorry I served. I am proud I served my Country (and my town, Waiuku/Pukekohe) even thou I now live in Australia.. I remember my friends and especialy those who were killed, Mike and Don, those who have passed since and those who still live on. I am not into reunions but cherish my friends.
I also suffer from the dreaded effects of Agent Orange and this will ultimatly kill me but as that great aussie Ned Kelly said "Such is life."
I salute all my fellow veterans, whoever and wherever you are.. and especially our new veterans from our modern conflicts, who have made us old boys so proud..