I served with 161 Battery RNZA, from March 1968 to March 1969. I was battery surveyor in the command post during the battles of Coral and Balmoral. I was subsequently detached to a Forward Observer (FO) party with D Coy 3 RAR and then 9 RAR. The others in the FO party were Rod Baldwin (FO) and Mayne Manson and Peter Christian (Sigs). During the handover of battalions our FO party spent 3 weeks attached on liaison duties with H Battery 11 Armoured Cavalry Regiment (US) at Blackhorse.
Military service is a tradition in my family, as it is with many families in New Zealand and Australia. My grandfather, Jack Ropata, served at Gallipoli with the first A Company of the First Maori Contingent. My father went away with the First Echelon in WW2. He served with the 1st Div Ammunition Company as a motorcycle despatch rider in the desert campaign and Greece. I had two half brothers (from my mothers first marriage) who served in the Korean War. One served with 16 Field Regiment RNZA and the other with the Australian 3rd Battalion, which meant that in Vietnam I served with the two units from different countries that my brothers had served with in the Korean War