Vietnam war

Not Sick – Just Broken

Late September 1971. It had now been almost four days since I had been choppered into the 1st Australian Field Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds to my left shoulder. I was in a ward with two dozen other men from the 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, most of who had shrapnel wounds from enemy mortars or rocket propelled grenades. We didn’t know it then but we had been in the last major engagement by Australian forces in South Viet Nam. Our combat troops would be home by Christmas 1971.

On Being Shot

In late September 1971 I was a 23 year-old rifle platoon commander in Delta Company of the 4th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. We were in South Viet Nam and on operations in the north of Phuoc Tuy Province searching for and hoping to destroy our enemy; the highly trained, strictly disciplined and deeply motivated soldiers from the North Vietnamese Army’s 33rd Regiment. These guys were no pushovers and as we had found out earlier in the month, if they thought they had a chance of winning a firefight they would hang around and have a crack.