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.