THIS IS A PAGE OF POEMS FROM VETERANS & FORMER SERVICE MEN & WOMEN.
All the poems on this page were either sent to the Webmaster or permission was sought to use on this page, so that means they are all Copyright to the author's, unless the poem is marked ~Author Unknown~.
If a poem is of interest I would expect other webmaster's to have the courtesy to ask me if they can use any poems from this site. If poems are found on other websites and permission has not been sought, legal action will be taken by both the author and webmaster.
The Final Inspection
The soldier stood and faced his
Which must always come to pass,
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
The soldier squared his shoulders,
and said: "No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I wept unmanly tears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
(It needn't be real grand,
I've never expected, or had too much),
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was a silence around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod,
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well,
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
CAVALRY MEN VIET NAM
Remember the Cavalry men standing tall
It was the call to arms that awaited them all
Fine young men, Aussie's all
With a love of their flag, country and Corp
Black Berets always worn
Silver buttons did adorn
Their noble steeds were not of flesh
But of castings made to mesh
With tracks instead of hoofs these carriers could run
Crews at one with an APC and its guns
Their hands were firm and hearts true
The Cavalry men that rode within
Part of the legend, Scorpions that sting
The enemy new the apocalypse would fall
Cavalry men were ready when an enemy�s bugle called
Fear controlled by a job to be done
One with their mates, all in for one
Memories have faded with time gone by
Never let the truth be questioned or tried
Young men too brave to worry that they could fall
Sadly, some courageously, gave it all.
Mothers know that their fallen sons past every test
Their boys rode with courage and a heart full of zest
History must show that these were not boys
But Anzac men, best of the best
When the sun sets and the day comes to rest
Old Cavalry men will remember when they served with the best
And of friends and foe brave souls all
They will never forget mates at rest
But the Cavalry man no matter the age
Will always remember in awe, when he hears that familiar roar
Of his beast and its heart of steel and strength in its very core
And an old mans love still rides within, as it always will be one with him
So let it be known far and wide
That with pride and unshameful heart
The Cavalry man, will never forget his part
William S Bone 26 March 2008
I have a special place I go
Whenever I feel all alone
A very special place
That I can call my own
IT stops me feeling lonely
Away from the fear and dread
A place that makes me feel in control
If only in my head
THIS place is a very big rock
At least in my mind
Where I can go and be with friends
That I knew once upon a time
SOME times when I am in there
The door will stay ajar
Just enough to still feel safe
And insulated from the world afar
AT times people think I'm crazy
When they look upon my face
But then they just assume
That I'm in my own space
TO let them in would be tragic
For they couldn't understand
The Demons that I am fighting still
From long ago in a far off land
THE WAR that we were fighting
That left so many DEAD
Still rages deep inside me
Its really messed up my head
I hope that the WAR I am fighting
Will one day come to an end
And I can just live in PEACE
With the understanding of when
I meet up with fellow WARRIORS
Beyond the Pearly Gates
And once again be where I belong
Surrounded by my MATES
Copyright 2008. Phil Kadow.
I have an image in my memory
That hasn't dimmed through out the years
It's with me when I'm happy
And when I'm filled with tears
IT'S a moment running in slow motion
With each part a joining link
That I could clearly remember
From my days before the WAR
THE explosive was called Chaicom
With its very distinctive signature
Of black smoke and sweet aroma
That stood out on that fateful day
THAT day was Easter Monday
The 23rd of March 1970
When I heard the bang, saw the smoke
Then smelled the unmistakable aroma
THE engine was still idling in gear
Whilst my car lay there on its side
And amongst the instant confusion
I thought some one had surely died
IT wasn't until later
Once the Dust-off had touch down
That I learned of my mates
They had been strewn across the ground
OUR injuries were all minor
We were lucky if the truth be known
Because during the whole situation
We were never left alone
WHEN I came back to the section
On Easter Sunday morn
We all carried on as usual
For the job was still to be done
I don't remember saying Thank You
To my mates after that fateful day
For they went about their business
As we had the week before
NOW I would like to thank them
From the bottom of my heart
For with out their courage and mate ship
I wouldn't be here for this poem to start
Copyright 2008 Phil Kadow.
"CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN"
I was that which others
did not want to be.
I went where others feared to go, and did what others failed to do.
I asked nothing from those who gave nothing, and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness... should I fail.
I have seen the face of terror; felt the stinging cold of fear; and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moment's love.
I have cried, pained, and hoped... but most of all, I have lived times others would say were best forgotten.
At least someday I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was... a soldier.
"SOLDIER" By GEORGE L. SKYPECK, Reg US Trademark, Copyright 1978, All Rights Reserved.
This poem may not be used by anyone without the express prior written permission of Mr. Skypeck, which this website had requested & received in 2000.
A Digger watches the last of the Huey slicks from the RAAF's 9 Squadron arrive at the LZ near the seaside village of Lang Phuoc Hai where A Coy, 6 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) were being inserted at the start of Operation Mundingburra. Their task was to clear the district of suspected elements of D445 Battalion, Viet Cong, the same opponents that D Coy, 6 RAR had battled three years earlier in the Michelin rubber plantations near Long Tan.
During the subsequent Battalion clearance of AO West End on the Long Hai peninsula, in a region known as the Light Green, A Coy soldiers were injured by a mine the same day mankind stepped on the moon."
Conway Brown's website of Independent Productions and Aviation Services is at this site http://www.ipas.com.au
Was the character
of my valour less intense than those at BEERSHEBA ?
Was the pain of my wounds any less Severe than those at GALLIPOLI?
And, was my loneliness any less sorrowful Than those at TOBRUK?
Then why am I forgotten amongst those Remembered as heroes?
George L Skypeck
This poem may not be used by anyone without the express prior written permission of Mr. Skypeck, which this website had requested & received in 2000.
In a Centurion romping
She may be old but she's going strong
I'm enjoying the scenery, chasing the Cong
A scream from the Commander
What's this I hear???
Strike me pink
We've been shot in the rear.
The petrol went up with a terrible
The gunner climbed out over the
We scurried for cover
And cringed in fear
Centurions don't like
Being shot in the rear.
Old Gus had been an R P
A father figure to me
Then some silly bastard
Put him in charge of an APC
No-one had told him, I'm quite sincere
That a fifty will put a hole
In a Centurion's rear.
The hit was put down to a R.P.G.
But no-one disputed it came from
I hope now when he's driving around
In his old rocket
A copper comes along and kicks him
Right in the sprocket.
Did you ever have a good mate, one who
Yes, I guess you did, and I had one too.
Always together, we were closer than brothers,
Real good mates, we were attuned to each other.
Down on your luck, he'd share his last quid.
No questions asked, it was just what he did.
In troubles and triumphs, he'd be by my side,
Our mateship was something in which he took pride.
Out in the scrub, no chance of resupply,
So on your mate, you had to rely.
Without hesitation he'd share his last smoke,
Not even a quibble, he was that sort of bloke.
I remember the time in the bush, I got real sick,
But I knew that my mate, by me would stick.
The weather closed in, no dustoff in sight,
He tended my needs through the long dark night.
He did his gun picquet then did mine too.
When morning's light came he made me a brew.
Then he cleaned up our site without further ado,
Just said, "Take it easy mate, I'll see us through."
One day we were parted, sent different ways,
Not of our choosing, just the game fate often plays.
Typical of the Army, it did this sort of thing,
Never thinking of the hardship or sorrow it can bring.
I saw him much later, but the years had left their mark.
It seemed to me, he was stumbling in the dark.
I reached out to him to help pull him through,,
He just smiled, said "It's ok mate, you've had your hell too."
He drank his beer and talked about fate.
I wanted to help him 'cos he was my mate.
I guess life got too much, he gave up the race.
Disappeared one day, not leaving a trace.
To this day I miss him, my best mate,
And sometimes I curse this thing called fate.
It brought us together, then pulled us apart,
And the sorrow I feel, still drags at my heart.
Where is he now I often wonder,
Somewhere in this big land down under.
Wherever you are mate wherever you roam,
As long as I live you've still got a home.
Dedicated to mateship and all those
who shared it with me, especially Mick.
Copyright � 6 July 1998 Lee O'Neill
THE WALL AROUND US
We were young and
carefree way back then,
For excitement and adventure we had a great yen.
Ready to answer our country's call,
For freedom's sake we would give our all.
Fighting 'gainst tyranny in any shape or form,
The call to arms, was for us the norm.
We upheld the tradition of our forefathers so proud,
But when we returned, we were shunned by the crowd.
For us there was no welcome home.
We were shut out and left all alone.
Our country abandoned us and let us fall.
So around us we built a bloody great wall.
Some made of stone, some made of steel.
Athough you can't see them, to us they're quite real.
We thought the enemy was in a faraway place,
A soldier like us, one we could face.
But when we came home to familiar ground,
We found the real foe was all around.
The horrors we went through, we could never share,
Nobody would listen, they just didn't care.
So we shut down our feelings and built a great wall,
To hide our emotions and fears from all.
Yes we built a great wall all around us,
To keep back the foe who surround us.
They forgot it was they who sent us, but we never will.
So we built a wall around us and for many it remains there still.
Copyright � 25th June 1998 Lee O'Neill
He went off to war
and left you waiting here,
With the heartaches, the worries, the pain and the fear.
Not knowing if you would ever see him again,
You stood bravely as he boarded his plane.
You held him close as you said your goodbyes,
Then averted your face to hide the pain in your eyes.
You returned back home with heart of lead.
Not wanting to face that cold empty bed,
Where, in his arms you used to sleep.
Then you broke down and began to weep.
You anxiously waited for the postman to come,
With that letter from your dearest loved one.
Waiting each day, slowly going insane,
Wanting his arms to hold you again.
All through that wait, you endured the pain,
Hoping 'gainst hope that it wasn't in vain.
Finally he returns and is safe at home,
Promising you never more will he roam.
Back in your arms and safe at last,
That awful waiting is now in the past.
Now the waiting is over but the memories remain,
And every so often they haunt you again.
All you who waited, stand tall, walk proud,
You too are heroes, standing out from the crowd.
You stayed faithful, loyal and true,
So here is my tribute, just to you.
For my dear friend
T Shooters and all who like her endured the agony of waiting for their
man to come home from war.
Copyright 28th July 1998 Lee O'Neill
I'm in the Royal Australian Regiment
To the Jungles I was sent
Kill or be killed was our aim
Many a Digger found much pain
Through the bloody jungles I was walkin
Should have been at home, doin some porkin
I left my lovely wife, for 12 months
That makes me a bit of a dunce!
Waitin, Waitin for the attack
Get your head down, here's the flack
Our Family welcomed with open arms
The rest of Australia, turned its back!
The war was such as long time ago?
It was yesterday, carn't let go
PTSD is its name
The dam DVA, think its a game
The game, they write all the rules
It goes on & on, treat us like fools
We served our country-with No question
We were the best - of that selection!
The screaming, the Pain
Am I going insane?
Violence was our trainin
Look at me sideways, I'll give you a cane-in
For our country we gave our All
If it needs us again - give us a Call!
We fought on & on - until we fell
Day after day, still in Hell
Why is it those backs still turn?
While in my head - the thoughts do burn!
Who is there to give us a hand?
Our Mates, who else, by me they Stand!
A Vietnam Veteran should stand with Pride!
To Honour those mates, many who died
There's no longer any need; to roam & roam
Put out your hand Mate, WELCOME HOME!
Copyright 28th November 1998 Tony Blake
7RAR Vietnam 70-71
G'day Mate I'm 7RAR
Bloody hell the best by far
My name is Tony, I'm a Grunt
The Viet-cong we did hunt!
Long ago and far away
Was Vietnam only Yesterday?
Forget this war, I hear them say
Its not them, that went that way
One thing worse than day, is night
Try and make it without a fright
Although my wife is there to care
What's wrong now, I hear her say?
How do I explain; the terror away?
Here comes the rising sun
Another night of duty, loyally done!
I am awake so others can sleep
When will my duty be, at last, complete?
A Vietnam hat is now my uniform
It protects me admist the raging Storm
Just long ago & far away, it was a Gat!
When my home, was Nui Dat
The Diggers did all Expected
To our Dead, a Memorial erected
For those living? What expected?
Get on with life, your Not effected!
I saw some sights not reported
Who won the War? I was taunted
The Diggers did, you silly Bastard
Now its the peace, that must be mastered!
What I now have, is a name
But why so long, alone with pain?
When finally my mates come for me
Will they say, I did my DUTY?
Copyright 28th November 1998 Tony Blake Tony Blake
After your war, you came home again.
In outward appearance you seem quite sane.
But there is anger and pain and nightmares too.
Some nights you wonder if you'll ever get through.
Your loved ones tell you they really do care,
And with you the nightmares they're willing to share.
But you just can't tell them, you're locked up inside,
So all the anger and insanity you try to hide.
They finally give up and you drift apart,
This final betrayal is a knife in your heart.
Your friends have all gone and you're all alone,
Fighting for survival now out on your own.
In sheer frustration you turn to the bottle,
And begin living your life at full throttle.
You listen to sad songs trying to cry,
But the tears wont come, however you try.
Though you try, the insanities remain,
And suicidal thoughts enter your brain.
In utter despair you visit a shrink,
Hoping he'll teach you how not to think.
Slowly the madness begins to subside,
As you slow down from this crazy ride.
With all life's niceties you want to conform,
Hoping this insanity will finally reform.
Things seem much better and you're feeling ok,
And you think your insanity has gone away,
But every so often it breaks out again,
Just to remind you.....you're still insane!!!
Copyright 28th July 1998 Lee O'Neill
Once a month the convoy went,
On a resupply run we were sent.
Just another milkrun so they said,
But why the gunship overhead?
Is it just a gesture, our minds to soothe?
Or, do they know charlie's on the move?
Some went along just for the fun,
They thought it a breeze, this Long Binh run.
They didn't think they could end up dead.
Sent home in a box lined with lead.
Its a piece of cake they all said,
But what is the holdup up ahead?
At last the word comes down the line,
A village bus has hit a VC mine.
Moving again, we slowly drive past,
The horror caused by that awesome blast.
The broken twisted bodies of the wounded and dead,
The horror of it all still lives in my head.
The ones who came along just for fun,
Soon realized it was not just a milkrun.
That mine charlie set was meant for us,
Instead it took out a village bus.
You see charlie doesn't care who he kills,
And to blow up a bus doesn't take many skills.
It should have been us lying wounded and dead,
But this time charlie killed innocents instead.
Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win,
Just another milkrun, this trip to Long Binh.
Copyright 28th July 1998 Lee O'Neill
T'was AO Margaret ten clicks out from the
At the briefing, they said it was a fairly safe place.
But those Int reports, you never could trust.
So staying alert was a definite must.
We got to the spot and settled in for the night,
Checking our perimeter was closed in real tight.
This arduous duty, it had to be borne,
All through the night, till first light of dawn.
Time passes slowly and the night is so still,
Staying alert takes all of your skill.
2am, feeling drowsy now and almost asleep,
But I must stay awake, this virgil to keep.
My mates to protect, sleeping back at the base,
If I failed them now, I could never look in their face.
Then, suddenly a loud crash in the night,
Rifle to shoulder, I'm ready to fight.
No enemy I see, but I find instead,
My rifle is aimed at my radio ops head.
What caused that crash, the noise I just heard?
Then out of the scrub comes a bantam, a small feathered bird.
With shaking hands I lower my rifle,
To take a mans life is no mere trifle.
I think of that soldier from day to day,
And I often wonder what he would say.
If only he knew, just how close he came,
To being another statistic in life's deadliest game.
Copyright 25th June 1998 Lee O'Neill
He sits all by himself with a
bottle by his side.
Pushing away the woman that he
courted to be his bride
He thinks about his mates and
when he was a young man
Why did they send them there,
to this place called Viet Nam?
Why did they send me to a
Why did they want me to go, I
To go and fight an allied war I
suppose, I could lend a hand
Jesus Christ what have they
They sent me to Viet Nam
They drafted them like sheep to a war they could not win
To the other side of the world for some it was the end
He watched his mates lay dying, spread all across the
Why did they send me there?
This hell called Viet Nam
The bottle is the only way; he escapes from what is real
To hide away from all the pain that constantly he feels
The torture and the torment that dwells within this man
Why did they send him there?
This place called Viet Nam
He sits up straight in bed at night and looks around the
Wondering if he's back at the place he was in June
It�s been thirty years since that war put shivers
through this man
But every night he goes to bed
He dreams of Viet Nam
His family all around him, they really don't understand
What has happen to there boy over there in Viet Nam?
Unless you�ve seen it for yourself, you don't really
What happen to the men?
In that hell called Viet Nam
Copyright Written by a Veterans son.
Thank You Australia.
Thank you Australia
Thank you one and all
For all the support you gave us
When our backs were against the
We gave our lives and spirits
To protect you for years to
We answered the call of our
But you treated us like scum
You called us baby killers
Murderers and the likes
And while your sons and
were trying to survive
The BLOODY MONGREL wharfies
called a couple of strikes
We came home after our Tour
Under cover of the night
To be whisked away in secret
So as not to cause any strife
When we stepped out in the
With our Medals so shiny bright
You cursed and spat and treated
Like a wound that oozes puss
It was your way of protesting
Against the War Machine
But you used us as the
And for that you will always be
As a country that was too
To stick up for what was right
Then left the under dogs
With no future joy in sight
They were in the hands of the
And were treated with disdain
For only wanting their freedom
They were left to deal with the
You blamed the Government of
for sending our young to fight
But they went with pride to do
as others had done before
And came back home to the ones
Just to fight another WAR
For those of us that did come
We remember those with pride
Who gave their all for their
And for their country died
But as always for the living
The war will never end
As the memory in the mind
Has been etched with an
Copyright 2001 Phil Kadow.
Every night the nightmare waits,
Haunting, taunting, my mind it baits.
Staying up late, not wanting to sleep,
But my date with the nightmare, I have to keep.
I drink late at night to keep the horrors at bay,
But this nightmare of mine just won't go away.
I awake in a sweat, my head feels like bursting,
Reach for the bottle, for a drink I'm thirsting.
Desperately searching to set my mind free,
And hold back the horror that still haunts me.
The nightmare recedes to the back of my mind,
As in the bottle some comfort I find.
But I know it'll back to haunt me again.
How much longer can I endure this pain?
No longer able to sleep, I'm wide awake.
Waiting out the hours until daybreak.
As the dawn approaches, I stumble from bed,
Memories of the nightmare spinning my head.
Somehow I manage to get through the day,
Oh God please won't you send it away.
What have I done to suffer this way?
How much longer do I have to pay,
For the sins of a country that sent me to war?
I gave my all but you still want more.
Copyright 19th August 1998 Lee O'Neill
THOSE LEFT WAITING
In a caravan in
the red dust and gums of the outback,
In a sleepy town by the seaside in a little shack,
In towns and cities, you who were left, waited,
Hoping against hope, your wait was not ill-fated.
The sisters and brothers, the mothers and fathers too,
The wives and sweethearts, all seeing it through.
Closely watching each day, the news on TV,
Never knowing just what they might see.
Hoping to catch just a glimpse of him,
Is it him, it can't be, he looks so grim.
Each night a mother kneels down to pray,
For her beloved son so far away.
She lost his father at war before he was born,
If she lost him now her heart would be torn.
Dear God won't you please hear my plea,
Bring him back home again safely to me.
Sadly for many came that knock on the door,
And they knew then that they'd see him no more.
Slowly but finally that long year passed,
And he is now back home with you at last.
You endure the agony, heartache and pain,
Of never knowing if you would see him again.
But you waited faithfully, steadfast and true,
So here is my tribute just for you.
Copyright 20th January 1999 Lee O'Neill
AUSTRALIAN VIETNAM VETERANS ALPHABET
is for AUSSIE the salt of the earth.
A fearless soldier but full of mirth.
B is for BALMY bar, a noggie drink.
Two litres down the throat and your Stomach is down the sink.
C is for CHARLIE, the elusive VC.
He hid in the jungle but didn't escape me.
D is for DIGGER, the bravest soldier of all.
He gives his everything at the beckoned call.
E is for EGGBEATERS that shudder and shake.
Crapping jelly petrol in their wake.
F is for FLEAS and also the ticks.
That feed on a fellow from his head to his.
G is for GRUNT, the footslogging infanteer.
Goes everywhere on Shank's Pony but always full of cheer.
H is for the HOLE that the Communist rockets made.
That would take me a week to fill in with a spade.
I is for IMPORTANCE of staying alive.
The body might falter but the ANZAC spirit will survive.
J is for JESUS who will jam all the guns gears.
And rust every bayonet with his tears.
K is for the KNOWLEDGE I quickly acquired.
Of lying as flat as a Krate when the VC fire.
L is for the LEECHES that hid in the mud.
Attach themselves to my knackers and suck out the blood.
M is for MAMMASAN, the boss of the bars.
You buy my girl Aussie, she come with specimen jar.
N is for NOGGIE, the native of the land.
For the good ones that comes here we must put out our hand.
O is for OUC-DA-LOI numbered 1 to 10.
Depending on how much the digger would spend.
P is for PIASTA, the local dough.
Fifty notes give you special crazy show.
Q is for QUICK, which all Diggers are.
Quick as grease lightning to stay alive in a land afar.
R is for the RUMOURS we heard every day.
That the Communist morale was fading away.
S is for SAIGON TEA, the ladies would sip.
The more you buy the lower zip.
T is for TUNNELS our sappers went down.
To fight the Communists rats in the underground.
U is for US, the Aussie that served.
Finally we're getting what we deserved.
V is for VICTORY that we were denied.
They wouldnt let us win even though we tried.
W is for WAKEY, the last day in town.
Get into the aircraft and come on down.
X is for X-PERIMENTS made with shell and bomb.
A neat little cross on a nice little tomb.
Y in the world have I been placed.
In a paddy of muddy water right up to my waist.
Z is for ZEAL we all possess.
Fanatical in nature when we faced Ho Chi Minh's best.
Copyright Marty Cameron.
The Freedom Flight
They brought us back on the Freedom Flight
Thirty hours ago - the jungle fight
Leave pass and pay - Now kill no more
Switch yourself off from the TV War
Our debrief was, you'll get over this one
And so we stood on old Mascot
Home again - Now that's a lark
How many years you'll carry the spark
The troubled years move swiftly by
And even though your loved ones try
There's broken homes, suicide and booze
There's strange dreams you cannot loose
Home will be the peace of your heart
But until your Home, there's no start
Now we all came home at a different date
But for me it's getting late
So if by the mound you wish me best
Maybe then you'll say
He's home - At Rest."
POEM FROM an AMERICAN VETERAN �
If I had known what I was going to see
Denver (Denny) Adams
3rd Squadron Aviation (door gunner)
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Blackhorse
Vietnam Service - June 1969 to June 1970
Denny Adams passed away on the 16:11:2000 at 16:30 hours U.S. EST. Rest in Peace my Friend. Gavan M. Vigar
MORE POEMS FROM THE VIETNAM ERA BY US VETERANS
Look, there he goes again, that dumb vet,
Down the road to get drunk again I bet.
Wonder why he does it, day after day?
How can he go on living in this way?
I've heard he had a pretty good life,
Even had a family, two kids and a wife.
They ended up leaving him, they'd had enough,
Of all his drinking, rages and stuff.
Yet down at the pub, he is always so quiet,
Drinks all alone never causing a riot.
He keeps pretty much to himself, never has much to say,
It seems he is just existing, living from day to day.
I haven't seen
that vet lately, it's been a few days,
Maybe he is sleeping it off in an alcoholic haze.
I heard that vet is dead, he blew himself away,
Now the town is full of vets, his funeral is today.
At the pub after his funeral, they told me his story,
And the story they told me wasn't just another warrie.
It seems he was a hero, saved others in a real tight spot,
Not a thought for himself, though the situation was hot.
He managed to save them all, except his best mate,
They said by the time he got to him, it was too late.
They said he never got over it and pulled right into his shell,
And ever since then, he has been living a life of pure hell.
I wish I'd gotten to know him he sounded like a decent bloke,
But I was too busy with my life and so we never spoke.
Now I know the truth, I'll never turn my back on another vet,
I want to say I'm truly sorry and I will, the first chance I get.
In memory of Phil Dundas and all other vets who
found their pain
too much to bear.
Copyright 26 Feb 2001. Lee O'Neill
I lay there all night long the bullet in my side
Bright crimson on my uniform so bloodied by the fight
My comrades fought so hard and true to protect my deadly plight
Whilst waiting for the "medivac" to carry me through the night.
Back to the protective arms of our gentle nurses, so loving in their care
All day they hovered over me to keep me from despair.
Whilst doctors shook their weary heads to say, "He's too far gone"
best keep him warm and cozy so that he might easily pass on.
To travel that well-worn path that many soldiers walk on by.
My earth Angel sat all through the night to ease my dying pain.
She wiped away a tear or two and gently fared me well
Rest now, brave soldier, her kind words, spoken but true.
For, come the gentle daylight hour, my life on earth is through.
I would be on my very way. With fond visions of her farewell
Her gentle soothing hands, Her eyes so deep and blue
Yet, sadness in her steady voice she tried to soothe me through
For me, my run was over. I smoothly pass'd on by
A final whisper to that beautiful nurse 'twas my faint but last "goodbye"
I see the golden light now, which bathed her fair blonde hair
Surrounded now by other angels who, seemed to have appeared from nowhere.
To guide my spirit now on through, to ease its way on home
Copyright Pedro. July 2001.
They came down
from the mountains and from the red soiled plains
From big smoky cities, and country towns too small to name
Those young men from Australia, were chosen by the ball
Drafted by the government to answer the countries call.
They donned the old slouch hat that wore the Anzac name
To forge. a mighty army and so they were now soldiers trained
Shunned by their own people yet they rallied to the call
Then, shipped off to a place called Vietnam,
To fight that bloody war.
They fought a ruthless enemy and beat him at his game
They fought him in the paddy and often in the rain
They fought him in his cities, with its rat-infested drains
They met him in the Vung Tau bar and offered him a shout
Then, propped him again to his skinny feet and drank him down again.
They met that cunning Charlie in the jungles so dark and dense
Chased him in his tunnel hides and mountain fighting pits
They followed Charlie to his lair and gave him quite a fight
But when the bastards stole our mines they blew our arse to hell.
They caught that little bugger then sent him on his way
To peacefully lie forever in some lonely bush land grave.
But being true blue diggers not once did they give way
Nor gave their foes a quarter and they did us the same.
Now, hated by our own dear Aussie folk they took it on the chin
Yet those young proud men of Anzac would do it all again.
They once marched into history as young men of self-renown
'Twas such a time so long ago when they fought in the Vietnam towns.
To save a useless country that tethered on the brink.
And fight the politician's war to keep him in the pink.
So when next you see an old Vietnam Vet a bumming on the street
Do offer him a handshake and shout that man a drink
Then thank your lucky stars it wasn't you that day.
Who won the golden lottery that sent you on your way
He doesn't want your pity. He doesn't want your tin
He only went to do his job and come back home again.
Copyright Pedro 2001.
Poem submitted by Ralph Sengstock, Mon, 18 Nov 2002
Every one hates a Soldier.
EVERY one hates a Soldier
Until the enemy is at the gate
Then the feelings change
To ones of PRIDE not hate
BUT when the conflict is over
And the enemy is no longer a threat
The feeling of the Nation turns
From relief to regret
THE loss of life is horrific
At the hands of either side
It's no wonder so many people
Just sat down and cried
BUT the Soldiers must come home again
To return to their respective States
And that's where the countries love
Turns again to hate
FOR they will be cursed for the loss
Of many innocent civilian victims
And be kicked and punched and set upon
For only answering the call
THAT call came from the Government
Which is voted in by the people
And these people we know
Are not the soldiers equal
SO if you have a problem
With our Soldiers in some far off distant land
Shout and curse your Government
But shake a Soldiers hand
IF it were not for the people
Who work to keep us safe
Another enemy will come along
And start rattling the garden gate
SO remember well your FREEDOM
That you take so much for granted
And say thank you to those people
Who at all times stand PROUD and TALL
FOR they form a line in front of you
To protect you one and all
Then stay there with out question
As if they were a wall
That runs around your country
To keep you safe and warm
So that no one on the inside
Will come to any harm
Copyright 2003. Phil Kadow.
THE FINAL INSPECTION
The soldier stood and faced God, Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining, Just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now, you soldier, How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ? To My Church have you been true?"
The soldier squared his shoulders and said, "No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns, Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays, And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent, Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny, That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime, When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help, Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me, I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place, Among the people here.
They never wanted me around, Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord, It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much, But if you don't, I'll understand.
There was a silence all around the throne, Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly, For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you soldier, You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets, You've done your time in Hell."
Since I've came home I've walked and thought and still I wonder
why? the lives of the boys from down under
were wasted in the mud and dust of Viet Nam
Viet Nam so far away a place where
the red rat should not have been
Viet Nam where mates were lost because
the pollies say you go there
pollies war they it was should have be them
that wake at night to fight the nightmares that appear why, because of Viet Nam
now we who cry out for help the pollies try to shut the gate why
because of bloody Viet Nam
Copyright � Tango Alpha 42 Bravo.
FAR AWAY LAND
We came back a few stayed there, their life snuft out because of the fight there, we think of them in the quite of the night as we chat we'll throw tinnie's and think of the good times there.
It's the quite times at night we seem to remember of those dark black spots from that far away land, feeling of remorse I can't explain of the gut feeling the pain.
My mind racers from future to the past of mates and their children will it be possible I don't know if the lord will let me rest it unable to talk for so long, the wife and kids how to handle their dads bad behavior neither can he nor can I explain why we drink and punch the walls.
Lash out with the hate inside in our way we do love you we fear for your life ,my wife my boys we don't wont a war to come here and you fell the pain of the far away land
Copyright � Tango Alpha 42 Bravo.
Then I sit and look who's gone,
Copyright � Tango Alpha 42 Bravo.
Try To Understand...
If he stays home alone,
And doesn't like to hear the phone.
If he won't answer the door,
'cause he doesn't want to see anyone any more.
Try to understand...
If nightime is something to dread,
And his sleep is restless and fleeting in bed.
If he quietly gets up in the night,
So as not to disturb your pleasant respite.
Try to understand...
If he becomes nervous and jumps around,
At unexpected movement or a sudden sound.
If he sits in a restaurant with his back to a wall,
Because he can't have anyone behind him at all.
Try to understand...
If he shows no fear and wouldn't turn if he could,
That part of him has gone that says you should.
If his anger seems quick and extreme,
He's only trying to control intense emotions unseen.
Try to understand...
If he seems emotionless and indifferent some day,
And perhaps he just says "Go away!"
If he becomes depressed and may seem unkind,
He is only trying to spare you the agony in his mind.
Try to understand...
If his mood changes and alters,
And he becomes unsure and often falters.
If he becomes sad and stares into space,
He has only gone to some other place.
Try to understand...Because he doesn't...
Black Hats on Their Backs.
Sydney to Saigon, that was the route,
The big bird finally reached Tan Son Nhut,
May `68 I first felt the heavy air,
Inhaled av-gas, tar, saw aircraft every where,
The busiest airport in the world at that date,
Grab your gear, that Caribou won�t wait,
You sit on the floor, no luxury here,
Big props clawing at the atmosphere,
Back on the deck, just like that,
This is our home, affectionately- the Dat.
Get your weapon, bedding, tent, that�s the ticket,
Another poor sucker to help out with picket,
Orientation, a meal, pills and stand to,
See some mates and a few tinnies to go through,
The Hoa Long dance sounded a pretty good show,
With 364 and a wakey to go,
Didn't get me, I was tipped not to falter,
But plenty of lads were left at the altar,
The foe had been busy; they weren't there to play,
So we were off to some base called Coral next day.
Through Bien Hoa province that was ruled by the Yanks,
Excluding mined roads that upset their tanks,
Where Centurions made rusty bridges groan,
Onto AO Surfers where our men held their own,
Listening to tales of sadness and cheer,
Wishing our brew could be a cold beer,
Days and nights of unnatural thunder,
Far away from that land down under,
Hear the big rounds cut the air,
Their shrapnel slicing without care.
Olive aluminium war horse on track,
Black Hats riding on your back,
Open hatch, flak jacket for a seat,
Breathing in your engines heat,
Weapons ready, oiled, devoid of rust,
Weary eyes, red from blinding dust,
See the Grunts on weary feet,
Hear the dust off`s urgent beat,
Drop the ramp and they'll embark,
Safely from the jungle dark.
At base the bettle was our limousine,
But a certain ASM was pretty damn mean,
Commandeering that Rover for himself was the plan,
But, additive to the fuel made shit hit the fan,
He began suffering delusions of sand shoes without laces,
And discovered scorpions in the most strangest of places,
We had desert lilies to empty our bladder,
And thunderboxes with lids that clatter,
Now, you wouldn,t sit long, for if you were too slow,
The latrine orderly's smoke grenade would let you know.
Sand bag walls three feet high,
Canvas over to keep it dry,
Humble abode among rubber trees,
Cache of JW to quell the dreams,
It was bliss, but, we had to share,
With friendly scorpions that lurked in there,
They gave me the habit I just cannot beat,
For I still double check what I put on my feet,
And a thousand thanks to the bloke who advised,
Take gumboots over, they,ll be highly prized.
The cook�s did their best with fare from a tin,
The �ethered� eggs thrown straight in the bin,
Ham steaks, shepherd pie, coffee and tea,
Water bags with chlorined larvae hung in a tree,
Ahh, for some genuine Aussie nosh,
Just plain stuff, nothing too posh,
So, on R&R I had a chat to the man,
We sat right down and worked out the plan,
And with the magic of swift wings on skies,
I returned with eight dozen frozen McKay and Boys pies.
Back out bush we had Vienna Sausages and even chewy,
Smokes, Hershey Bars and goodies delivered by Huey,
Eating from cans was the norm,
Cordial in crystallised form,
Lima Beans with Frankfurter Chunks in Tomato Sauce,
That was our cuisines main course,
But Christmas lunch was a hot box treat,
Gravy, vegies, cans of VB and a choice of meat,
Christmas cake from my Mum,
Full of fruit and dripping with rum.
The V6 purrs on all day,
AS the Fifty points the way,
In our trusty mobile palace,
Carpets made of sand bag ballast,
Big steel trunk with goodies hidden,
But only with goffas!, youve got to be kiddin,
Stop at the ice works, make it real snappy,
Shouldnt be here and the boss wouldnt be happy,
Now, drinking on ops would be pretty bold,
But we just wanted to keep those tinnies cold.
People sniffers flying past,
Gathering info for a lethal blast,
Hear the jets departing scream,
See Spooky ooze his deadly stream,
Mesmerised by the miniguns motorous roar,
Its cascading tracer held you in awe,
We knew the B52s had long departed,
From the tremors and noise that they had started,
Fire up the choofer, a brew would be nice,
Its going on two weeks since we ran out of ice.
Having a break, going home for now,
And a rumour of two days off in Vung Tau,
But first the tracks must be put back to square one,
Lots of replacement and maintenance to be done,
A trans, torsion bars, sprockets and a ramp cable too,
The drivers did well for what they went through,
Wash your filthy gear till it passed the test,
As the local laundered job didnt smell the best,
Endure abase wallahs 0 group, drivelling of the foe,
Thinking of tomorrow, Vung Tau, lets go!
Singing, We all live in yellow 113s
Avoiding buying Saigon Teas,
The Grand Hotel had better class whores,
And .45calibre holes in some doors,
Munching on hepatitis rolls,
Quaffing tiny snails in bowls,
Smoking funny stuff with ease,
Drinking whiskey and thirty threes,
Being called Number Ten,
Next day doing it all again.
Well, the good times always go so quick,
The morning saw the lads quite sick,
Our driver, the king of sadistic bloody clowns,
Would decelerate going through little fishing towns,
Did you hear the rat a tat tat?,
On that nauseous journey back to the Dat,
Water spouts were billowing everywhere,
And all sorts of water birds took to the air,
It wasnt any of our crew, thats for sure,
In their condition they couldnt hit a barn door.
Came the dawn, another op,
Throw in your gear, hop up on top,
Another grid, another click,
Across paddy, into jungle thick,
Tracer making pretty arcs,
Splintex leaving unique marks,
Cordite getting up your nose,
All the rubber trees in rows,
Tracks clattering on their sprockets,
Seeking soldiers with nasty rockets.
Where is that sniper in the bush?,
Felt his projectiles deadly whoosh,
It�s report was the only give away,
Glad he was shaky on that day,
The `79 pukes its golden pill,
Hoping to make that mongrel ill,
He could have shown some consideration,
For people winning the hearts and minds of a nation,
And, why don`t these bastards put up some signs,
So we don`t have to run over their bloody mines.
Marvel at the sky crane over its load,
Bringing the bridge to open our road,
Up to your waist in a stinking bog,
Putting thrown track back on its cog,
Wishing you didnt have to be on watch,
Tonguing for a smoke or a good nip of scotch,
Insect repellent that didnt instil fear,
To mossies that bit straight through your gear,
Falling through a hammock in the dead of night,
Bouncing off ammo tins, trying to be quiet.
Stand to, quiet tonight we hope,
Last light, green images in the scope,
Rousing, wide eyed in the night,
See the flare,s brilliant light,
Twin 30,s clatter, spitting trace,
Spewing link and ringing case,
Friendly fire reaching through the dark,
Seeking out the FO,s mark,
Beware enemy dead , for boobies they may hide,
Wanting you to join their final ride.
Protecting the dozers clearing the scrub,
Needing clean greens and a well earned tub,
When that big Hercules came down so close,
Giving all below her a massive dose,
Looked like she was running on steam,
Billowing cloud in her huge slip stream,
Fire Trail lost in that thick, wet spew,
We couldnt breathe, couldnt see through,
Gagging on this agent, we didnt know,
Decades on ,that nothing would grow.
Tired carrier towed home at last,
Crippled from that deadly blast,
At the wire you sit so proud,
Even though youre disembowelled,
Forgotten in your battles din,
The shredded limb you held within,
Did you return to our far land?,
Experience ovation, ticker tape and band,
Or stay to face the final blow,
To be pilfered and be put on show.
Friends who paid the ultimate price,
No greater act than that sacrifice,
Those whom for their country bled,
Resting in their concrete bed,
His death didn�t end his family�s tragedy,
Decades had passed when his sister told me,
That the authorities intended laying him in Terendak,
Otherwise the family would have to pay to fly him back,
What ugly bureaucratic scorn,
Not wanting him where he was born.
You�re home weary warrior, you did your best,
You can trust your government to do the rest,
No worries, everything will be alright mate,
The air fare was free and a great exchange rate,
Sign here, you are free to go,
But, dont put your uniform on show,
As some people just dont understand,
What went on in funny land,
They throw red paint and they don�t care,
Withdraw, go home, and pretend you weren�t there.
Childhood home no longer survives,
Suburbs gone to racial divides,
Slow darkening shadow of the vulture,
Its talon tearing at our culture,
And dare to argue how we were,
Will brand you as a racist cur,
Why did Australians collect relief for the NVA dream?,
At the parade, we're so sorry, I heard them scream,
Their plea didn't touch me, didn't make my tears fall,
I cried for the flags of heroes that we all held tall.
The Veterans Affairs is there to help the transition,
You just have to drop in and explain your position,
Tell your story to some sympathetic ears,
And keep it up for the next thirty years,
Grandfather's fight was to end all wars,
But my father saw Nippon bloody our shores,
Brave Australians lost in Korea too,
Malaya saw them continue through,
To our war, a decade span,
Gallant Black Hats of Vietnam.
Copyright 2006. Geoff Allen (GD) A Sqn 3 Cav Regt LAD.
Apr 67-May 68 Puckapunyal and Holsworthy.
May 68-May 69 South Vietnam.
It was a happy gathering
Dedication to the Black Hats
that have taken that last trip to the big hanger in the sky.
Death is nothing at all
Charles "Bluey" Parsons
THE ambush site was
This is not a poem, but a very
moving speech and deserves to be on this page. The speech was
David Groundfighter Clifton.
George Mannford's Address to the Vietnam
Veterans Day Parade at Mareeba 2006 On this the 40th
anniversary of Long Tan we are yet again united as one common entity
however it is not only the bravery at Long Tan we remember but other
bloody battlefields now recorded as part of our military history,
and some which are now etched as battle honours on regimental
colours and others that are not. The savagery of Ho Bo Woods and the
Iron Triangle, the stubborn defence at Coral and Balmoral, the
determination in the mine cladded Long Hais, the bold aggressiveness
at Binh Ba. The sudden and desperate Tet Offensive, the Training
Team fighting from lonely and isolated outposts throughout the
provinces. It is also a time for us
to reflect and recall our mates in ambushes and the lonely patrols
that were never recorded in our history. Perhaps you were one of
those magnificent Caribou crews operating in cloud shrouded valleys
resupplying lonely outposts, the chopper crews, onboard a warship
operating in dangerous waters, or at the hospital waiting for the
next casualties. Where ever you were and whatever you did, Vietnam
embraced all of you as it embraced the families at home. The
mothers, fathers, wives sweethearts and friends. You served in different
units at different times, in different places, and since Vietnam
have experienced varying fortunes of life. Some good, some bad, but
today we are again as one family. In being here back on parade as a
group, today is a timely reminder to our nation that there are
certain facts we will never allow to be extinguished by time, nor
tolerate the truth being distorted, nor allow lies to be recorded as
fact. We are here to insist that
those veterans who suffer are not neglected. We need no beggar
bowls. We need no politicians to amuse us. But simply provide what
is rightly due and what has been earned by our less fortunate
comrades. And what of the past? When
they burnt our national flag we loved it all the more and that's an
indisputable fact. It was a time of ridicule but we saw only pride
in our units and regiments, for we were never defeated on the field
of battle, and there was every reason to stand tall. That too is an
indisputable fact! It was a time when many at home betrayed us but
we drew comfort from each other and the bonds of comradeship grew
stronger until they became indestructible. That too is an
indisputable fact. And when we talk of
yesterday there are other images of that time when as a result of
conscription many young Australians exchanged their surf boards,
footballs and cricket bats for a pair of military boots and a slouch
hat. And in a short time their passion for sport was replaced by
apprehension and fear while bunker busting, cordon and search
operations, patrolling, attacking, ambushing, and mine clearing to
name but a few operational tasks. Politicians would be wise to
remember that. Equally the youngsters
venues were no longer the playing fields, discos or dance halls of
Australia but the happy farm at Nui Dat, a lonely RAAF base, a
hammock on a destroyer, a weapon pit or waiting for casualties at an
Army hospital. Politicians should try to understand that. Today we honour those
comrades who did not come home. Youngsters who would never whack
that cricket ball for six, who would never catch the big green wave,
who would never score the winning try, who would never fulfill their
love, who would never be able to pursue their dreams and those who
thought they had come home but continue to live their personal
nightmares or struggle to cope with physical disabilities and the
minister for Veteran Affairs should make an effort to try and
understand all of this. We remember them as they
were and will never forget the wonderful qualities which they, and
you, the surviving veterans shared. Qualities that you can continue
to demonstrate, qualities that future historians will recognise and
generations yet to be born will read about, qualities that have been
with the armed forces since the genesis of ANZAC, qualities that
todays youngsters can emulate. Was there a higher
standard of discipline than yours while on operations? The personal
sacrifices, helping and caring for others, sharing the dangers, the
heavy loads the last tin of food and the last of the water. To still
grin when nothing went right, and willingness to accept
responsibility beyond your rank. Such qualities are still needed
today and which will stand all of us in good stead, they are
qualities that you, the youth from yesterday, can continue to
demonstrate to the young generation of today, Progressively our
ranks grow thinner and that in itself is a reason to bond even
closer. It no longer matters who you were, what you were, when you
served, or what you did or did not do, what matters now is you all
continue to share a common bond and ensure your past standards and
reputations are not prostituted, we owe that to the fallen and those
since gone. There is an even better
reason to stand fast together, to demand a better deal for our
disabled mates, to ensure that those men and women currently serving
on operations and those who follow are not politicised nor ignored
by indifferent and self indulgent politicians. It is also a time to
remind our national state RSL leaders that they must be in the
vanguard to pursue and maintain the rights of veterans. Dare I say
it is also a time to ignore the distraction of a government handing
out cheap medals in an effort to distract and fragment a united
cause. Despite such inappropriate
government treatment, despite the indifference to many of our
comrades all of us must continue to be a vibrant element of the
community and not isolate ourselves from it. We must never lower our
standards. We must attack relentlessly with energy and sound
argument to peruse our cause but never to the point of vilification
or personal abuse. These were the techniques of those who
demonstrated against us when we were once young and we detested all
of them for it; as veterans we are we are above that and abuse
should not be part of our armoury. You are veterans who still stand
tall and can look anyone in the eye and say with pride. I served in
Vietnam with the best mates this country could offer. Perhaps the fallen would
say, nothing has changed, we are still you and you are still us.
Only you, the living, can change that. Perhaps they would add
nothing will break the bonds of friendship from the past while you
remember us and do as we would have done, for your life is our life,
your joy is our joy, our memory is your personal conduct, today
tomorrow and beyond. Seize the day old friends.
Enrich your life with those qualities you developed as warriors.
Bask in the camaraderie that is there to be absorbed. Stand tall,
your past demands it. Your fallen comrades would expect it of each
and every one of us. Until the next roll call,
Jimmy was the star.
all his mates were there,
they came from near and far.
A speech was made
a song was sung
and Jimmy shed a tear
I don�t he minded
because his mates were here.
Fred and George were there
Stretch and Wozza too
Max and Chris, and more of us
with Jim we had a few.
And all the while we told
stories of that place afar,
while in the background, gently,
played a string guitar.
For us it was a special year
twenty years to boot
when some of our mates
were sent home by another route.
We shared their pain
and shed a tear as well
because as mates
we'd also seen
the other side of Hell.
Its been like that
for quite a while
weve met to share a few,
drinks and yarns and laughs,
among our mates true blue.
We always dread
to our mates, its true
but I know its not for good
we'll meet again, real soon.
Weve made a silent vow
to get in touch again
to meet each other,
any time we feel the yen.
We learned our lesson well you see,
about our friendships true,
were 3 Cav men my friend,
cobbers through and through.
And when that time will finally come
when we reach those Pearly Gates,
we'll all go in together
because my friend,
TANGO ALFA (1989)
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
What ever we were to each other that we still are
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way, which you always did
Put no difference in your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, and pray for me
Let my name be ever
The household word it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is no absolutely unbroken continuity
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you
For an interval somewhere near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Take Care Old Mates'
A grid reference on the map
Another night of little sleep
The crews weren’t really rapt
THEY would move into their position
Entering it from the rear
Even though the tracks they lived in
Could be heard by the enemy’s ears
ONCE in the position
The back doors were locked back
Then the jockeys were guided
Into a tight formation leaving no gap
THE engines were then idled down
In amongst the trees
Until the order was given to shut them down
On the count of three
THE silence was so sudden
In the dark of night
For even though it was unlikely
The crews were spoiling for a fight
THE night routine began in earnest
With the claymores set all around
With the leads connected to the “Jesus” box
Without making a sound
THE roster was made out
For each crew during the night
So each member could be woken on time
Without as much as a fright
THE night went on for ever
Without much of a sound
Except from the vehicles
As they settled down
IT seemed like another waste of time
When the sentry heard a sound
He wasn’t sure at first
But he sensed the enemy was around
He listened with intensity
With his finger on the switch
For he knew that for the bad guys
This night was to be a bitch
At last he saw movement
Coming across his front from left to right
So he waited a little while
Until their position was just right
HE hit the switch with fury
Following up with the gun
And before the dust had settled
The enemy was on the run
THE crews held their position
Waiting for the command
To follow up the enemy
Or wait and be on demand
IN case some fellow friendlies
Also got into a fight
Then they could be reacted
If the going got real tight
BUT when the excitement was over
There came the morning light
This now allowed them to survey the damage
That they had caused the previous night
THERE were bodies and equipment
Strewn over the ground
And many blood trails
Soaked into the ground
THEY collected all equipment and information
About the enemy’s strength
Then buried the bodies
In a common trench
THEY then moved out of the area
To a place they called the rear
A strong brew was in order
As each man reflected on his own fear
BUT that morning they were thankful
For they had survived another day
To be one with each other
For that was the section’s way
OF dealing with the hardships
And the daily grind
For going home in one piece
Was always on their mind
Copyright (c) 2007
It was a happy gathering
Dedication to the Black Hats that have taken that last trip to the big hanger in the sky.
Death is nothing at all
Charles "Bluey" Parsons (2006)
THE ambush site was
This is not a poem, but a very moving speech and deserves to be on this page. The speech was submitted by David Groundfighter Clifton.
George Mannford's Address to the Vietnam Veterans Day Parade at Mareeba 2006
On this the 40th anniversary of Long Tan we are yet again united as one common entity however it is not only the bravery at Long Tan we remember but other bloody battlefields now recorded as part of our military history, and some which are now etched as battle honours on regimental colours and others that are not. The savagery of Ho Bo Woods and the Iron Triangle, the stubborn defence at Coral and Balmoral, the determination in the mine cladded Long Hais, the bold aggressiveness at Binh Ba. The sudden and desperate Tet Offensive, the Training Team fighting from lonely and isolated outposts throughout the provinces.
It is also a time for us to reflect and recall our mates in ambushes and the lonely patrols that were never recorded in our history. Perhaps you were one of those magnificent Caribou crews operating in cloud shrouded valleys resupplying lonely outposts, the chopper crews, onboard a warship operating in dangerous waters, or at the hospital waiting for the next casualties. Where ever you were and whatever you did, Vietnam embraced all of you as it embraced the families at home. The mothers, fathers, wives sweethearts and friends.
You served in different units at different times, in different places, and since Vietnam have experienced varying fortunes of life. Some good, some bad, but today we are again as one family. In being here back on parade as a group, today is a timely reminder to our nation that there are certain facts we will never allow to be extinguished by time, nor tolerate the truth being distorted, nor allow lies to be recorded as fact.
We are here to insist that those veterans who suffer are not neglected. We need no beggar bowls. We need no politicians to amuse us. But simply provide what is rightly due and what has been earned by our less fortunate comrades.
And what of the past? When they burnt our national flag we loved it all the more and that's an indisputable fact. It was a time of ridicule but we saw only pride in our units and regiments, for we were never defeated on the field of battle, and there was every reason to stand tall. That too is an indisputable fact! It was a time when many at home betrayed us but we drew comfort from each other and the bonds of comradeship grew stronger until they became indestructible. That too is an indisputable fact.
And when we talk of yesterday there are other images of that time when as a result of conscription many young Australians exchanged their surf boards, footballs and cricket bats for a pair of military boots and a slouch hat. And in a short time their passion for sport was replaced by apprehension and fear while bunker busting, cordon and search operations, patrolling, attacking, ambushing, and mine clearing to name but a few operational tasks. Politicians would be wise to remember that.
Equally the youngsters venues were no longer the playing fields, discos or dance halls of Australia but the happy farm at Nui Dat, a lonely RAAF base, a hammock on a destroyer, a weapon pit or waiting for casualties at an Army hospital. Politicians should try to understand that.
Today we honour those comrades who did not come home. Youngsters who would never whack that cricket ball for six, who would never catch the big green wave, who would never score the winning try, who would never fulfill their love, who would never be able to pursue their dreams and those who thought they had come home but continue to live their personal nightmares or struggle to cope with physical disabilities and the minister for Veteran Affairs should make an effort to try and understand all of this.
We remember them as they were and will never forget the wonderful qualities which they, and you, the surviving veterans shared. Qualities that you can continue to demonstrate, qualities that future historians will recognise and generations yet to be born will read about, qualities that have been with the armed forces since the genesis of ANZAC, qualities that todays youngsters can emulate.
Was there a higher standard of discipline than yours while on operations? The personal sacrifices, helping and caring for others, sharing the dangers, the heavy loads the last tin of food and the last of the water. To still grin when nothing went right, and willingness to accept responsibility beyond your rank. Such qualities are still needed today and which will stand all of us in good stead, they are qualities that you, the youth from yesterday, can continue to demonstrate to the young generation of today, Progressively our ranks grow thinner and that in itself is a reason to bond even closer. It no longer matters who you were, what you were, when you served, or what you did or did not do, what matters now is you all continue to share a common bond and ensure your past standards and reputations are not prostituted, we owe that to the fallen and those since gone.
There is an even better reason to stand fast together, to demand a better deal for our disabled mates, to ensure that those men and women currently serving on operations and those who follow are not politicised nor ignored by indifferent and self indulgent politicians. It is also a time to remind our national state RSL leaders that they must be in the vanguard to pursue and maintain the rights of veterans. Dare I say it is also a time to ignore the distraction of a government handing out cheap medals in an effort to distract and fragment a united cause.
Despite such inappropriate government treatment, despite the indifference to many of our comrades all of us must continue to be a vibrant element of the community and not isolate ourselves from it.
We must never lower our standards. We must attack relentlessly with energy and sound argument to peruse our cause but never to the point of vilification or personal abuse. These were the techniques of those who demonstrated against us when we were once young and we detested all of them for it; as veterans we are we are above that and abuse should not be part of our armoury. You are veterans who still stand tall and can look anyone in the eye and say with pride. I served in Vietnam with the best mates this country could offer.
Perhaps the fallen would say, nothing has changed, we are still you and you are still us. Only you, the living, can change that. Perhaps they would add nothing will break the bonds of friendship from the past while you remember us and do as we would have done, for your life is our life, your joy is our joy, our memory is your personal conduct, today tomorrow and beyond.
Seize the day old friends. Enrich your life with those qualities you developed as warriors. Bask in the camaraderie that is there to be absorbed. Stand tall, your past demands it. Your fallen comrades would expect it of each and every one of us.
Until the next roll call, take care.