TALES FROM THE ‘DARK’ SIDE OF VICTOR 3 – PART 4
This is the fourth in an occasional series of tales relating to V3's tour. It is recorded in my 'battle diary' (which appears to include pages fashioned out of toilet paper from ration packs).
Some unkind people have described Waiouru as “the place God made and never visited”. Clearly they never experienced Fire Support Base Concord. Charlie was expected to attack the Long Binh – Bien Hoa areas during their 1968 mid year offensive.
Victor 3 deployed into
It was with some amazement that we disembarked from the helicopters to be confronted by a series of above ground bunkers, fashioned out of wood and iron scraps and looking like adverts for ‘Junkyard Wars’, occupied by our American cousins who constituted the majority in the FSB. John Hall, our OC, took one look at them and immediately issued orders to dig, dig and dig some more so we all became ‘diggers’. We dug and dug and scrounged and scrounged stopping only at ‘stand to’ when our American friends would come over to look at the sight of soldiers waiting to be attacked. What’s more they had a penchant for congregating in front of our trenches to discuss the phenomena and blinding us with camera flashes as they recorded the strange habits of their allies.
But it was Company Headquarters that features in this story. John Hall was determined to create a ‘real’ command post. Something that General Navarre at
And so it was that with the bunker complete and replete with all mod cons we sat down for our first ‘O’ Group in our new home. The Boss had just started his homily when cascading from the ventilation shafts come a torrent of amber liquid. Many of us were sprayed. John Hall, standing straight under one shaft, got soaked, There was a rushed general exodus. On making it to the surface we could see a bunch of Yank soldiers congregated around the ventilation shafts where they protruded from the ground ‘doing their thing’. They claimed the pipes were standard ‘pissaphones’ on the
p.s. If you want a guaranteed method of removing writing from a plastic surface I know of a good product.
p.p.s. Laurie B …. Didn’t they tell you what the pipes were being used for when you ‘acquired’ them and does that explain why I have never seen you wearing the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal?
For the record. Victor 3 Company served in Vietnam from May 1968 until May 1969. Originally it was part of 2RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Bn and later 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Bn. It was the most highly decorated of the 9 NZL Infantry Company's sent to Vietnam winning two Military Crosses (one an 'Immediate Award'); two Distinguished Conduct Medals and a Mentioned in Despatches. Our Chaplain, Whakahuihui Vercoe, later Anglican Primate of New Zealand, also received an MBE for his outstanding work ministering to the troops. Two of our soldiers, Mike Wickman and Don Bensemann were KIA. Another 19 were WIA.