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TOPIC: War Stories

War Stories 05 Jul 2016 14:32 #171738

  • wouldyou
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My feelings also, appreciation for what you did, our family had no involvement, Dad was too young for the first one, being a farmer grew food for WW2, was in volunteer defence corp.
I was still at school then and missed conscription for Vietnam.
David.

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War Stories 05 Jul 2016 21:01 #171766

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Casualties in Vietnam were about 60% Regular Army and 40% National Service. The Regular Army blokes knew when they signed up that "dying" was in the job description and accepted the risk as a part of the adventure, training and mateship.

The National Servicemen also had the same job description but had no choice. That in service there was no practical difference between Regular and Nasho is forever to their credit. The disgraceful attitude and behaviour by what was a large section of the community towards those returning diggers is forever to our shame.

Lang
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War Stories 06 Jul 2016 14:40 #171789

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Just for those who may possibly be interested, 18th August 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. Was posted on DVA online today.
Dave_64
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Last edit: by Dave_64. Reason: Correction

War Stories 06 Jul 2016 18:47 #171792

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All the guys that went to Vietnam have my respect.

A lot may not have wanted to be there but they gave their all when there.
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War Stories 06 Jul 2016 22:08 #171825

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I am surprised that my story has resonated, I have decide to post another one about the couple of weeks in hospital over there, give me a couple of days to put it together.
84 Austral Tourmaster with 6V92 and now 7 speed Eaton-Fuller, converted to motorhome "Vanishing Point" after a favourite American movie.
3 Kw solar 800 Ah Lithium house battery pack, all engine cooling done by the sun. Water injection for hot days and hill climbs.
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War Stories 08 Jul 2016 15:03 #171910

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As the others have said ... thanks to all that have, and are currently, serving. I'm too young to have been part of the earlier "events" and too old for the recent ones .... I got as far as the Army Cadets (as a Sargent) but got an honourable discharge for medical reasons.

Closest I'll ever come to a war story starts something like .... " when I got home late last night ..... " ;)
You might Laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same

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War Stories 08 Jul 2016 15:45 #171911

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I add my thanks to all who have and are still serving .
I never served but have seen first hand the effects on those who did.
Heading to Canberra on the 1st August for a plaque unveiling for the Z Special Unit from WWll.
My father served with first with the Army then transferred to the Z Unit. He survived the war but it left a lifetime of mental scars
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War Stories 07 Jul 2019 17:45 #201565

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Been a couple of years since the original post, guess I had better get the finger out and tell the promised.
In the meantime we have sold the hydro farm and moved to Stanthorpe to grow a few grapes and learn to make wine, (nothing commercial) absolutely love it up here, the people are so friendly, can't do enough for you.
Hospital in Vung Tau:
Covered the arrival before, woke up sometime after major surgery, probably next day or the one after. Was told I was in a bad way (that didn't help much) and started to realise this was serious. Tube up the dick to piss into, bag on the guts to crap into and I was lying on a 1" foam mattress on boards. Then they told me I had a piece of shrapnel wrapped around my L2 verterbrae which had damaged the spinal cord and I might not walk again. And NO FOOKING teeth ! Seems the bowel was so badly bruised they wanted to rest the lower bit for a while. They also told me I had about 450 stitches inside and about 250 outside. Counted outside later and it was 243 so they were not far wrong. Also gave me a little plastic jar full of bits of metal they had removed, plenty more to come in later years as it started moving around. Was not feeling on top of the world by now as you may imagine. Then they must have thought I was hungry. Because the nursing sister came back with a meal. 23 pills, 18 different types. Had to gulp the lot down.
I don't know when I woke up but it was all clear to me and still is to this day.
I was a general in a south american army (mine) and the only reason I was in this bed was I had been tossed off my horse and hurt my hip. But now I was good again and that bitch, my daughter, who I had mad a full colonel in my army was leaning over me and pushing me back on the bed. Stripped her of her commision then and there but she would not go away, kept leaning over me to keep me in bed. I was getting weaker by now and could see the only way out was to fight my way out. So I mustered all I had left and got in a good right that had her stumbling back across the ward. Collapsed back on the pillows and all I remember is her coming at me with a screwed up eye and the biggest needle I have ever seen. Didn't come to for 2 days after that. Lots of discussions on what had happened, talk of a court martial for assaulting an officer until they sent a psych to talk to me. DOH. "Do you ever want to leap off tall buildings ?" Yeah, when there is a phone box around. "What do you mean a phone box?" So I can change into my superman suit first.
Few more like that and he said "there is nothing wrong with you, why am I here?"
Told him about the feed of pills, just after this major trauma and I think this was the first time they may have put 2 and 2 together. Eventually someone came and told me I would not be charged ! Told him I was more worried about being killed by one of the guys from our unit. She had a brother in the same squadron. Didn't know till afterwards. Had a shiner for all the time I was there. Once I explained it all and she could see where she fitted in, we were good.
Moved me out into the ward and you know what these stupid fookers did ? same thing again. Now apart from this the care we received was perfect so I guess can't whinge too much. Different pills, same sort of reaction, this one is not as clear but when I woke up the cather was out and the bag of piss whet in one direction and the colostomy bag and it's contents were scattered on the opposite wall. The foam mattress was in the correct position but the boards underneath it, held together in this cloth arrangement were standing vertical on one side of the bed. Buggered if I know how they got there. They decided to starting feeding me more normal food after that ! Oh, and of course another session with the psyche, maybe it was him that convinced them.
The rest of the time in Vungers was pretty uneventful, was put in a full body cast which was then cut down the sides to allow for swelling for the trip to Butterworth, overnighted (or 2 ?) there to see if any of the sickos died or got worse, then back in the Herc for the trip to Darwin. Pilot found out you should not drop a Herc about 6 metres when trying to land, if you have a cargo of beaten up diggers onboard. Different pilot or learnt lesson, landing at Richmond was silk.
Hospital at Ingelburn
Into army hospital at Ingelburn where they decided to let an army doctor have a play at closing the colostomy. Did such a bad job of it head theatre nurse came to the ward later to tell me if I ever had bowel problems that this prick had mucked it up and ended up doing a complete bowel resection. The biggest memory there was Mum coming into the ward, she had aged 20 years in a couple of months, that was really, really upsetting.
Hospital at Concord
After a couple of weeks there I was moved to Concord repatriation hospital where a battleship head nurse decided my treatment, and she is probably why I am alive today and can walk, albiet with a bit of a limp. Mum got herself a position volunteering so I saw here quite often.
Basic treatment was continue the 1" foam mattress on boards, but make sure patient is turned every 10 minutes. Was there for over 6 months while the verterbrae reformed, still with metal in it, so never slept for more than 9 1/2 minutes in that time, that really does your head in. During this time I was too dumb to realise how serious it was, just regarded it as an inconvenience that would pass. Or maybe that was just my way of handling it, dunno.
The most embarrassing part was taking a dump. Every couple of days they would stick a plastic sheet under you, shove a suppository up your arse and you would have a shit. Then they would come and wipe your arse for you. One nurse was a cranky one, she liked to do it during visiting hours ! But Sister Cameron was adamant that my back was not ready so that regime stayed.
The guy in the next bed had been a security guard on one of those armoured cash vans, (this was in the days when everyone got paid cash). We decided we were going to take the Warragamba payroll at Xmas, I think around $3M lot of money in those days so that’s what we spent the next few months doing, planning. At least it might have kept me sane. Every Sunday the old diggers would come in to see their mates, shoot the same germans, bayonet the same japs, nothing wrong with that I guess but you could say they were a little condescending to say the least,”We were in a real war, yours was just a police action” type of comment. Eventually I do some research about bullet velocities, it is frightening how much faster projectiles have become over 50 years. That seemed to shut them up a bit.
Eventually the big day came, they looked at the X rays and decided L2 had reformed enough to carry my weight (not much by now) so onto what they called a tipping table. You lie on this thing and it is cranked up a few degrees then head starts to spin and out comes the vomit, each day you go a bit higher until you are upright (took 2 weeks). Then you take a few wobbly steps at a time, after a few days of this you want to be outta here. They insisted I wear a brace for my back, horrible aluminium thing but I agreed, anything to get out. Been in there over 6 months, rest of world could be gone, we would not know. Got myself invited to a party and was talking to a chick. She asked if I had been in a car accident (the brace) and I said no, I had been wounded in Vietnam. “Fu..ing baby killer” she screamed at me as she threw her drink in my face. Bit of a wake up call that one, I can tell you.
I decided I wanted to know if I was going to have a somewhat normal life so I rang a mate that is a mad water skier, up the Hawksbury every weekend, and went for a ski, did a big whip and took a deliberate real hard fall. Came back up. Legs still worked, got back in the boat, asked to be taken to shore, got the brace and threw it in the bin, not real smart but something I had to do after all the shit of the last couple of years. So that ends the hospital story. After that, did not really care, dead, alive, just did not give a shite. So inevitably fell in with some bad boys, but that is another story.
84 Austral Tourmaster with 6V92 and now 7 speed Eaton-Fuller, converted to motorhome "Vanishing Point" after a favourite American movie.
3 Kw solar 800 Ah Lithium house battery pack, all engine cooling done by the sun. Water injection for hot days and hill climbs.
The following user(s) said Thank You: allan, Dave_64, ianoz, Lang, mikeg, asw120, Tacho

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