"Caused apoplexy last time".Post posted. Wait, out....
What I should have mentioned last time is the opinion of two others who were there, and who put it in writing.Once was Gary McKay who wrote "In Good Company" as an Australian platoon commander. The other was David Hackworth, who wrote "About Face" from the US perspective. His chapter where he describes how he took over a training school preparing troops for Vietnam is particularly horrifying. The awful training and preparation that was handed out by the Army to the average grunt was a disgrace (I don't believe the Marines ever had the same problem).(Ducks for cover).
Other good reads by McKay are "In Good Company", as well as "Delta Four", "Jungle Tracks", "Bullets, Beans and Bandages" and "Sleeping with your Ears Open". A good account of 7RAR in Vietnam is "Conscripts and Regulars" by Michael O'Brien, although it's out of print and hard to get hold of. I've not read Hackworth's "About Face". There are those who don't seem to be able to get their heads around the notion that you can be critical of the conduct of the war without putting the soldiers down - hence apoplexy. Strangely enough, both the far right and the far left have this conceptual inadequacy in common. It's a kind of crossfire effect - many veterans cop it from both sides unless they keep their heads down. I really couldn't care less these days, although it bothered me for the first 15 years after RTA.
Paul Ham writes a good book on Vietnam as well.I too ended up being a pogo. I was a number 2 machine gunner and when our platoon sig went home ( a nasho) I expressed interest in the job.They put me on a three day sig course and I was it!When I got my first coded message, I had no idea how the codes worked.Can you believe that? And here I was, the platoon sig in a war zone!Having a great time out west boys... eat ya heart out!
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