For the last five months of my service I was a machine gunner. The weight was horrific. We carried about 45 kilos (seven stone) and I probably weighed just over seven stone. We had to reduce the amount of food we took because of the water we needed.
Before the Battle of Long Tan, on the 18th of August 1966, we were trying to make contact with a North Vietnamese battalion. We were told we had to get back into the base very quickly because the task force might come under attack. We came across what looked like heavy equipment that had been dragged through the bush. Instead of coming back through Long Tan as planned, we took a more direct route. If we had not changed direction we would have come in direct contact with the force that made contact with D Company, 6 Battalion.