My introduction to the infantry, in which I spent the next 20-odd years, was the posting to the 5th Battalion. I was the Platoon Commander of 2 Platoon, A Company. We had a very successful tour. We all came back alive, although the majority were wounded and many people didn’t come back whole. I lost a third of my platoon from active service – 11 of my guys in one go – when we were blown up in trucks. Some never walked again; some have had a very difficult life since. But not one of them that I have spoken to regrets their involvement in Vietnam.
For that tour, I was awarded the Military Cross, of which I am very proud. But it was an award for the people that I served with and my platoon, who I think were some of the greatest and most professional young men Australia has ever sent to war.