Deiter Jankovic
Air Dispatcher
176 Air Dispatch Company, Royal Australian Army Service Corps
Nui Dat
Oct 1970 - Oct 1971

An ordinary day at the ‘Pelican Heights’ landing zone at Nui Dat involved rigging payloads for uplift by Chinook or Skycrane helicopters to install and close down fire support bases. One night, as the only sober soldier in our unit, I was called out around 2300 hours to deliver a road wheel section (around two tonnes) via Chinook to a disabled Centurion tank. The Chinook (with 12 inebriated persons aboard) arrived about midnight. After hooking the external load, I was dragged up through the hook hatch in the floor by the Chinook crew chief. On arrival at the grid reference given by the tankies, the strobe light mounted on top of the Centurion was switched on. We spent the next 90-odd minutes trying to find the light emitted by the strobe, with no luck. Finally, the Chinook had to switch on its navigation and landing lights so the tankies could take a compass reading of the bearing shown by the lights and radio it to the pilots. We finally found the disabled tank. The payload was duly delivered.

Service No. 312631