Gary B Parker
Troop Commander
17 Construction Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers,
Nui Dat
Dec 1969 - Dec 1970

I was in South Vietnam from 1969 to 1970 at Nui Dat, with 17 Construction Squadron RAE. I spent six months as an Officer Commanding the Land Clearing Team. We were isolated and responsible for our own defence. It was very hard to hide large plant equipment that we used for knocking down the jungle. Direct attack was always possible, but the major threat was from mines. Incredible bravery from all was involved, but in particular, the plant operators. Their D8 dozers provided good protection but at one stage, every sapper (or member of RAE) had ‘hit’ a mine. Ironically, every day when the Iroquois helicopters were returning to Vung Tau for the evening, they dropped off spare parts and a cooked ‘hot box’ meal to our night defensive position. A shower slung from a Centurion barrel and a hot meal. Things were tough. We loved those Hueys.

Service No. 342867