THE PARTING SHOTS – Commemorating the Battles of Long Khanh and Nui Le

He was just a kid with acne, when he first wore his jungle greens

About to learn the hard way, life’s seldom what it seems

An Asian war was raging, yet he was keen to go

He didn’t see the folly, all those years ago

 

Through rookies and corps training, an S.L.R. was his best mate

He prayed it would protect him, no matter what his fate

He boarded the “Vung Tau Ferry” and set out across the sea

To 1.A.T.F. Headquarters in the province of Phouc Tuy

 

The foe was well prepared and it’s now part of lore

The situation was desperate, so they called in the armoured corps

For there is one thing that he learned and on this he was frank

If you want to reach retirement age, don’t take on a Centurian Tank

 

The RAAF lost a chopper, and two of its’ gallant crew

3 R.A.R met the challenge, ‘till the enemy withdrew

It was like a scaled down Overlord, from where the operation got it’s name

Twenty-seven years the difference, but the result was just the same

 

The battle was hardly over and it was on again

An R.P.G. took out an A.P.C. and they lost seven brave men

The final mission loomed, Operation Ivanhoe

For those still left “in country”, it was the final show

 

After eleven years in that quagmire, they brought the Aussies home

Over 500 gravestones, nightmares and a poem

The paddy fields are silent from the cacophony of the guns

Take the time to ponder, they were Australia’s sons

 

Mateship that was created, in that land so far away

Can still be witnessed, to this very day

And a statement we all use, as we wander dangers’ track

“Hang on mate don’t worry. You know I’ve got your back”

 

Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton

7 June 2021

 

FILE PHOTO: Private Frank Jelen of 3RAR sitting on an armoured recovery vehicle during Operation Overlord on the border of Phuoc Tuy and Long Khanh Provinces, June 1971.


 
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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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