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Roy “Doc” Savages’ Diaries
       
 
JUNE 1970 to MARCH 1971
 
 

2 JUN 70

 

Last night we were ambushing to the Southwest of Lo Gom when it was attacked. We were some 1,000 metres from the village and had a ringside seat watching all the different coloured tracer, red and green. The problem was that the ARVN called for artillery and mortar support and the spent parachute flare tubes( they weigh approximately 10 kg and are steel) were landing all around us. Bloody nice if we receive casualties from these.

 
 
 
  81MM Illumination round in hand
 
 

  

3 JUN 70

 

We did a sweep of the Long Hai Mountains causing three heat exhaustion cases, Ptes Drakefield, Davies and Lcpl Trim, Trim was dusted off.

 

4 JUN 70

 

I am being sent back to Nui Dat as they feel I need a break, so they are sending me down to Saigon as Saigon Guard Commander. I hope it turns out better than my last tour in 67.

 

5 JUN 70

 

Preparing for Saigon Guard back at Nui Dat.

 

6 JUN 70

 

I flew to Saigon at 0730hrs. That morning at 0320hrs one enemy approached my platoon's position. The follow up at first light revealed a blood trail. They found one pack containing food and a small container of petrol. At 0800hrs the platoon hit a mine, which was detonated by the patrol returning from following up the blood trail, killing three. Ptes Navarre, Larrson, and Dickson, wounded were Ohalloran and Molyneux. This hit me pretty bad as I should have been there.

 
 
 
  M16 Anti-Personnel Mine
 
 

One of my guard got into a fight with a young signaller who was stationed in Saigon and broke his jaw. It seems that the signaller tried to tell my bloke that there was no need for Infantry in Vietnam; that the job we were doing could be done better with artillery and air. He then stated that it was more dangerous in Saigon than it was in Phouc Tuy. At this stage there was a bone shattering smash, I decided not to step in and stop the fight and told the Guard on duty at the front that I was going for a walk.

 

That night I got into a very heated argument with two Warrant Officers who were discussing an ambush that had taken place on Anzac day (my ambush). They saw that I was Infantry and decided to ask my opinion and proceeded to tell me how they could have done it better (at this stage they didn't know I had been the commander of that ambush). Well, because I was depressed over the mine incident, I let go. The next day I was fronted before the RSM of Saigon and reprimanded. So much for Saigon Guard..

 

13 JUN 70

 

I returned to Nui Dat just in time for R & C in Vung Tau.

 
 
 
 

LtoR Bruce Flockhart, Les Kail, Bill Graham,

Mick Ohalloran, Dale Marshall and Frank Wood

At Badcoe Club Vung Tau 1970

 
 

17 JUN 70

 

Today we are going down to Vung Tau for two days R & C, we should get there around midday.

 

18 JUN 70

 

0400hrs a trip flare was activated possible caused by an animal.

 

0930hrs. A soldier from Callsign 42 (11Pl D Coy) stood on a M16 mine, the mine jumped three feet into the air but failed to go off. The mine was subsequently destroyed.

 

2015hrs Callsign 23 (6Pl B Coy) made contact with between 10 and 15 enemy, at the time of contact they were moving into their final position and were approximately 150 metres from the enemy. The enemy party broke to the Northeast into the village of Dat Do. Negative results.

 

19 JUN 70

 

We are heading back to Nui Dat, we should get there around 1300hrs. We will then prepare to go out scrub on the 20th.

 

20 JUN 70

 

0530hrs. Callsign 2 (B Coy) had a contact with one enemy, the enemy approached on a footpad from the Southwest. The enemy was killed and was carrying 30lbs of rice, a letter and a notebook.

 

0630hrs. Callsign 2 found a mine warning sign on the foot pad, informing all that the area to the south of the river was mined.

 

1145hrs. Callsign 23 (6Pl B Coy) located an old bunker system.

 

1200hrs we have just been in contact and are now in a bunker system, which we are searching. We found the following, five M16 mines, one 106mm shell, a quantity of Chicom explosives, one thousand lbs. of rice, fishing nets, baskets and some medical supplies.

 

1230hrs. Callsign 10C (one zero charley a sub unit of A Coy) had a contact with one enemy, results one enemy KIA. At 1355hrs they found a cache of rice.

 

21 JUN 70

 

We are still searching the bunker system and have found a blood trail. So far there are seventeen bunkers, a quantity of cooked rice. The system is extensively booby-trapped with mines; two cross bows set up and mortar rounds.

 

0600 B Coy heard a loud explosion on a bearing of 1000 mils and a distance of 1000 metres.

 

0800hrs. Callsign 3 (CHQ) found a blood trail possible from our contact yesterday.

 

1315hrs. CHQ had a contact with no results.

 

1430hrs A Coy have found a bunker system. In it were two CBU's, one RPG round, one Aust mug, four cooking pots and two pair of boots in good condition.

 

1440hrs. D Coy found a grave this morning containing a body buried about one month ago. It had been shot through the head.

 

11Pl D Coy found a bunker system yesterday morning which had ten bunkers. Found in the system were two M79 rounds, 20 M17 mags, one VC gas mask and one entrenching tool.

 

2010hrs. Callsign 11 (1Pl A Coy) made contact with approximately ten enemy. The results were two enemy WIA, captured was 20lbs of rice.

 

2030hrs. Callsign 12A (A Coy) had a contact with three to four enemy. The enemy approached from the Southwest. On contact the enemy immediately broke and ran to Lang Phouc Hai.

 

2100hrs. There was movement around FSPB Discovery. It was engaged by Tango Three with no results.

 

22 JUN 70

 

We moved 1700 metres west and set up ambush, Recce Platoon have just hit a mine causing four friendly wounded. A second mine was found in the area.

 

2010hrs. Callsign 21 (4Pl B Coy) made contact with eight to ten enemy at close range. The enemy opened fire with AK47's and an RPG. The enemy withdrew east and Southeast. The results were three friendly WIA's, there were no known enemy casualties. A sweep the next morning found a torch and a web belt.

 

 

 

 
 
 
  Enemy with AK47 and RPG7
 
 

23 JUN 70

 

We moved back to the Horseshoe where we'll be ambushing at night from.

  Aerial photograph of the Horseshoe

 

 

Callsign 33 Alpha at the Horseshoe just before going out on an ambush patrol 1970

 

29 JUN 70

 

Our area of ambushing has changed to the other side of Dat Do between Dat Do and the Long Hais so we might get something.

 

30 JUN 70

 

The end of another month. The platoon tonight will be going out as two separate Callsigns, 33A, which I am commanding, will be going to the bridge north of here and 33 will be going south of Dat Do.

 

1 JUL 70

 

Support Section contacted fifteen to twenty enemy at 2000hrs. Result 1 enemy KIA, 1 M16 and 1 RPG7 captured.

 

2 JUL 70

 

It is our night on at the Horseshoe, we will be manning Charley Gun (50 Cal HMG).

 

3 JUL 70

 

Recce platoon had a contact with two VC at 1800hrs result unknown. At 2300hrs two enemy walked into their ambush with the results that two enemy blew up.

 

4 JUL 70

 

A man from Recce platoon stood on a mine. The mine jumped but did not go off.

 

5 JUL 70

 

It's our night in on Charley Gun piquet at the Horseshoe.

 

6 JUL 70

 

We are to ambush to the east of the 'Shoe' tonight.

 

7 JUL 70

 

Last night was a miserable night for us. It was raining and we got a message over the radio that the locators at the 'Shoe' had detected enemy movement to the east of us, so we relocated. They then said the enemy were to our south, so again we relocated. This happened three times before we said enough is enough. In 1973, whilst in Recruiting I was working with an artillery man Dave Doyle and we were discussing different things that happened to us in Vietnam, when he related to me a funny story of how one night they had moved a Grunt patrol all over the place to relieve boredom on the Shoe. I was not impressed (and I told him so), small world though!

 

10 JUL 70

 

We ambushed again to the east of the Shoe. This time near a pagoda. At 2320hrs we heard voices approximately 50 metres away. Due to the rain, it was hard to tell. I took a rifleman with me to check it out with no results.

 

11 JUL 70

 

Tonight I have to take an American Colonel out with me on ambush. I have told him he must obey any orders I may have to give, I don't really think there will be any problems.

 

12 JUL 70

 

1330hrs. Callsign 23 (6Pl B Coy) found a bunker system extending over an area 300 x 200 metres. It is a new system.

 

1930hrs. 8 Pl contacted six to ten enemy. The enemy approached from the south. The results were four enemy WIA (BC), two enemy WIA, drags (Marks); captured was one M16, and one M16 mine.

14 JUL 70

 

1930hrs. 8 Pl sighted one enemy moving from the south towards the platoons position, the area was engaged by artillery with negative results.

 

2025hrs. Lt Kibbey's patrol detonated one booby-trapped M26 grenade, which wounded Pte Ferris, and if my memory serves me right Lcpl Trim.

 

 

 

 
 
 
  M26 set up as booby trap
 
 

15 JUL 70

 

0755hrs. Callsign 12A (A Coy) detonated a mine with the result being three friendlies were WIA.

 

2240hrs. 7 platoon made contact with one enemy who threw a grenade with the result one friendly WIA.

 

16 JUL 70

 

1000hrs. Callsign 12 (A Coy) located an old bunker system with eight bunkers in it last used two weeks ago. In the system were three 60mm mortar bombs.

 

1125hrs. 8 platoon contacted four VC. They were sighted 200 metres across a clearing, the results were: captured four packs, and digging implements, one drag mark was found on follow up.

 

1500hrs. Callsign 23 engaged two enemy dressed in greens. They were fired on with small arms with no results.

 

1720hrs. 8 platoon contacted two enemy who approached from the Southeast, the enemy were dressed in khaki. The results were one enemy WIA (blood trail) the trail was followed up for 400 metres.

 

CHQ sighted three enemy 200 metres to the east of their position, no results.

 

17 JUL 70

 

0818hrs. Support section made contact with two enemy dressed in khaki shirts and blue trousers. The results were two VC KIA; two packs and one AK47 captured. A quantity of documents were in the packs.

 

18 JUL 70

 

7 Pl found a bunker system at 1145hrs this morning. It was built within the last few months and occupied approximately eight to ten days ago.

 

Callsign 21A made contact with two enemy dressed in black. The results were one VC KIA, one carbine and one pack CIA. The enemy were moving out of the village heading east.

 

19 JUL 70

 

1320hrs. We have just found a bunker complex. There are fifteen bunkers each with two feet of OHP. They were constructed within the last six months and occupied within the last eight hours.

 

2000hrs. D Coy had a contact with two enemy as they were moving into their ambush position. The enemy initiated the contact, then withdrew to the Northeast with no results.

 

20 JUL 70

 

2345hrs. 6 platoon B Coy heard four single rifle shots and heard voices due west from their location.

 

Between 20 Jul through to early August we hit two more mines. The first, while the patrol was on board a Centurion Tank. The tank ran over an anti personnel mine doing very little damage but scaring the hell out of all of us. The second was down near the Long Hais when an APC struck a mine and turned it onto its side. People are starting to call us mine platoon instead of nine platoon.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
  The APC my platoon was on
 
 

3 AUG 70

 

The battalion mounted operation CUNG CHUNG 2. During this operation we were patrolling through fairly thick scrub when the signal came back that the forward scout had spotted a mine. I crawled forward and saw what looked to be a D10 (enemy equivalent to our claymore only twice as powerful). I ordered the patrol back out of the way, took the pliers and started crawling forward. I didn't go directly at the mine, but aimed for between it and where I thought the enemy might be. When I got there, which took about 30 minutes, I cut the wire then crawled back out of the area to where the patrol was waiting. We then put in a section sweep from the right flank only to find that I'd cut the wire of a very expensive censor device. Oh well, better to be sure than sorry! 131 Div Loc Battery were not impressed.

 

5 AUG 70

 

Last night I had an encounter with an unwelcomed intruder. We had put ourselves into a clump of bamboo for the night, I was asleep when I felt this thing on my face which I thought was a frog as it was cold and clammy. I soon realised it wasn't a frog as there was a weight on my chest as well. It was then I realised it was a snake. It took over an hour to slither over my chest, across my face and off. As soon as it was gone I placed my machete along side of me for the rest of the night. I don't know what I would have done with it if another snake had appeared. The next day we saw a Bamboo Viper in the bamboo so if that had bitten me that would have been the end.

 

6 AUG 70

 

Today we received a resupply by APC. Sgt John Pepper was the commander of the APC's. After the resup he was to take us to a new location. On the way we came in contact and the APC's took off after the enemy with us holding on. Halfway across this open clearing they did a sharp turn to the right, leaving me with no Carrier underneath me. I landed fairly heavily and cursed John when he came back to pick me up.

 

8 AUG 70

 

0955hrs. 7 platoon found a staging area extending over an area 100 x 300 metres. The system had been reconditioned in the last four to five days.

 

11 AUG 70

 

1700hrs. D Coy located a body approximately three weeks old. The body was credited to Aslt Pnr Pl contact on the 27 Jun 70.

 

12 AUG 70

 

0910hrs. A26 Possum took ground fire. The hydraulics line was shot away, tail rotor was damaged, there were no injuries to the pilot or passenger.

 

13 AUG 70

 

We have just found a bunker system. In it we found four 25 set batteries which we destroyed in Situ.

 

14 AUG 70

 

We sighted two enemy at 0917hrs this morning at a distance of 300 metres, we tried to follow them but lost their trail. One was dressed in black the other was wearing a grey shirt.

 

2030hrs. Callsign 12A (2 Pl A Coy) had a contact with nine enemy who approached from the west. The results were four VC KIA, captured was one AK47, one M79. The enemy withdrew west. Artillery was used in blocking role on likely withdrawal routes.

 

15 AUG 70

 

We found an old defensive position at four o'clock this afternoon. There were 250 metres of slit trench. The position has not been used for two years although there were fresh tracks running through the position. We are going to stay and ambush this position until the 18th.

 

18 AUG 70

 

1620hrs. Callsign 6 Zero Bravo found fresh cuttings, an animal trap and a marker in a tree consisting of a piece of red material estimated seven days old.

 

1530hrs. A M16 mine was detonated by a cow. The mine was one of several in a defensive position around an RF Post, the field was not marked in any way. Stupid South Vietnamese!

 

19 AUG 70

 

We found tracks of three enemy leading east and some sign-leading north. I have requested that we ambush the tracks, permission was granted.

 

22 AUG 70

 

1100hrs. Callsign 23 (6 Pl B Coy) found a bunker system. The system was last used three weeks ago. There were some medical equipment and supplies found which were destroyed.

 

23 AUG 70

 

2345hrs. Callsign 12A contacted three enemy at a range of eighty metres. The enemy were moving west to east and withdrew to the north after contact. The area was illuminated and a limited follow up was conducted with negative results.

 

24 AUG 70

 

We are again on the move the ambush produced nothing. We will patrol to the west.

 

25 AUG 70

 

1020hrs. Callsign 12 (2 Pl A Coy) made a contact with four enemy. Three enemy were believed to have been wounded. On follow up one VC (WIA) was captured the other two escaped. The VC subsequently died of wounds.

 

26 AUG 70

 

1115hrs. Callsign 61 sighted two enemy. The enemy withdrew north, Recce platoon followed up and located a camp recently vacated. The camp was used by up to ten people and was still being constructed.

 

27 AUG 70

 

We are now ambushing at GR 498612. We will be on the move shortly. We will take a resup this morning.

 

30 AUG 70

 

1020hrs. Callsign 62 have found a bunker system, which has been used within the last six months.

 

1650hrs. 578 RF Coy reported finding twenty-two M16 Anti personnel mines.

 

2235hrs. Callsign 12A (A Coy) had a contact with one VC he approached from the west. Results were 1 AK47 mag captured.

 

31 AUG 70

 

0710hrs. Callsign 12A located one M16 mine the detonator was intact.

 

1 SEP 70

 

We returned to Nui Dat. Today was the Battalions birthday. The CO flew up onto the top of the Long Hai's and planted our Battalion flag on his own. tonight the Artillery fired a Starshell mission over the mountain in the shape of the Southern Cross to wish us a happy birthday.

 

2 SEP 70

 

We located a system, which extends from GR 498605 to GR 499602. In it we found nine M16 mines, one M26 grenade set up with an anti lift device, one M60 and one mortar round set up as a booby trap. After we had deloused them all we found that the M16 mines were from the Australian minefield.

 

3 SEP 70

 

0810hrs. A Coy located one M16 mine.

 

We were reacted from the Horseshoe today. We moved out by tracks to Callsign 31's position. From there we split into two Callsigns 33 and 33A. I took 33A over to GR 523654. At 2000hrs we heard a noise to our front so I took myself, Ptes Cox, Matulick and White out on a sweep of the area, we found nothing.

 

4 SEP 70

 

We linked up with 33 at 0700hrs. We then moved to 31. Then on to 0A (Zero Alfa). From there we moved to GR 537650 where we took a resup off the APC's. On our return to 0A we moved to GR 535676 where we ambushed for the night.

 

5 SEP 70

 

Today we started off moving Northwest to the blue line then along that for 600 metres west; we then had to go 900 metres. On arriving at the grid reference we found tracks heading north. Nothing came of them, we moved Northwest to GR 515680 where we set up an ambush. 33 at this stage are at GR 519681, 0A at GR 520650.

 

6 SEP 70

 

0024hrs. A Coy engaged with the enemy. Earlier on in the night a report had been received that a group of enemy had entered the village in the area of the military post at the Southwest corner of Lang Phuoc Hai. The results of the contact were one VC KIA, one M26 grenade captured. A third VC was seen to head back into the village. This is another case of the ARVN working with the enemy.

 

0036hrs. A Coy again made contact with the enemy. This time with one VC. The enemy approached from the Northeast and could have been involved with the earlier contact. The results of this contact were one VC WIA (heavy blood trail), one pack containing documents was captured. The blood trail went to the south.

 

At 0900hrs we engaged six enemy at GR 515584 with no results. At 1230hrs 30 Charley engaged three enemy resulting in one enemy KIA. My patrol are proving to be a very professional group.

 

1255hrs. CHQ had a contact with one VC wearing black, the results of this contact was one VC KIA documents on the body identified the VC as being from D445.

 

7 SEP 70

 

Callsign 33 found enemy tracks. We joined up with them and followed the track. We are now ambushing, 33 at GR 502669 and 33A at GR 505668.

 

1315hrs. A Vietnamese civilian reported finding an M16 mine with pin removed.

 

8 SEP 70

 

We are separate again today from 33, to ambush for the day and tonight.

 

9 SEP 70

 

Today we took on a resup by APC then moved back up north. We are now at GR 499685.

 

A Coy located an M16 mine and destroyed it in Situ.

 

10 SEP 70

 

We searched the area around the Soui Lo O Nho. We found a track possibly two days old and ambushed it.

 

11 SEP 70

 

We engaged three enemy at a range of approximately 300 metres. The problem I had is that Callsign 33 were directly in line with my patrol some 6 to 700 metres away and I was afraid they may receive some overshoots. I warned 33 to keep their heads down then opened up. The chances of hitting them were slim. I immediately got my patrol to move forward using fire and movement. When we got past the area where we had seen them all we found was a torch and a piece of webbing that one of them had dropped. After reorganising ourselves we moved north and are now ambushing at GR 501715.

 

12 SEP 70

 

We are flying back to the Horseshoe today. The Op is over.

 

From 13 September to 6 October we continued our ambush patrols out from the Shoe. However the CO along with the RSM have decided to try a new tactic, one which I do not agree with, and that is instead of moving out and ambushing for the night we will now patrol through the night. We are putting ourselves in a position we would like the enemy to be in and that is on the move at night". This is not Korea where there is a definite front line. We will move out through Charley Gun and patrol east then north across west and then back into the bridge to the north of the 'Shoe'.

 

It was during this time that I had to take an ambush patrol of eight men up into the Long Hai Mountains to ambush for five days. On our second night we received a call from Zero Alfa that there was approximately 350 enemy heading our way back into the hills. We were not to engage them. I passed the word round that no one was to sleep (in case of snoring). I then requested and was given permission to go onto radio silence. After switching the radio off we settled down to wait. At 2343hrs we heard the enemy approaching along the track we were ambushing. It took between 30 and 45 minutes for them to pass us (I might add it seemed like 5 hours). I was afraid the enemy might smell the fear that was coming from all of us. At 0115hrs I broke radio silence to let company know we were all right, my heart was still pounding in my ears. The next day a young Vietnamese boy was blown up when his oxen stood on a mine.

 

We have been issued with a piece of equipment that is interesting. It is a system that you surround yourself with whilst in ambush. It is an early warning device that is pegged into the ground to the North, South, East and West of your position. If anything walks close to it, it beeps. For example, once if around the one to the front, twice if around the right one, three times rear and four times left.

 

7 OCT 70

 

We are preparing to go out for another five days. All senior NCO's are to see the director of Infantry Colonel Preece. Nothing interesting came of it. Today is C day, Currency Change Day, Dick Bailey (our CQMS) brought my Scope out so I took it down and zeroed it in. All the nitrogen had leaked out of it. At 1830hrs we moved out by APC to our ambush position at GR 467569 we got into position by 2100hrs and had a quiet night.

 

8 OCT 70

 

0500hrs stand-to. We brought our Claymores and censor devices in. My patrol consists of Drakefield, Matulick, Cox, Lindsay, Peat, Harwood, Manson, Trickey Ballenden, Gissell, Williams and myself. At 0550hrs we moved into our day lay-up area.

 

9 OCT 70

 

Last night was a quiet night as far as we were concerned. B Coy had a patrol clash and the MAT Team had a contact just north of Lang Phouc Hai with negative results. Today is going to be another hot day.

 

10 OCT 70

 

Another hot day we were spotted by a bunch of kids looking after their cattle so I'll have to change positions tonight. We'll move into our night ambush position with all our gear then find a new spot tomorrow morning.

 

11 OCT 70

 

We are now at GR 466569.It is an old lay-up position, possibly of Callsign 4's (D Coy). Lets hope those kids don't drive their cattle this way today. At 1720hrs we heard a large explosion Northeast of our position. 31A and 33 both reported the same explosion. 2200hrs 0A reported that the explosion was at GR 496556. It was about 20 to 30 lbs of explosives and had been set off by a civilian herding his cattle along route 326. In all probability the mine had been set up to catch vehicles travelling along that road.

 

12 OCT 70

 

We returned to the Horseshoe. Piquet on Charley Gun tonight, it would be nice to have a night off.

 

13 OCT 70

 

We ambushed 100 metres north of the bridge.

 

14 OCT 70

 

We moved out to XUAN MOC with seven days rations on our backs. The troops are heavily loaded down. No one is impressed. At the moment we have stopped for a break. The going is rough due to the weight we are carrying. Callsign 31 and 32 are operating east of the village and 0A are operating to the north. At 1910hrs, 31 had a contact when three enemy walked into their ambush as they were putting it down. A sweep was done revealing 1 AK47 and a blood trail.

 

15 OCT 70

 

Callsign 31 did another sweep and found 2 bodies plus 1 RPG7 and another AK47 plus an M16. One of the enemy was identified as a medic from C70. His father lives in XUAN MOC. The two Callsigns now consist of: Callsign 33. Kibbey, Quirk, Boast, Marshall, Davies, Trickey, Ballenden, plus two engineers. Callsign 33A. Savage, Gissell Flockhart, Drakefield, Gommerman, Peat, Lindemire, Sing the Bushman Scout plus the MFC.

 

16 OCT 70

 

We heard voices on a bearing of 4300 mills at a distance of 100 metres. From the 16th until the 28th we continued to patrol the area with no results.

 

17 OCT 70

 

2114hrs. There was movement around Brigid. The enemy were engaged with .30 cal machineguns at a distance of 400 metres.

 

19 OCT 70

 

We located a transit camp at GR 662719. The camp was 150 x 150 metres. It was estimated to be about three years old and used about a month ago. It is in poor condition. Five Thomson sub machine gun magazines were found and destroyed by hand.

 

2000hrs at Xuyen Moc a body was found in the area and credited to C/S 31's contact on the 14th of Oct.

 

20 OCT 70

 

D Coy heard a claymore being fired followed by bursts from an M16. No further information is available.

 

28 OCT 70

 

At 1120hrs we located an old bunker system estimated to be about two years old and has not been used for a few months, the system covers 250 x 150 metres. It contains bunkers 8 x 6 feet with 12 to 18 inch OHP plus fighting pits, the system is in very good condition it is at GR 583669.

 

29 OCT 70

 

Returned to Horseshoe.

 

30 OCT 70

 

My platoon is being sent back to Nui Dat for a rest (the troops deserve it).

 

31 OCT 70

 

So much for our rest! We got back in yesterday and two hours later I was told to get the platoon ready to go out and reinforce the KIWI Coy who are operating in the Nui Thai Vai area. I will be in command as Kibbey is on R & R.

 

2 NOV 70

 

We had a contact this morning resulting in 2 enemy KIA.

 

3 NOV 70

 

Today is Melbourne Cup Day. The war stopped for the running of the race, which was put over the radio. Would you believe it, a bloody KIWI horse won the race. I have had nothing but shit from the Kiwi’s over the radio since the race.

 

4 NOV 70

 

We returned to Nui Dat.

 

5 NOV 70

 

We are to rejoin the company at the 'Shoe' today as another OP is about to start tomorrow.

 

6 NOV 70

 

We moved out from the 'Shoe' by APC up into the Tan Ru area.

 

1435hrs. C/S 22A (B Coy) had a contact. Apparently the enemy moved in quietly onto an OP established by the patrol. The enemy engaged the soldier in the OP. The soldier was wounded but remained on duty.

 

1535hrs. 7 Pl engaged one enemy as he approached from the Northeast. The enemy was dressed in green shirt and black trousers. Results were one VC KIA, captured were a pack and a quantity of food.

 

7 NOV 70

 

Today we will patrol to the Northeast up towards the Song Rai.

 

8 NOV 70

 

At GR 574702 we located an old bunker system that hasn't been used for quite some time.

 

9 NOV 70

 

0555hrs. 6 Pl B Coy located an M16 mine when a soldier stood on the mine while crossing a track. The mine jumped but failed to detonate. There was a mine sign on either side of the track in the form of sticks in a cross. The mine is thought to have been laid within the last three weeks.

 

18 NOV 70

 

We are still on the OP, at 1500hrs at GR 702669 we found a circular shaped bunker system with T shape bunkers.

 

20 NOV 70

 

At 0945hrs at GR 675718 we found another bunker system consisting of ten bunkers 8 x 6 x 2 feet with 2 feet OHP. All bunkers were T shaped, entry and exit tracks are to the north and south, the system is about six months old and last used two months ago, we will stay and ambush in the area.

 

We have moved north and have found bunkers at 1600hrs, we can still smell smoke. I have radioed 0A that I am going to take two men and do a clearing patrol out fifty metres. We followed a well-used track up sixty metres, found nothing so we returned.

 

23 NOV 70

 

At 1803 hrs we had a contact with two enemy who caught me by surprise as I had my boots off airing my feet. The enemy approached from the north. The blokes in the western MG pit had put Sing the bushman scout on piquet, the enemy saw him and thought he was one of them and started talking to him, our bushman scout panicked and opened fire.

 

After my heart started again I raced across to the northern gun. I picked up the gun and fired a 200 round burst from the hip, normally I would kick the arse of any Machinegunner for firing a burst like that, and later I had to explain to the OC who had fired and why such a long burst.

 

Anyway I then took four men and did a sweep to our front where we found an M16 rifle and a heavy blood trail. Still carrying the machinegun, I took the four men and as forward scout I started following the trail. We were heading in the same direction we had smelt the smoke in the afternoon before. At seventy-five metres we came across a new bunker system which had been occupied the previous night and had been hastily evacuated within the last ten minutes (if we had gone another 25 metres we would have hit them the afternoon before). We spent the next two days searching and destroying the system.

 

24 NOV 70

 

Today is my birthday! Boy, I feel fifty years old instead of twenty-seven.

 

1 DEC 70

 

We flew back to Nui Dat. Op Chung Cung 3 is over. For the next few weeks we worked out of the Horseshoe doing patrols that I, as I've said before, strongly disagreed with. We would leave the Horseshoe at last light and patrol all through the night stopping occasionally to ambush. Christmas was spent out on operations in the north of the province. We returned to the Horseshoe where the cooks prepared a belated Christmas dinner. We were to eat it the day after it was prepared. Unfortunately someone stole all the Turkeys that night; so on the day all we got was a piece of paper with an IOU one turkey on it. (In 1987 at the Welcome home parade those that stole the Turkey's owned up and would you believe it was men from my platoon. They were dispatched to KFC to buy the biggest Chicken that they could buy).

 

January was spent patrolling and ambushing out from the Horseshoe. My Diaries of this time have been lost.

 

6 FEB 71 O GROUP

 

Situation: Enemy. D445 PLUS 274 VC Regt plus the Ba Long Province HQ. Friendly Forces. C Coy plus 6 combat engineers. There are no civilians in the area.

 

Execution General Outline: Phase one C Coy is to fly out of Kanga Pad. Phase two, we are to move to our platoon AO's. 9 Pl plus two engineers will secure the Landing Zone at 0800hrs. Rations Resups will be on the 12th and 17th of Feb. We will initially carry 5 days plus six water bottles per man. Take happy pills (Pills taken before we return to Australia as we only have 19 days before we go home). 800 rounds per gun plus twenty Claymores per platoon. The sections will be 1 section. Kibbey, Wood, Bert, Low, Ballendon, Cox and Pascoe. 2 Section. Quirk, Matulick, Graham, Luke, Gommerman, Sing and Davies. 3 Section. Savage, Gissell, Peat, Williams, Marshall, Ockendon, and Drakefield.

 

7 FEB 71

 

C Coy deployed south of the May Taos today. We secured the LZ then the Coy came in. 7 platoon followed CHQ then 8 Pl came in. The Coy complete then moved north. We left CHQ and moved further north where we ambushed. We remained in that ambush with no results until the 10th.

 

11 FEB 71

 

I took a party back to CHQ who had moved up to the transit camp. We refilled with water then guided CHQ up to our position. We then moved from there, Northeast for 600 metres.

 

12 FEB 71

 

We took on a resup then ambushed and patrolled until the 17th of Feb. Took on another resup and finished our final Op on the 20th. We have five days left in-country.

 

25 FEB 71

 

We flew by Chinook to the flight deck of the HMAS Sydney. The senior NCO's were allocated the same cabin we had on the way up (four November one).

 

10 MAR 71

 

We disembarked from the Sydney at Garden Island in Sydney. I had the Asian strain of Gastro-enteritis, which laid me up for the first two weeks I was home. The Area Medical Officer said I should have been quarantined and wrote a report to that effect. We marched through the streets of Sydney on that day and that was the last time I saw a lot of the men of 9 Platoon C Coy 7 RAR until October 1987 in Sydney when we were welcomed home. Some I will never see again due to psychological problems or those who have taken their own lives.

 

I have been advised by a bloke who has read these diaries in their draft form, to leave certain things and incidents out as they may be too graphic and could disturb some people. So I have done just that.

 

I look back now and believe that people will never understand what that War did to a lot of good men and women I used to get asked quite often "Oh! You're a Vietnam Veteran, and what's wrong with you" or I would overhear such things as. 'All Vietnam veterans are crazy. I have even heard the wife of a veteran say "All Vietnam Veterans are like Children and should be treated as such".

 

At this time I found out that Jane Fonda the Actress had taken a film crew across to North Vietnam to interview the American Prisoners of War to make them confess to their War Crimes against the innocent people of North Vietnam. She was responsible for American POW’S dying. I refuse to watch any movie that that seditious Bitch has acted in, and will never ever watch any of her movies.

 

Many Men did not ask to be sent to Vietnam, they just didn't have a choice. Some had it bloody easy whilst others suffered.

 

After leave I reported back to 7RAR. It wasn’t long after that, that the Labour Party abolished National Service. As soon as it was announced men deserted in droves. We virtually lost all the Nasho’s overnight. These deserters were to later receive a Medal. (National Service Medal)

 

Having no troops, it was decided that 7RAR would become a school. So myself, Graham Griffith, MM, Kev Gillett and Eddy Edmonds were given the task of writing and proving the Administration and Leadership part of the new system of promotion courses. This took six months. The leadership Pam’s that we wrote are still being used now in 2004.

 
 
 
  Roy Savage at High Range West of Townsville Dec 2003
 
     
   
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