Don Harrod 5RAR Remembers Vietnam (Page 2)
special mention


author: Don Harrod

Don Harrod remembers vietnam

REMEMBER Your Dog Tags? Two Dog Tags were worn, one octagonal, and one round. Each had inscribed the soldier's Regimental Number, name, religion, and blood group. The enterprising digger also had a can opener/bottle opener attached. You never know when a 'coldie' might need to have the lid lifted from it!

australian army dog tags

REMEMBER The Everyman's Hut? The Everyman -- The Salvation Army Officer, was located in each Battalion. He provided a non-denominational point where a soldier could go, have a talk, a cup of coffee, seek spiritual advice, read a book, or just seek a bit of quiet. The "Everyman" asked no questions, was always there to support, and offered no judgement. These blokes were Angels dressed in green.

salvation army hut at nui dat

REMEMBER The Flags at Vung Tau? This was the main intersection in Vung Tau, where the soldiers of the Battalion went on periods of Rest and Convalescence (R&C) leave. The flags of all Nations which supported the war effort in Vietnam, were displayed. The traffic chaos, especially when assistance was given by diggers who had filled up with the amber fluid, was a sight to behold.

'The Flags' at Vung Tau

REMEMBER The Generator? This power unit was run by personnel from Admin Company, and provided power and lighting necessities for our base. In hindsight, our requirements were mainly for lighting, as we had little other power requirements, other than refrigeration.

power generator in the 5rar lines at nui dat

REMEMBER Hammocks on HMAS Sydney? On the forward and return journeys to Vietnam, the personnel on board HMAS Sydney didn't have access to 5 Star accommodation. Each "Mess Deck" had a number of soldiers allocated to each accommodation area. Hammocks were issued; the soldiers had the choice of whether to lay the hammock on the hard steel floor, or hang it up, and whilst lying quite still, having the sensation of the ship rolling around. My choice? -- the floor!

navy hammocks aboard hmas sydney

REMEMBER The Hootchie? A one-man tent, adaptable for any situation. This was the basic accommodation issued to each soldier for his use in the field. Most diggers did not even bother to erect it, except in monsoonal conditions, or periods of heat when in a static situation.

5rar soldier under the hootchie in the bush

REMEMBER The showers at Nui Dat? The picture right shows a typical first tour shower block. The 2nd tour blokes at least had walls around theirs.

primitave shower point 5RAR lines nui dat

Remember The 'Heppo' Roll stalls in Vung Tau? A bread roll, filled with any type of ingredients, ranging from chicken, through to pork, fish, salad, or anything else, and camouflaged with chili. The 'Heppo' Roll, an abbreviation for "Hepatitis Roll", was known to have exactly that effect on the body.

5RAR soldier on R and C in vung tau