5RAR Tiger Logo Artillery in support of 5RAR

Gunner John 'Macca' McMahon and Sgt Khanh

John McMahon & Khanh

Gunner John “Macca” McMahon, left, with South Vietnamese interpreter, Sergeant Khanh in B Company lines at Nui Dat in 1969. Macca was the radio operator for the artillery forward observer (or FO) attached to B Company, 5RAR in 1969-70. He became friends with Sgt Khanh who he described as a “great little bloke who saved my bacon on more than one occasion with his uncanny ability to spot booby traps.”

Macca, who returned to Australia at the end of his National Service obligation in February 1970, has often wondered what happened to his friend. He corresponded with Khanh and received one reply but then the letters stopped. In that one letter Khanh was clearly envious of “my best friend” and wished he too could have come to Australia but wished Macca good luck and asked that he not be forgotten. He also asked Macca to get him a nice hot Aussie girl and agreed with his friend’s saying of “make love, not war”. He finished by asking to be remembered to all his friends from 5RAR and said that he would continue fighting the VC until the enemy were all dead. However, one suspects that 1975, the year the North Vietnamese defeated South Vietnam, was not a good year for Sgt Khanh. To read Khanh's letter Click Here