“I was a National Service Man, aged 21, serving in Vietnam with 3 Platoon. It was July 21st, 1969 and a man had just landed on the moon. We were in the Long Hai mountains, well known for land mines, when our platoon Commander Peter Hines stepped on a enemy mine”
“I will never forget his last orders - ‘Call in a Casavac, call in the assault pioneers & everyone stay still…’ then, silence. He lead us till his final breath.”
“After that moment all hell broke loose, but in his courage and
bravery Peter still told us what to do.”
“In this particular explosion 20 soldiers were wounded with shrapnel, including 2 engineers who were wounded while scouting for other mines. They kept on scouting regardless.”
“I had shrapnel in my right leg, right arm, shoulder and right ear which was removed after being winched from the battle ground and taken to the Army Hospital.”
Leaving the war and heading home is not the end of the road for our service men and women. Peter suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D), which he manages now with medication. He also just recently had more shrapnel removed from his knee after it surfaced some 40 years after being in Vietnam.
“It does change a person after being through something like this. When you are young you disregard it, but as you get older it boils over and now they have given it a name P.T.S.D. It is treatable, thankfully and with a good wife and 2 beautiful kids life is good.”
To this day when Peter and his comrades hear the song “I was only 19” written by John Schumann, he remembers that fateful day in the Long Hai mountains.
“That song has done so much good for the Vietnam Veterans, John gave all the royalties to the Vietnam Veterans Association and has been adopted as the main song to come out from Vietnam. Vietnam was a brotherhood and I look forward to seeing all the blokes that are left every second year at ANZAC celebrations around Australia.”
For more information about the traditions of ANZAC day, click here.