Behind Enemy Lines: An Australian SAS Soldier in Vietnam

Behind Enemy Lines: An Australian SAS Soldier in Vietnam

Behind Enemy Lines: An Australian SAS Soldier in Vietnam

Behind Enemy Lines: An Australian SAS Soldier in Vietnam

Excerpt

In writing this book I have been ever mindful of two things: professional comment and the tyranny of memory. The latter was reasonably easy to overcome as I was fortunate enough to have access to the patrol reports of the era. They provided me with an accurate, if somewhat abbreviated account of the patrols I was involved in. Thus the facts about contacts and other enemy encounters are accurately recalled. Despite this, there are bound to be differences of perception. Whenever two people witness an event there will always be two different stories. Each will see things differently for all manner of reasons: factors such as experience, culture and intelligence will all influence their accounts. And so with mine—I have recounted events as I saw them and described how they affected me at the time.

Professionally, I would be the first to admit that much of what we did was tactically unsound and I do not seek to ameliorate that in any way. In fact the point of much of this tale is to ensure that modern-day soldiers do not make the same mistakes. But where tactics let us down, personal standards saved the day. We were well trained in the individual aspects of jungle soldiering; our shooting skills, camouflage, movement and map reading were first class and we had the bravado of youth to fall back on. Would I do it differently now if somehow given the chance?—of course I would. Would the results be any different?—maybe, but the final outcome in Vietnam would not have changed. So I suppose it's a moot point.

Finally I have deliberately chosen to write the book as one would tell the story in a bar, perhaps with a few beers under the belt. It's a warts and all account of six years of hectic soldiering and consequently some egos are bound to be bruised, but in the main I have nothing but the highest of praise for my fellow pilgrims during that period.

Readers are warned that this book contains combat descriptions which may offend.

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