Ross MacDonald says you won’t see too many of his Vietnam War mates join a queue.
“If it comes to lining up a for a meal for example they’ll just wait. They have a problem with standing around with their back to the door,” he said.
“That’s a left over from the war. They’re still wary.”
Along with other veterans Mr MacDonald will be marching on Vietnam Remembrance Day on Saturday at 10.45am down Pall Mall with a memorial service at the Soldiers Memorial forecourt at 11am.
And along with the other veterans he will be remembering the time he spent based at Nui Dat when the soldiers were on duty 24/7 and hyper vigilant the whole time.
“I knew a lot of men who were casualties or who didn’t come back. An incident of some sort would happen every day,” he said.
“I had a mate, a motor mechanic who was blown off his vehicle. There were mines all around us and if you were out there, you never relaxed.
“There was some times when there was a bit of relief. If the men were out on a mission they couldn’t drink and neither could the ones at base.
“You could drink when everyone was in and the rule was, two cans, per day, perhaps,” he said.
Mr MacDonald came from a farming family near Dookie.
“I wanted to get an apprenticeship, which was pretty hard.
“There were a lot of us kids so when I got an apprenticeship with the army at Puckapunyal I thought that was terrific.”
Mr MacDonald served in Malaya, Brisbane and then Vietnam.
He served for 12 months in Vietnam and when he came home found himself sitting in Sydney airport by himself, dressed in civvies.
“That was it. That was the welcome home. Nobody wanted to know about us back then,” he said.
“In the early days they wouldn’t even let us into the RSL. Most of the services we have now we built up for ourselves.
“Many of the men suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The rates of divorce are high, as is alcoholism. I have to take medication – there’s not many blokes who aren’t on them.”
“There are some blokes we know of who have just packed it in. They live by themselves in the bush.”
A fund raiser will be held this Friday at the Star Cinema.
Funds will be used to support welfare for families, equipment for the men’s shed as well as social events.
“The Odd Angry Shot” will be screening on Vietnam Remembrance Day Eve, Friday, August 17.
The bar at the cinema opens at 6pm with the movie commencing at 7pm. Finger food will be provided.
Tickets are $16 adults, concession $14, seniors and children $11. Phone 5446 2025 to book.
Vietnam Remembrance Day is on Saturday at 10.45am.
March down Pall Mall with a memorial service at the Soldiers Memorial forecourt at 11am.