Extract from interview with David Young, 15 January 2008
Reproduced with permission of Neville Manins
But this particular occasion when we'd actually got mortared, and I was actually doing some work on the gun, and the mortars come in. I threw myself against the sandbag wall and as, as I was laying there, I felt so exposed. It, and it, and I had the feeling that I was standing in the middle of – I felt so exposed that I felt as though that I was standing in the middle of a rugby pitch. I just felt so exposed with all these shells going off round me.
And, and, and I – we were talking a wee bit – I was, it was hard for me to move because I was quite fearful, but when the fire mission was called, I went straight to my post which on the gun was the sights of, of, of laying the gun onto the target through the sights. There was another guy on the other side who, who was the leveller. He, after a round, he depressed the barrel and then, and then brought the barrel up to the elevation again that you required. And he literally had a level bubble that, that, that levelled it off at so, so...
In front of the artillery piece is a metal, is, is a big metal shield, and behind that is the big wheels that the gun runs on. And both of us tucked ourselves up in between the, the shield and the wheels and crammed ourselves into that little space. Normally, what you would do is, stand off the gun and lay the, and look through the sights and lay it. And when, and, and when it was time to fire, as soon as you'd laid it, you'd say, "Laid." He'd say, "Level", and then we'd wait for the order to fire, and he'd pull the lanyard to fire the gun. But you'd step away because the gun reared like a bucking bronco and, and, and then settled again. And you didn't really want to be on – but, but with every, with all the mortars and everything going off round us, we just chose to hang on in there, and we literally were little balls in there.
Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage