The effects of fifty years is a daunting kind of feeling
I recognised the hill and Luscombe Field’s tarmac sealing
What I once knew as Nui Dat was not so easy to recall
And Whiskey Company’s site was an estimation overall
So too was the chopper pad and where it used to be
The location of the Dust Bowl was no longer plain to view
And where Victor Company was located was also a guess too
Our guide identified the Dust Bowl in a place completely wrong
However being in the area after being away for so long
Made the whole experience precious and also saddening for me
Finding myself in the area made memories I had, return
And 1968 seemed like yesterday somewhat - as I yearned
I imagined so many places that were there so long ago.
Then we headed up the coast to that place I knew, Dat (Doe) Do
To visit the Horse Shoe area and see what I could see
But we couldn’t visit the site as it’s now a quarry too.
Part of the “Horse Shoe” is still there and easy for all to view
Where Three Platoon had their AOR to care for and to roam
So again a little saddened we left Dat Do and headed home
Stopping on our way to eat, for a small fee
For me the trip was exciting and it came with little cost
It was for me a special way to remember those that we had lost
So privately I dropped a “Poppy” on Luscombe Field along the way
Hoerara, Awatere and Petersen, I remembered there that day
And also for those that we have lost over the past fifty years
The effects of fifty years is a daunting feeling. Returning to the area of Nui Dat was almost unidentifiable. I did recognise the hill, Nui Dat, I was also able to recognise Luscombe Field and also the area where Whiskey Company was based. The Chopper Pad was hard to recognise and the Dust Bowl was completely unidentifiable. Our guide identified an area he said was the Dust Bowl, but where he said it was, was on the wrong side of Luscombe Field and not even at the end of Luscombe Field.
Of course just being in the area was an emotional and also a very sad feeling for me. I knew where I was and I could place myself at areas in my mind, but for most of it not to exist was a little heart wrenching. The most satisfying feeling I had was simply to be back in Nui Dat. To stand on an area of what I determined to be where Whiskey Company was, to stand on what I believed was the helipad, to have driven on Luscombe field and looked at the area that would have been the Dust Bowl. These experiences have been an awakening for the year of 1968. Then we headed to Dat Do (Pronounced Dat Doe) and hopefully to view what I knew as the Horse Shoe. Surprisingly, part of the “Horse Shoe” still exists but not being able to go onsite was a little hard never the less it was satisfying.
The Long Tan cross area was a nice visit but I must say that it did not have an emotional feeling for me. I am sure that many feel differently to me and many reading this will probably feel offended but I have to tell you I knew little if anything of Long Tan until years after my time in Viet Nam. I joined the NZ Army in late April early May 1967 and was with Whiskey Company arriving in Vietnam in December 1967.
The most touching experience I had was to have purposely dropped a poppy on what I knew as Luscombe Field. Not only did this mean something to me for the three we lost, Cpl G Hoerara, Pte W Awatere and Pte B Petersen, but also for those we have lost over the past 50 year period.