It’s funny how life’s lessons are often duplicated in the RAR. I remember the early 1980s in A Coy 8/9 RAR. We were out bush, very undermanned; our section was only six which soon became five. We had been digging every night, if not digging then out on observation posts, or sentry or gun piquet etc…etc…. We were rooted; very, very tired. One night out on an LP, we were relieved early to return back to our location.
‘Great,’ we thought, ‘a bit of rest.’ When we returned our section 21C, Mick Blunt, had to go to orders group (seco wasn’t with us). He came back with a warning order of 30 minutes to move. We were heading out on a combined patrol of about 60 guys to hit an enemy position the next morning. I was tasked to carry the M60, a weapon I didn’t normally carry, but was happy to share the load. So off we went, stop start through the scrub and I have no idea how far it was but it was an all-nighter. Every time we stopped/propped for a while I was struggling to stay awake, as were the others, I’m sure. Anyway, at about 1 am I said to Mick Blunt, “Mate, I am fucked carrying this thing. What’s the chance of swapping?”
“No worries,” Ralphy replied, “give it to me.” So I gave it to him. He disappeared for a couple of minutes and came back with an 84 mm Carl Gustav (Charlie Gutsache).
“There you go, Ralphy,” he said, “all yours!”
The lesson was ‘Be Grateful For What You Have’. No matter how hard you think it is, there is always someone else out there doing it tougher than you. Great lesson learnt.
What gets you promoted from one rank gets you killed in the next rank.

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