“OH! DEER” By Everett Ryan, 3 RAR & 4 RAR
I remember one particular operation I was on; it was the last day in the bush for me with 3 RAR. We were patrolling in some extremely dense jungle, full of ‘wait-a-while vines’. Everyone just wanted to get the day over and done with, then back to Nui Dat. Some of us had discussed the night before that we would try to avoid as best as possible any contact with the enemy; we just wanted to get back to camp. The going was frustratingly slow due to the impenetrable undergrowth, with most of my section cursing and swearing as their weapons and equipment got tangled up in the vines. I was the forward scout that day. All of a sudden, I heard and saw movement to my front. I went to ground, ready to engage the baddies. I signalled everyone to get down and keep quiet as I tried to determine who or what was in front of me. All I could hear was Geoff Phillips, our M60 machine gunner, struggling to get his gun un-hooked. There he was, standing, struggling to get untangled from the foliage, cursing the shit out at the vines, the jungle, the bloody Army – everything. It wasn’t a nice situation as we were about to get into a contact with the enemy. After what must have seemed an eternity, he eventually got free, just as I discovered the movement was in fact a medium-sized deer – to everyone’s relief. Geoff has never stopped cursing me about scaring the shit out of him that day.
Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support.