ZOO RELIEF By Ashley (Pepe) Younie, 5/7 RAR
In the mid ’70s, the Green Machine was in mark-time mode. Vietnam was a memory and the troops were getting pissed off with mess duties and silly exercises out the back of E Range at Holsworthy. So our intrepid CSM at the time decided to boost moral and take the whole company to Taronga Zoo for a bonding session. Say what!
Once at the zoo, time was our own. We had to meet back at 1400 so a few of us older, more senior corporals and diggers (about half a dozen in all) decided to make our way to the closest hotel in Mosman. We were sitting there just about to quaff our first schooner when who walked in? The old crafty, bloody been-there-done-that CSM. We’d been busted. Shit, there was no way out of this. It raced through our minds what charges he would throw at us – absent from place of parade, drinking on duty and of course the old faithful never fails, conduct to the prejudice. They were just a few that he had on us. He was a cranky old bastard. He have more up his sleeve. I could see me on Orderly Cpl forever if I wasn’t busted back to baggyarse that is. To our surprise and delight he said, “G’Day, boys. I thought I’d find you here. Drink up, the next shout is on me. OMG! How good was this? We all had a shout and the CSM bought two. The conversation was great, with the CSM telling a few warries. We ended up having eight schooners in all and best of all we knew we wouldn’t be fizzed as he’d had a beer with us. ‘Great day,’ we thought!
On our way back in the bus (and about 20 km from home) the bladder was yelling out for relief. I decided to ask the CSM if we could have a piss stop and this is where he got his revenge.
“NO WAY. All you arseholes will have to hold it. If any one of you have an accident on MY bus, all of you will be charged for …………….. Well, he didn’t have to finish. We got the message!
After his well laid-out ambush, when he well and truly got us, I still think of him fondly. He was my favourite CSM.