Cooktown Orchid was a series of  concurrent company group operations conducted generally in
the area of the Long Hai mountains and surrounding the Horseshoe.  Initially, on 6 April, W
Company participated in Cooktown Orchid IV with C Squadron, 1 Armoured Regiment.  This was
a mounted reconnaissance in force in the Long Green area.  Only one contact was made with a
small enemy party but 14 Viet Cong camps were destroyed and a quantity of equipment
captured by the time the operation concluded on 9 April. On 10 April the Company commenced
Operation Cooktown Orchid V.  The aim of this operation was to destroy the mines in the
minefield between the Horseshoe and the sea, using a Centurion Tank towing a heavy platform.
A Troop of the Armoured Squadron, elements of the Cavalry Squadron and an Engineer Combat
Team were placed under command of W Company. During the occupation of a night harbour on
10 April three members of W Company were wounded by a mine or booby trap.  Clearing the
mines commenced on 11 April but was terminated later in the day because of extensive damage
to the tanks.  While closing the gaps in the minefield on 12 April a mine, only recently laid by the
Viet Cong, was detonated and killed Pte Awatere of 1 Platoon and wounded five others. The
armoured group dispersed on 13 April and W Company participated in a cordon and search of a
village on 14 April (13 suspect Viet Cong were detained), and then returned to Nui Dat late on
that day to conduct local patrols.

On 18 April W Company relieved C Company on Operation Cooktown Orchid I - land clearing
with bulldozers in the jungle area along the northern slopes of the Long Hai mountains. The
platoons provided protection for the engineers and conducted active patrolling either side of the
cut.  A number of new and old camps were destroyed and a large quantity of small arms
ammunition and other equipment was recovered.  

On the 22 April W Company was relieved by the Task Force Reinforcement Unit, and returned to
Nui Dat.
OPERATION COOKTOWN ORCHID
1 - 23 APRIL 1968