Whiskey Company came together in November 1967 in Terendak Camp Malaysia. The company was made up from two groups of soldiers.
One group were soldiers who had spent almost a year in Malaysia and were near the end of their first year out of New Zealand. The other
group were soldiers who had just arrived in Malaysia from New Zealand on a two year posting. Because the orders to form a new company for
service in South Viet Nam had only recently been received, this company was put together from many different serving soldiers in many
different rolls. Drivers became gunners and soldiers who had joined the NZ Army at the beginning of that same year became riflemen and
scouts. Around a dozen or so of this company were soldiers who had joined the NZ Army in the early months of that year. Whiskey company
was certainly a mixture of all sorts of Infantry men not only Kiwi but also included some Australians who were now in the New Zealand Infantry.
Because of this mixture we not only had the task of forming a new Rifle Company, we also had the task of getting to know others in our section
in our platoon and in the rest of the company. The company trained for two weeks at Jungle Warfare School (JWS) 17 Kms north of Jahore
Bahru, in Malaysia. Then when we returned from Vietnam we were separated again as some returned to New Zealand and others remained in
Malaysia for a year. All other companies except Victor Company served more time together in Malaysia or Singapore, served together in
Vietnam and in some cases returned to New Zealand together unlike the original Whiskey Company. Whiskey Company became and remains
a close knit company of the Vietnam war.
Of course during our time in Vietnam a time on the "Horseshoe" was something all companies experienced. It was whilst we were on the
"Horseshoe" that the main Tet Offensive began on the 31st of January 1968. Operations were generally in the Phuoc Tuy Province somewhere
and ranged from a few days to a month or more. During these times Whiskey Company patrolled through the jungle area off tracks and
roadways where ever possible. Of course on Ops we had casualties and we also lost three guys so it was as expected whilst we were in
Vietnam. However once the operation was complete then we returned to Nui Dat. In base we could enjoy time out at the Dust Bowl or in some
cases withdraw some Money and head off on Leave .
In order to read about our operational experiences you need to read the TOUR section of this site. The experience was somewhat different for
all who were active there and those experiences will remain forever.
Time has certainly moved on since Our Tour of Sth Viet Nam and much has occurred and many have since then passed away. I know there
isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t spend some time thinking about Vietnam as it is now called. The sound of Helicopters, doves cooing, songs
of ’67 and ’68, rifle shots and of course the mention or reading of Agent Orange always seem to take me back to that time. It was a time in my
life that will never be forgotten for a lot of good as well as some bad stuff. In my reading I came across this.....
“Yes, we think of it every day because it was that significant a chapter in our lives. We think of it because we cared
regardless of the circumstances that sent us there. We think of it because we were treated so badly when we returned.
I also love the comment that PTSD isn't an abnormality, but rather a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.
We think of our brothers we met there and left there and lost track of when we returned. There's so much to think of,
how could we not?”
My thoughts of this war always incoporates others who were involved during the time of those experiences. When remembering others I am
remembering names that belong to individuals and often can't think of their proper name.
When you decide to join the Military you also need to be prepared for all sorts of changes. The way you dress, how you act in various
circumstances, how you address others especially those who outrank you and of course how you respond to assigned tasks or for that matter
almost anything and everything you do, need to be thought through. Why? Because within the first month or so soldiers for some reason or
other are given a nickname which remains with them, not just for their time in the military but for the rest of their life.
Fortunately many will end up with their normal name like Mike, Archie or Tom others will end up with some translation of their surname like
Nooks for Nuku, Peerow for Pereau or Buck for Buchanan.
Nicknames of course are a concern for most others especially if you should end up with some kind of nickname that might be a little
difficult to explain. We in Whiskey Company were no different from other companies. One of our soldiers had the nickname "Rooter",
I have no idea how that originated. However there were others too which I will include here:
The Officer Commanding (OC) the Company was of course "Boss" or "Sir" - he was Major Peter Hotop.
Our company Secound in Command was "Sinky" - he was Captain Barry Sinclair.
Our Company Sergeant Major (CSM) was "Ali" - he was WO 2 Barber.
Our Company Medic was "Doc" - he was Cpl Freeman PS.
"DINGER" for Bell JT, "DINDIN" for Dennistoun-Wood JA, "EGG" for Egerton BD, "HAMBOMES" for Hammet GW,
"HAPPY" for Hapi WC, "HAWKEYE" for Hawkins EW, "NUDE" for Newdick DO, "TONTO" for Te Tau TT and
"TUFILU" for Turuwhenua GW, "RIP" for Ripikoi MW, "WEDGE" for Gedge SN were all nicknames that originated in
some way from their surname.
Two ended up being addresed by their common initials. "JB" Johnny Bryant and John Bluett.
Then off course came the other names: "SPIDER" for Hill S, "JUJU" for Rukupo HM, "JOCK" for Fraser IS, "SCRUFF" for Berry DL,
"FISH" for Hapuku RTR, "MACK" for Herewini R, "RAT" for Hewson WG, "TEX" for Inall DJE, "BUSH" for King WPW,
"GUNDY" for Lawson KH, "HOOKS" for Matthews R, "BABE" for Mills GJ, "MASHER" for Mooney PH, "GLUNK" for Paipa IR,
"CASS" for Powell DR, "SMILEY" for Shirley SR, "PAGAN" for Smith IS, "BILLY BUNTER" for Steel EG, "DONKEY" for Tansy J, "SMEAC" for
Smeath IL, "BUSTER" for Timu ET, "MANNY" for Mokomoko T, "SHORTY" for Ward SAJ and "FITE" for White RG.
Your name never gets forgotten and although people around you now know you by another name and have no idea of what you may have
been called, it remains with those of us who served with you forever. The three common names that remain with ALL of us however are "KIWI"
which is seldom heard as it was then (in an Aussie or American tone), "TAN TAY LAN" which like "KIWI" is seldom heard as it was then (in
Vietnamese) and finally "WHISKEY COMPANY" still heard today and when heard will instantly bring allertness, joy, sadness and a response of
some sort - all at the same time.
Although last, this certainly doesn’t mean it was the least recognised. In actual fact it is probably rated as one of the most memorable
factors of the Vietnam experience not only by Whiskey Company but by 99% of the soldiers who served in South Viet Nam at the time.
This was the (AFVN) Armed Forces Viet Nam radio station and in particular a radio announcer who really wasn’t too well known by
name, Adrian Cronauer, but more because of his morning wake up call, “Goooooooood Morning Vietnam”. His morning show was
always popular and featured all the current hits of the day. It is songs like "Whiter Shade of Pale", “Like a Rolling Stone”, “Have You
Ever Seen the Rain” and of course “Green Green Grass of Home” that will always take me back to those days which for many of us
remain in our thoughts as our time in Vietnam. He was NOT sent home like it says that's what happened in the movie. In actual fact
many of us remember listening to AFVN Saigon when he was counting down the days before he left and we would hear him say
“Goooooooood Morning Vietnam only three and a wake up to go”. Of course on his last day on air “Goooooooood-bye Vietnam”
Written by RP Nuku 7/5/2014