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 era.
The Officer Commanding (OC) our company was Major Peter Hotop with Captain Barrie Sinclair as the company 2IC (Second In Command).
The Company Sergeant Major or CSM was Warrant Officer ‘Ali’ Barber. Our Company Quarter Master or CQ was a Staff Sergeant Ross Hardie
with Cpl Skews (Scoobie) also in the Q Store. Others in Company Headquarters included Cpl (Corporal) Mitchell or Mitch our company clerk,
Cpl Freeman or Phil the company Medic, Cpl Heteraka or Ben our company driver and LCpl (Lance Corporal) Coleman or John the company
Hygienist. Our cooks were Sgt (Sergeant) Dennerly (Jack), Cpl Nudick (Nude) and Cpl Hill (Spider).
One Platoon was led by Lt (Lieutenant) Steel and Sgt Hewlett (Bob) the three section commanders being Cpl McGrath (Phil), Cpl Broughton
(Billy Bro) and Cpl Hamon (Wahu).
Two Platoon was led by Lt Denniston-Wood (Din-Din) and Sgt Fraser the three section commanders being Cpl Komene (Harry), Cpl Hoerara,
(George) and Cpl Herewini (Mack).
Three Platoon was led by Lt Barley (Barley-Barley) and Sgt Bryant (JB) the three section commanders being Cpl Stanton (Doug), Cpl Wickliffe
(Tua) and Cpl Hyland (Roger).
Finally attachments were the mortar Platoon led by Sgt Buchanan (Buck) and the Pioneers led by Cpl Davis (Jim). Included here are Padre
Vercoe (Whakahuihui) and Major Manuera (Eru) who were serving their time in Sth Viet Nam and spent a lot of time in our presence also. In fact
Padre came out into the field on operation with the company a couple of times carrying an M16 with no rounds in the magazine.
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 .
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?”
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 by not only 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