We started our reunion last night with a ‘Meet and Greet’ function at the Rydges Hotel at Brisbane’s Southbank. We had about 190 people attending and they represented all the years of the unit’s service in Vietram between 1967 and 1972. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the unit being formed.
Today we left Brisbane early to visit Canungra and unveil a plaque at the Land Warfare Training Centre from our unit to remember all who served in Vietnam. This centre used to be called the Jungle Warfare Training Centre. Almost.every Australian soldier who has served overseas since 1942 would have undergone training at Canungra.
I used to be somewhat overwhelmed by the reputation of this training centre. It was very tough ploce. Whenever you moved from one place to another,Â it was always done ‘at the double’. We spent hours learning how to patrol and ambush. We would spend nights in the bush with mounted picquets and we had to complete a series of tough physical tests – e.g. carrying a man your own size for 100 metres, running 3kms in full gear ard jumping off a 10 metre tower into the river. One of the toughest things that I remember was the confidence course (or battle innoculation course) in which we had to move through a series of obstacles under llve fire.
On reaching the base today, we stopped for a look at the obstacle course (still in the same location) and then moved onto the location of the Vietnam memorial which is situated opposite the original site of the Padang and the mock Vietnamese village where we learnt search & destroy tactics.
We held a solemn service with prayers, the Ode andÂ a piper who played the Lament. We had a very well-spoken address from the centre commander.
After the service we continued into the town of Canungra for a BBQ lunch at the pub and then a wine tasting at the O’Reillys vineyard. We were already familiar with their wine because of our stay there in the previous week. We were back in Brisbane by 5.30 for the end of the day.