I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green) Mum and Dad and Denny saw the passing out parade at Puckapunyal, It was a long march from cadets. And the 6th Battalion was the next to tour. It was me who drew the straw. We did Kunundra, Shoalwater before we left, And Townsville lined the footpaths as we marched down to the quay. This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean, And there's me in me slouch hat with me SLR and Greens. God help me. I was only 19. Vung Tau riding Chinooks to the dust of Nui Dat. We'd been in and out of choppers now for months, And we made our tents our homes, VB, and pin-ups on the lockers, And an Agent Orange sunset through the scrub. And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep? Why the nighttime's just a jungle dark with a barking M-16, And what's this rash that comes and goes? Can you tell me what it means? God help me. I was only 19. Four-week operations where each step could mean your last one on two legs, It was a war within yourself. But you wouldn't let your mates down till they had you dusted off, So you closed your eyes and thought about something else. And then someone yelled out "Contact!" and the bloke behind me swore, We looked in there for hours, then a God-almighty roar, And Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the Moon. God help me. He was going home in June. And I can still see Frankie drinking tinnies in the Grand Hotel, On a 36-hour rec leave in Vung Tau, And I can still hear Frankie lying screaming in the jungle, Till the morphine came and killed the bloody row. And the ANZAC legend didn't mention mud and blood and tears, And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real. I caught some pieces in my back that I didn't even feel. God help me. I was only 19. And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep? And why the Channel 7 chopper chills me to my feet? And what's this rash that comes and goes? Can you tell me what it means? God help me. I was only 19. A song of the Vietnam war from the Australian perspective. "A walk in the light green" refers to operational patrols in areas marked light green on topographica l maps. Dark green meant lots of jungle, lots of cover, and not a lot of mines. Light green meant thinly wooded areas, stuff all cover and heaps of mines. Pucka punyal: a recruit training depot. Kunundra: a jungle warfare training centre. Sh oalwater Bay: a military training area. Slouch hat: type used by the Australian Army. SLR: self loading rifle. VB: Victoria Bitter. Dusted off: evacuated for me dical reasons. Channel 7: one of the three main commercial stations in Australia . XX
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!