W3 Company - History and Illustrations Tāhuhu kōrero
"Kia whakatomuri te haere ki mua"
index of Service stories Kōrero (nō te) pakanga
Family / Whanau stories Kōrero whānau
W3 Company written record Mauhanga
W3 Company honours Kahurangi
political background on
New Zealand involvement
political background on
The role of the infantry is to seek out and close with the enemy, to kill or capture him, to seize and to hold ground, to repel attack, by night and day, regardless of season, weather or terrain.
To understand the W3 RNZIR history you need to understand the environment experienced by the infantry deployed to Vietnam. Medical professionals and welfare agencies often don't realise the conditions infantry experienced during their 12 month tour in Vietnam.
More jungle time. Most soldiers had already spent 6 months in Malaysia in realistic jungle training for service in Vietnam. After the Vietnam tour and return to Malaysia/Singapore most would be on exercise and training replacement troops for their tour in Vietnam.
Twelve month tour of duty in Vietnam. Operations lasting from one to six weeks. Soldiers well trained and extremely fit but 12 months on operations under the following conditions took a huge toll on even physically and mentally fit minds and bodies.
Hot and dry November to May. Fine red laterite dust everywhere. Hot sun and no sunscreen. Hot and wet May to November. Red laterite mud everywhere. Continually wet and suffering from tinea usually from toes to crutch plus boils and other skin problems. Prickly heat rash.
Living on ration packs with limited water supply. Cigarette issue. No ability to wash properly. No real personal hygiene. Experiencing drastic weight losses while on operations.
The heavy weights carried. Eighty to one hundred pound packs and webbing. Jumping out of choppers with 80 -100lb packs on shoulders. Damage to knees, ankles, hips, necks and backs.
Operating in areas known to have been sprayed with Agent Orange chemicals. Drinking water from streams in those areas. Breathing dust from chopper downdrafts in those areas.
Antimalarial precautions taken for two years. Paludrin twice a day. In bad areas paludrin and chloroquin every day. On leaving Vietnam a 10 day course of Paludrin, Primaquin and chloroquine. Literally covering oneself in insect repellent every day.
Intestinal parasitic worms, Round and Hook etc. Amoebic dysentery, run of the mill dysentery. Aggressive insect life, leeches, mosquitoes, scorpions, ticks, red ants, hairy caterpillars, foot long centipedes, hornets, spiders, termites plus snakes etc.
Mental and psychological harm that was/is often unrecognised, undiagnosed and not understood. This harm is mainly due to confronting mines and booby traps, experiencing close call contacts etc.
Not all ailments and illnesses suffered in the field were reported or noted on a soldiers file. Only if a Dust Off was required. Only if it was reported while in Nui Dat and was serious enough for the MO to see them. Company medics didnít keep a note of treatments to individuals in the field.
Then there was the Viet Cong and NVA - please read on... >>>
living a common bond for something greater than ourselves, walking willingly together into harm's way
the writer Samuel Johnson once said "every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier"