5RAR homecoming
Once we were soldiers

 

 

australian infantryman's combat badge
homecoming 21 january 1970

© By John Hunter
2nd Tour
Author: John Hunter


Mascot airport, home at last; no more gunfire, no more stinking clothes, mud, rain and humid nights without sleep. There's that steak I'm looking forward to and the baked dinners with real veggies and gravy and that leg of Lamb ... the whole hog! No more tinned milk, fish and veg. I now have gone full circle, from whence I left, I have returned.

"Mascot Bloody airport and I feel great!" You get off the plane, collect your luggage and wait to go through Customs. They don't really give you a hard time as they are mainly interested in banned goods and they don't search everything. You mainly fill out a form disclosing what you have and they look at those items that might contravene importation or quarantine laws. drugs and firearms are at the top of the list.

The trip home had been a good one and everyone is in high spirits, some of the blokes even kissed the ground after disembarking. We even went for a trip around some island at thirty five thousand feet, just a bit of a treat from the flight crew. Pilots showing off their skills; although some of the blokes reckon that's where they get their 'Lock-Stat.'  The rest of us shouted, just get us home! With great gusto they did. The flight staff were magnificent, they even cracked a few tinnies and funnies. I thought...."How did they cope with us?"

We get through the gates to meet the families. I missed my children the most. The usual hugs and kisses and then time for the Pay Queue. What a shemozzle! I have never seen anything so unorganised in my life! It's first in line here, even the officers waited in line. No privilege of rank; as some of the blokes are to fly onto other states and country areas and they have flights to catch. besides everyone wants to get out of here.

Well anyway on with the story, and this is where the plot changes. here I am waiting in line like everybody else, when I'm approached by this little germ, a Lance Corporal Provost and with all his self appointed authority. "Your wearing boots and where's your tie and why are your sleeves rolled up!"..... I was also wearing a beret.

"Jack's revenge at last; though short lived.!" I tried to explain that the Q Store didn't have any shoes, ties, or Slouch Hats to issue. Did this explanation suit him?....Not on your life! By this time there was quite a crowd of Diggers and family members and it was time for me to put him in his place, and to the delight of the Diggers this was quite a show. Now the Drill Instructor in me erupted and paid this little Shit Head a visit. I'm just in the mood to sort this prick out. You see, I might only be a Corporal, but I've just returned from Vietnam and I'm in no mood for this bullshit! This little half-baked turd hasn't been there yet and he's lucky he's struck me, as there are some present who would dearly love to punch the living shit out of this miserable excuse for a man....More thoughts unprintable!

I began. "To start with Lance Corporal, when you address me you will stand to attention!" "For you are not only blind but rude too, and if you don't know how to stand to attention and address me by rank, I will be only too pleased to teach you right here and now!" Well, you've never heard so many cat calls and whistles, even a wolf whistle or two. So, red-faced, he goes away and comes back with this Sergeant who for all intents and purpose was to jump all over me. By this time, Sir Galahad, being of officer material, steps out of the line and pulls the Sergeant to one side, stands the Sergeant to attention, gets a salute and informs the Sergeant of the Lance Corporal's conduct. Then I inform the Sergeant that charges are to be brought against the Lance Corporal; You should have seen his jaw drop! When my turn to get paid arrived I dropped the charges. I told the sergeant he was lucky it didn't turn ugly as some of these blokes have very short fuses and it could have turned very nasty.


 

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