Hor­ror of Long Tan still haunts

DIGGER HELPED CLEAN UP THE CARNAGE

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Aaron Cor­lett

GREG Ne­gus con­sid­ers him­self lucky not to have been in the mid­dle of the Bat­tle of Long Tan but he saw the de­struc­tive­ness of the con­flict.

The 76-year-old City of South Perth RSL mem­ber served with the 5th Bat­tal­ion Royal Aus­tralian Reg­i­ment in the Viet­nam War and was re­spon­si­ble for clear­ing up the area af­ter the bat­tle.

This Thurs­day marks 50 years since the bat­tle, in which 17 Australians were killed in ac­tion and 25 wounded, one who later died.

Mr Ne­gus re­mem­bered be­ing flown out to the bat­tle­field dur­ing the morn­ing af­ter the con­flict.

“We were on the edge of rub­ber plan­ta­tion and we went into the jun­gle area and my pla­toon picked up one of the two Australians who had been left be­hind,” he said.

“There were rub­ber trees down ev­ery­where be­cause the ar­tillery just splits and knocks them down, and there were quite a lot of bod­ies.

“The Australians dragged most of theirs out and so did the North Viet­namese, but they still had to leave some be­hind be­cause the ar­tillery was so bad.”

Mr Ne­gus said it was dis­tress­ing to see the bod­ies of Aus­tralian sol­diers but he could not help but feel thank­ful his bat­tal­ion did not cop the brunt of the at­tack.

“You say thank God I wasn’t there with that com­pany that had to wear the brunt of it... we had clashes but mainly small ones,” he said.

Mr Ne­gus said un­like some Viet­nam vet­er­ans, he felt wel­comed when he came back to Aus­tralia af­ter 12 months serv­ing his na­tion.

“We had a good march through Syd­ney; 1 RAR were the first to come back and they had red paint thrown at them, but we didn’t,” he said.

“I didn’t have any­body ever say that ‘you shouldn’t have gone over’ but I was a reg­u­lar sol­dier and some of the na­tional ser­vice­men felt like they had been used but at the re­unions we are still a tight group.”

Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d45794

Re­tired sol­dier Greg Ne­gus with his ser­vice medals.

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