Get it right, Dennis!

The Courier Mail/Sunday Mail are running a Rock ‘N’ Roll magazine series (no link) celebrating Rock n Roll over the years 1955 -2005 and I was happily remembering the old tunes when I came across the section dealing with protest songs relating to the Vietnam War penned by Dennis Atkins. Included was a picture of soldiers in Vietnam with the caption ‘US Troops in Vietnam’. The picture, below, was the one photo selected to represent Australia’s involvement in the war and is, unsurprisingly, of Australian troops in Vietnam. Original photo Specifically, it is a photo of troops from Bravo Company, 7RAR, waiting for a chopper lift. In 2002, at the 10th Anniversary of the opening of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Canberra, the Battalion arranged for those pictured in 1967 still around, to group again with the photographer in front of the etched version of the original photo. This article from the Canberra Times at the time records the event. Reshooting 2002 ACTION: Michael Coleridge, right, who took one of the most famous photographs of the Vietnam War, recreates the image with six of the troops in the picture: Peter Capp, left, Bob Fennell, Bob D’Arcy, Neal Hasted, Ian Jury and Stan Whitford. The photograph is etched on the rear wall of the Vietnam Forces National Memorial. Photo: Richard Briggs.
A symbol for all by Megan Doherty A PHOTOGRAPH of Australian soldiers in Vietnam waiting to be picked up by a United States Iroquois helicopter became an integral part of the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial. The image was enlarged and etched on to the marble, becoming an icon of the war. Yesterday, six of the seven soldiers in the photograph and the man who took it gathered together for the first time at the memorial. The seventh soldier, Colin Barnett, died of cancer several years ago. The surviving men, Stan Whitford, of Melbourne; Bob Fennell, of Leongatha; Peter Capp, of Gunnedah; Bob D’Arcy, of Brisbane; Neal Hasted, of Ipswich; and Ian Jury, of Australind, were humbled and a little embarrassed to be singled out for attention. ”It’s for the whole Vietnam movement and we’re just part of that photo,” Mr Fennell said. Mr Capp said, ”I think it’s unnecessary to be highlighting the individuals.” Mr Whitford said he was proud to have an association with the memorial and a bond with the other six men. ”There’s always a bond anyway but this has probably made it even closer,” he said. ”But it is a symbol for everyone.” The men were members of 5 Platoon, B Company, 7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, when they were photographed by Michael Coleridge, just north of the village of Phuoc Hai in 1967. The men do not even remember Mr Coleridge taking the photograph. ”We were just waiting for the chopper to come down to get in and get out,” Mr Fennell said. Mr Coleridge, who now lives in Braidwood, had been asked by the 7th Battalion to get a ”proper action shot on the general theme of Vietnam”. ”So I was hunting for that shot and we were just going home and all very tired and I took three shots,” he said. Mr Coleridge said he was happy for the photograph to be used for the memorial but his ”kids were happier than I am”, proud of his achievement.
A small point to some, but after the flogging us Vietnam Vets got from the press during and after the war we need to hang on to every courtesy we have been afforded. After all, 7RAR Veterans are proud that this photo was selected as representative of the war, and we sure as hell don’t want it identified as US Troops. Get it right, Dennis!


  • Kev,

    I’ve come to the conclusion that most journos wouldn’t have the faintest fucking idea about things military. I mean, these people are charged with seeing that the truth about war and conflict flows correctly to the readers, yet they have not got the faintest idea what they are talking about. Even Peter Charlton, who scarily enough was CO of an infantry regiment, was blathering on about how Baghdad would be a Stalingrad. I’m still waiting for a retraction, as is my uncle who Mr Charlton branded a Chicken Hawk despite having served in combat in Vietnam.

  • Kev,

    Drinks this Friday Night at the Story Bridge. Same as last time. Though this time, leave the tu-tu at home so people don’t point and laugh at you all night.

  • Murph,

    I know Charlton well from when we were young Captains together. His politics denies him the ability to say anything significantly positive about Conservative governments.

    I sent Dennis an email link to my site and I look forward to an ‘Oops!’ response.

  • Go easy Todd. These days my legs are the only good assett I have left. I need my tu-tu!

  • Bring your tu-tu. I’m wearing Darlene’s dress.

  • Nice remembrance. Welcome home brothers.

    This November in Washington D.C. I’ll be attending the 40th reunion of the 1965 Ia Drang Veterans about whom the movie We Were Soldiers was produced.