Story 11 - Two Short Stories from 1967

By Gerry Lawrence

Midnight Movements

A few months after 104 Sig Sqn took over in Nui Dat, I did a late night inspection of the squadron sentries in the weapon pits facing the wire onto Kangaroo Pad.

Maj Gerry Lawrence, First OC 104 Sig Sqn on Op Kenmore 1967 At one weapon pit the two sentries were on the sandbagged roof with the M60 machine gun and their personal weapons.  When I asked why they weren't inside the pit they said there were noises there and they were not happy about it (read "scared!").   I shined my torch all around and on the floorboards but saw nothing unusual so I told the sentries to get back in the pit.

When I told SSM WO2 Danny Evans about this he said it wasn't the first time the sentries had got out of this pit but nothing was ever found.  The old weapon pits had seen better days so we built new ones and began dismantling the old.    One day a shot rang out in the Sigs lines so I hurried out of the HQ hut to see what had happened.  There was the SSM and others at the edge of the problem pit eyeing over a huge python which had been living under the floorboards.  The SSM had taken care of it !!

Midnight Attack

Most nights I spent some time in the HQ 1 ATF command post, with the Task Force Commander, the CO of the Field Regiment, the G2 Ops, the Int Officer and maybe others.   Sometimes there would be some forward planning, maybe discussing problems and always keeping an ear out for any radio transmissions.  Sigs had installed radios in the CP so that we could monitor just about any net anywhere in the Task Force's area of operations.

104 Sigs at Ap Suoi Nghe 1967One night we heard a patrol reporting gunfire at the refugee village of Ap Soui Nghe to the North of Nui Dat.   The patrol was directed to investigate and an infantry company was put on standby.   We eavesdroppers in the 1 ATF CP took quite an interest as a larger operation might become necessary very quickly.

About half an hour later the patrol radioed another report.   The villagers were congregated around the local store which had a TV set at maximum volume for the western movie they were watching.   Stand down !!

Letter Extracts

The following are from a letter written by Gerry Lawrence to Stuart Weller on the 13th July 1986.

Letter Extract 1 - Communication Priorities

104 Sig Sqn Letter Extracts


Letter Extract 2 - Administrative Tasks

104 Sig Sqn Letter Extracts

      Comment:  Gerry detail the wrong Radio Set.  It was the AN/PRC-25 not the AN/PRC-10.
        The higher powered VHF radios were from the AN/VRC-12 family.  

Letter Extract 3 - Most Distressing Personal Experience

104 Sig Sqn Letter Extracts

Leter Extract 4 - Planning

104 Sig Sqn Letter Extracts

Gerry Lawrence

 Footnote:   Gerry was the OC of 104 Signal Squadron that deployed the unit to Vietnam in early 1967.  He was tragedy kill in a motor vehicle accident in Canberra, August 2004.

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