War Stories and Other
Chapter 12: Fire Force fun

Copyright© 2014 by Dreaded

Those early days of Suport Group in Fire Force were fun but a steep learning curve ... After Vawns tragic accident we were all a little down as he had been a great friend and comrade ... We were still woefully short of men but training troop was starting to trickle more in ... One of the biggest problems was that in the early days of the Battalion you couldn't go directly to Support woithout spending time in the commandos first ... We were now getting guys direct from training troop and luckily most of the older troops welcomed the new guys ... From that fatefull day we rotated back to patrols & OP's in the rural area and every 4th bush trip we were in on FF ... this gave us a chance to break the new guys in and form up as a new unit ... Our long absence from Darwin, then the only FF base, saw many changes when we returned as we now had barrack rooms and offices all constructed from Galvanized sheet on frame on concrete slabs ... In a Rhody summer this was not pleasant in the heat and I remained in my corner bunker with my MAG ... Sgt Vancy refused to let anyone else carry a gun in his stick as I was it ... However that FF trip we lost Sgt Vance to SS and I started to experience other operators ... We didn't have good NCO's at that stage and a lot of the leadership was coming from the youngsters just joining ... We had a couple of good guys but we soon lost them to SS...

That FF trip was a defining trip for me as never mind the MAG I was landed the radio as a stick leader ... The Boss realized that I couldn't talk back often so just gave instructions which I generally just doble clicked to and went on my way ... Our first call out for the trip was early the second morning after our arrival and shit it was a baptism of fire for the three newbies we had ... In those early days the gunner sat in the left front (Port) next to the Tech door gunner ... We arrived on scene and it was pretty open country with ploughed up fields and small bushy areas ... I realized this was a hotty as we watched green tracer stream past us from the ground and our pilot dumped us quickly and cleared the area ... We were getting the shit shot out of us and my newbies were all standing with their thumbs up their bums gawking ... I belted two of them in to cover and the third got the general idea and hit the deck behind a little bush that protected shit ... I was screaming at them "remember your Drake shoot training" and started doing exactly that ... For those who don't know a drake shoot is where you take a section of guys out to a firing line and you hide targets in likely cover in front of them ... They are then given 10 rounds each and told to fire at where they think the targets are ... At the end we all go forward and count the hits ... We were in that exact situation except it was not targets but live Gooks shooting the shit out of us ... why no one was hit I have no idea but I had my webbing and hat ventilated, that was how close it was ... I did my usual Audie Murphy impersonation and stood up and started pumping ½ a belt at a time into likely areas ... We were still the only stick on the ground as the other G cars had ducked off after getting the shit shot out of them ... The K Kar was pumping rounds into an area to my ½ right so I started concentrating my fire there as well ... I must admit that I had forgotten all about my guys until I pulled out my last belt and I realized I was about out of ammo ... My guys carried only 2 spare belts but during that pause we all stopped firing and the silence was something else ... The boss was screaming in my radio trying to find out how many of us he had to CASEVAC so I told him none and that all was dead quite on the ground now ... Our hearing started to return and the sounds of the orbiting choppers intruded into our minds as we searched in front of us for any sign of movement ... I told the boss that the gooks had stopped shooting and the other G Kars started dropping off sticks around us to start the clean up and sweep ... We found 12 dead gooks in cover, most of them taken out by JB the K Kar Tech ... Shit that guy was good and seldom missed ... Mind you, over the years, I found that all the K Kar techs were exceptional shots and seldom needed more than 2 rounds for a hit ... That was a very intense scene and we were all a little wobble legged after the Adrenalin let down...

That night more

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