Home' Army News : March 1st 2012 Contents Insurance you need for
the surprises you don’t.
Are you looking for an insurance policy that fits with your lifestyle?
Before making a decision about your insurance needs, please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement available at www.adcu.com.au. Insurance products are issued by CUMIS Insurance Society Inc. ABN 72 000 562 121 AFSL 24591 (Incorporated in the
United States. The members of the Society have no liability) trading as CUNA Mutual General Insurance. Australian Defence Credit Union Limited ABN 48 087 649 741 AFSL No. 237 988. Australian credit licence number 237 988.
ADCU MemberCare Insurance offers special benefits that are specifically designed for
Australian Defence Personnel.
For a competitive quote call 1300 13 23 28, ask at your local branch or visit www.adcu.com.au
Army March 1, 2012
Warrior to wordsmith
GARY McKay was conscripted
when he was 20 years old in
May 1968 and by April 1971
he was on his way to Vietnam
as a platoon commander with 4RAR.
He was severely wounded in a large
battle at Nui Le in September 1971, and
for his actions in the battle Mr McKay
was awarded the Military Cross for gal-
While posted to RMC in 1983, McKay
wrote In Good Company, an account
of his time in Vietnam. In 1992 he pub-
lished Vietnam Fragments, the western
hemisphere’s largest oral history on the
Mr McKay said the biggest influence
in his Army career was Brig Fred Pfitzner.
“I worked for him as a subaltern, com-
pany commander and brigade major in 6
“He was a great role model in the way
he cared for his soldiers and for his overall
When asked about the main lesson
learnt from his Army career, he said there
was no substitute for tough, hard training
with ball ammunition.
“Infantrymen need to be trained in the
art of carrying the correct combat load and
pushing themselves and their unit to the
very edge,” he said.
“You must know where the envelope
edges exist both physically and men-
tally. The adage still applies: train hard,
Mr McKay said the qualities of a good
soldier included maintaining himself and
his equipment in the best possible working
“They must also respect their fellow
soldiers regardless of their present abilities
and when in combat respect the enemy –
to disrespect the ability of the enemy is to
invite complacency and failure,” he said.
“From discussions I have had with cur-
rent soldiers, I have been impressed with
their approach to the heavy Defence com-
mitments we currently face.”
Mr McKay left the Army after 30 years
in 1995 and is now pursuing his career as
a full-time non-fiction writer and freelance
Looking back he remembers being a
brand new second lieutenant at Singleton
in 1969 and being tasked to conduct a
He had organised the red flags, the
radios and telephones, clearances, targets,
groundsheets, and the medic and ambu-
lance were all squared away.
“All was hot to trot – the platoon
rocked up but I had forgotten to pick up
the ammo from range control,” he said.
“My platoon sergeant, a crusty old
bugger, looked at me and asked, ‘Sir, do
you know why you are a second lieuten-
“His lips narrowed and his eyes glared
as he said in a nasty voice, ‘Because there
are no frigging third lieutenants’.”
Mr McKay never forgot the ammuni-
He’s a Vietnam War veteran and author of several
highly acclaimed war history novels. Gary McKay
spends a soldiers five with Cpl Mark Doran.
Links Archive February 16th 2012 March 15th 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page