Greg clung on for life in Vietnam War
By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au
GREG Evans is 55 and he is a Vietnam War veteran.
But Greg's nightmares of war are not the terrors of jungle fighting but that of hanging grimly to a line, possibly in the presence of mines, and expecting to be washed away and lost forever in the ocean currents.
Greg was in the Royal Australian Navy delivering troops to Vietnam on board the HMAS Sydney.
'My aim was to become a fully qualified clearance diver,' he said. That meant getting in the water to remove mines to make it safe for Australia's naval ships.
Greg has been declared totally and permanently incapacitated (TPI) as a result of his activities in the war.
'Our job was to go down the ship's side into the water clinging to lines and literally feeling for mines with our hands which we couldn't see in front of our faces.'
He said in the first of three such assignments he and five men were sent into strongly running water to look for Vietnamese marine mines.
'We went in but we got swept along the whole length of the keel and got tangled up in the lines.'
'They sent a stand-by diver to unhook us one at a time ? it seemed to take a lifetime.'
Greg said he did two more mine clearing assignments after that, but that first one gave him nightmares and, despite counselling, they still haunt him now bringing on mood swings that sometimes turn to anger.
A Vietnam Veterans Day (Long Tan Day) service will be conducted at Anzac Park, Gladstone from 11.30am tomorrow on the 39th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.