TWO MILLION MILES
Two million miles, two million miles…
Sweaty and humid some curses, some smiles.
The Brickie from Brisbane, the salesman from Perth
they’ve knocked up the kilos and proven their worth.
Many are back in the land of the free.
Some have forgotten the likes of me.
Some pause for a moment while mowing the lawn
or hunting a Roo in the gathering dawn.
Remembering Davo or Harry the Brit
and old Sergeant Thingo with the carbolic wit;
the nights in the canteen they’ll never forget –
Farewelling their mates, our turn will come yet,
Some hate the squalor, the flies and the heat
but never forget, one thing you cant beat
the hand of a good mate, last year a stranger
who’ll be at your side for the kicks or the danger,
he’ll see you THROUGH when the outlook is grim
AND forget the two pinups you borrowed from him
when you’re in strife and the reckoning is near
he’ll take you to town and shout you a beer.
Wherever you go when your year’s stint is through
when forgotten are dapsone and days to do
a voice from the past, a slap on the back
the past comes alive, old memories flood back.
The wife will expect it, “dear, I’ll be late”
“I’m having a beer with an old Vietnam mate”
You’ll shatter the bar with shot and shell
and tales of the diggers you knew so well.
Two million miles, two million miles
dusty or muddy bone shaking trials
forget what you may of your army career
your mates won’t forget you……… never fear.
Author Unknown – 1969
Webmaster’s Note: Contributed in November 2002 by John E. Olney, who wrote: “This poem was published in our unit paper in August 1969. The author is unknown but was published when our transport unit (86 Transport Platoon, RAASC) based at Vung Tau reached the milestone of two million miles carrying troops, cargo, and rations throughout Phuc Tuy Province.”