RIVERTON RSL member Ron Brown (71) spent 21 years in the Royal Australian Army and served in the Vietnam War with the 4th and 12th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.
Mr Brown said he did not like talking about his wartime experiences.
“It was a war and there is nothing good to say about it,” he said.
“I found it very hard when I got out of the army.
“My family don’t know what I did in Vietnam.
“They don’t need to know.
“It took me a long time to go to the RSL when I got back from Vietnam because we were not treated all that well when we got home.”
Mr Brown worked to support the Australian infantry fighting in South Vietnam, doing maintenance on artillery pieces and small arms.
“If guns got jammed I was the lucky soldier who had to push the rounds back out of the gun,” he said.
He also spent time in Puckapunyal with the 1st Armoured Regiment 10km west of Seymour in central Victoria, southeastern Australia.
“I went there in 1977 when they first introduced the Leopard tanks to Australia and did maintenance on them,” he said.
He graduated from his army recruit training with the rank of craftsman and retired from the force in 1989 as a warrant officer class one – the highest rank before commissioned officers.
“I did 12 years as a warrant officer. I was very lucky, I was promoted quickly,” he said.
His army career saw him spend time in Germany and America on projects.
“I went to America for eight weeks when Australia bought the 155mm howitzers. We learnt how to strip it down and put it back together again. I came back and wrote all the technical documentation on it,” he said.
When he left the army, he worked in a variety of jobs including security, computer maintenance and with the Education Department helping to run its vehicle section.
Mr Brown said he had always wanted to be a soldier and his family had a long history of serving in the Australianforces.
He recently discovered he had three great-uncles who served in World War I.
“They were Aboriginal. One of them went to the Boer War first; he then got wounded in Gallipoli. They patched him up and sent him to France and he got wounded again,” he said.
“One was taken prisoner and the other one we don’t know what happened with him; but all three of them got back home.”
Now retired and living in Gosnells, Mr Brown, who is a Legatee and the president of the Mandurah Murray Vietnam Veterans Group, said Anzac Day meant a lot to him.
“There is no glory about war but at least we have got to remember that they fought for this country, even the Vietnam veterans. When we get together with our mates – especially guys that were in Vietnam – you talk about all the funny things that went on,” he said.