One Man’s Extraordinary Story: Read a Sample of The Platoon Commander by Ric Teague and John O’Halloran

One Man’s Extraordinary Story: Read a Sample of The Platoon Commander by Ric Teague and John O’Halloran

Not a day goes by without me looking at a small, timber-framed photo on The Office wall and saying to myself, ‘Those poor bastards.’ The photo, taken on Boxing Day in 1966, is of five young soldiers in the B Company diggers’ boozer at the Australian Task Force (ATF) Base at Nui Dat. The boozer was a knock-up, timber-pole structure with a concrete slab for a floor and an iron roof. There were no walls. Three of the five – Wayne Riley, Brian Waters and Dave Webster – were killed at the Battle of Bribie, while a fourth – Tony Trevenen – was badly wounded. All were conscripts from Western Australian farming communities. To know men died following my orders still weighs heavily on my conscience. Each one of those brave souls is a bloody hero in my book…

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Synopsis

At the start of the Vietnam War John O'Halloran was a national serviceman from Tamworth and never expected to serve overseas. He would go on to lead with distinction as a platoon commander in 6RAR's B Company at three of the biggest conflicts of the Vietnam War. This is one soldier's extraordinary account of a war that still haunts Australia. John O'Halloran was a country boy from Tamworth, NSW, who was called up for national service not long after the start of the Vietnam War. As a tough and determined 21-year-old, he guided 6 RAR's B Company 5 Platoon through some of the biggest conflicts of the war, including Operation Hobart and the Battle of Long Tan. But he faced his hardest military challenge at Operation Bribie, leading a fixed bayonet charge against a deadly Viet Cong jungle stronghold. The Platoon Commander is an unmissable and devastating first-hand account of the realities and brutalities of war, and especially this war fought in jungles, not trenches, which would go on to bitterly divide Australians. O'Halloran's sense of duty and strong character carried him and his men through fierce battles and uncertainty. His sense of humour kept him going through the years afterwards. His indomitable spirit inspired the men of 5 Platoon to fight against the odds to achieve the mission - no matter how treacherous - and even away from the action and in the many years since O'Halloran kept the respect of his men. Now regarded by many of his peers as a national treasure, John Patrick Joseph O'Halloran has been quoted in almost every important book written about Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, yet has never told his own remarkable story. Until now.
John O Halloran
About the author

John O Halloran

Books by John O Halloran

Ric Teague
About the author

Ric Teague

Ric Teague is a retired newspaper and television journalist and documentary maker. His career spanned 46 years across Australia, England and South Africa, and he has worked for Ten Network, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The AustralianThe Age and News Limited. His first book, Born on Anzac Day, was published in 2015.

Books by Ric Teague

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  1. Jeff Ford says:

    One of the best books written about Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war and a courageous National Serviceman.

  2. Edward Wheeler says:

    I read with great interest about Gordon Sharp.Gordons brother Tony was an old friend and work colleague as we both were with National Mutual.I was a serving member of the CMF and Tony and I talked at great length.I lost touch with Tony when I retired,and so was wondering if John might have a contact number for him.I would really appreciate being able to contact “Sharpy” again.