It began like most other days. High temperature, 100% humidity and 'hurry up and wait' for the combat seasoned troops of 4 RAR/NZ, Delta Company, 10 Platoon.
It was just another morning spent in the usual manner when the platoon was in Nui Dat; washing, polishing, cleaning and preparing for the next Op.
At 10:00 hours the Platoon was called to order.
Commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers (NCO's) and other ranks (OR's) were instructed to assemble in Order on the Parade Ground.
Word quickly spread that an event of significance was about to occur.
"Platoon ! . . . . By the right . . Dress!" came the CSM's instruction.
The ranks obeyed, dressing one arms length from the soldier to their right, and one pace behind the soldier in front.
"Platoon ! . . . . ten . . SHUN ! !
The soldiers came to 'Attention' in unison. It made a singular sound.
"Bunker D. K., Private, step forward three paces!" ordered the CSM.
What was 'Mousey' in for? What had he done wrong? Had they discovered the hundreds, or thousands, of empty Budweiser cans under his hoochie?
Why Mousey? was the question on the mind of all 10 Platoon soldiers. Especially those with a guilty conscience about raiding the Mess's dixies and the Salvo's ice supplies.
And the arrangement with the Yanks, in that compound of circular antennae down the lines, to bring in supplies of 'Bud' whenever we were in the Dat to circumvent, and in violation of, the 'two cans per man per day, perhaps' policy then in effect..
The question was soon answered.
Dateline : 22 November 2008
Location : Criterion Hotel, cnr Park & Pitt Streets, Sydney NSW Australia
On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Regiment, with fellow 4 RAR warriors attending, Private Bunker, D. K. (Mousey), was ceremoniously decorated with a Purple Heart, with a Certificate of Recognition, for wounds received in combat action during the tour of 4 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) to South Vietnam in 1968/69.
The award was presented by Mr Alan Price, President of the 4 RAR Association, Qld, and a fellow soldier of 10 Platoon, Delta Company's 1st tour to South Vietnam.
Whilst it is not intended to, or ever will, replace the cardboard cut-out originally awarded to this fellow 4 RAR warrior on that long-ago day at Nui Dat, the awarding of the replacement medal is recognition by his fellow soldiers of his deserving of the award.
Wear it with pride 'Mousey', you earned it.
1. WIA. "Mousey', whilst facing the enemy in a firing position in a 'shell scrape' during an ambush contact with the Viet Cong, received a wound to his buttock. For this wound he received his 'Purple Heart' and, in his case, WIA means both "Wounded In Action" and "Wounded In Arse".
On a far more serious note.
Shortly afterwards, on 31 January 1969, "Mousey's section - 1 Section, 10 Platoon, Delta Company, 4 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) - was ambushed as it moved from encampment. The section's forward scout, Sammy Graham, and machine gunner, Joe Ramsay, were killed. 'Mousey', number 2 on the machine gun, continuously attempted to retrieve the gun, exposing himself to enemy fire throughout. For this brave action under fire, he received no commendation, although his comrades-in-arms believed he was deserving of, at least, a 'Mentioned In Dispatches' award...
Major J P A Deighton awarding the 'Purple Heart' to Pte D K "Mousey"Bunker in the field.
This took place prior to the Parade Ground ceremony at Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam.
CO Delta Company, Major John P A Deighton; "Private Bunker, it gives me pleasure to award you this Purple Heart in recognition of wounds sustained in combat and the defence of freedom."
Sighs of relief, and an overall feeling of goodwill toward a fellow soldier emanated from the assembled company.
And for all those present, WIA (see footnotes) took on a whole new meaning on the dusty quadrangle of South Vietnamese soil that was the Parade Ground of D Company at Nui Dat.
And while all that were there know that it was a replica award of sentimental value alone, we must also acknowledge that it was a priceless memento to the recipient.
But there's another chapter to the story.
Earlier this year (2008) while reminiscing, 40 years on, about Viet Nam, the mates, experiences and memories, Mousey told me that his 'Purple Heart' was lost in Nui Dat in 1969.
If anybody found it and is wondering what it is, and, of course, if it is still in your possession, Mousey would love to have it back.
This tale hasn't yet ended.
a 4 RAR/NZ ANZAC receives a 'Purple Heart' award
Submitted by : waggers
The story of the awarding of a Purple Heart to BUNKER, Dennis Keith
with all due respect and deference to our American allies and the George Washington award
4 RAR Associations of Australia