Chapter 10a



Service Details

Mark served in the Australian Military Forces (AIF) from 1942-46 and served with 2/28thBattalion 9 Division Labuan towards the end of the war in the Pacific. He rejoined theArmy in 1949 and was posted to 3RAR in Korea in June 1951 as an infantryman. He servedthroughout Commando and other operations with 7 Platoon C Company. In civilian life he hasbeen active in the support of veterans and the Korean Veterans Association. He wasinstrumental in the preparation of the book "Maryang San". He is currently inretirement in Sydney where he serves on a number of veteran committees.


I was fortunate to be a Section Commander in Operation Commando and found myself to bean acting platoon sergeant at the end of the first day of operations, the platoon sergeanthaving been wounded and evacuated at the first encounter with the enemy on 355. We weremuch under strength at the beginning of the operation and by the time the operation wasover we were about 50% down. Our company was made up mainly of young regular armysoldiers, who were having their first experience in action under fire. They bore upextremely well and committed themselves to the task in a professional manner. This was thetime when young men really showed their true colours. Everything about this operation waswell planned and rehearsed, but the best made plans often fall apart. In the case ofCommando when things fell apart something always took its place. Protection from enemyfire was our biggest problem In this regard it was often impossible to dig in forprotection due to the granite like ground and the flimsy tool US.

From a section point of view we were under strength , six instead of ten at the start.On the first encounter the platoon lost its reserve section and we were down to twelveplus platoon HQ. Somehow we got over this and made some adjustments. We were lucky wedidn't have to use a reserve! Korea was different to the AIF. There was a much closerbond of cooperation between the diggers and their officers. We seemed to talk things overmore. It was a true team effort and we got good results. The operation went for fivenights and later I was asked however we managed to sleep. I suppose we must have but Idon't remember how. The nights were always filled with bombardment or enemy action.

I remember also the stretcher bearers who showed unbelievable courage in pulling outthe wounded. If you've never been there you couldn't understand.

Commando has left a lasting impression on me. It was the first good thing I had donefor a long time. It was great to know you were part of a team effort, especially a winningone. Friendships I made with my officers and men and our mutual respect, have lasted tothis day. This teamwork, I think, was the real reason for the battalion success.

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