Episode 8

Col Lee

Col joined the Navy in 1965 at 16 , went to HMAS Leuwin in Perth for a years training.
He then left to go to sea. Col spent a small amount of time on HMAS Sydney before it was used as a troop carrier. He was called to join HMAS Hobartt, they were short crew. He was only 17, and the youngest on board.

They were part of the American 7 th fleet and came under their command. They were the first combat unit in the Australian Navy to be sent into action in Vietnam. Most of their time was spent in the gulf of Tonkin, they had to disrupt North Vietnam supply lines to the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. They would send out all their equipment, arms etc in barges and boats we had to stop them. Destroy them. We came under fire weekly as we went into action and got closer we got the heavier it was, we came under fire the closest to that came to us. It was about 10 foot of the port bow, his job was AALookout, exposed personel. He watched as they were attacked and his job was to report their gun positions to the bridge. Col was 17 years old when he spent his 18th birthday in rescue operations when the USS Forrestal blew up killing 134 men it was on his 18th birthday, 29th July 1967. That night after we assisted in the rescue we went back into action. After Vietnam, when he was 19, on board HMAS Stewart they were in the rescue squad When the USS Frankie Evans was cut in half by the Melbourne. 74 men died that morning. Col was there and they went to assist. Col spent seven years in the Navy. His last year of the Navy was as a recruit school instructor at HMAS Cerberus, he then took his discharge.

Steve Price: At age 16, most of us are our guests are experiencing our first romance worrying about, uh, whether in the school footy team or not. Uh, back in my day, you were sitting at driver's license at 16, that was pre PE played, of course, but our veteran of the day, this episode, however, at the age of 16, that meant joining the Navy. It's very funny actually at that age, most of us are not sure what we want to do in life. And I actually contemplated the same thing and a friend of mine up the road. I still can't remember his name. I wouldn't have seen him for 60 years. Phil Walsh did just that and went to WIA to do his training at [inaudible] Lewin. And that's where call Elliot, our highlighted veteran ended up at that age to start his training. It didn't last long by 17. He was in the Vietnam war, probably one of the youngest ever to serve his country in that conflict called thanks for joining me. That must bring back some memories.

Col Lee: Um, my dad certainly does and, uh, yeah, 16 and 16 year old kids. Uh, they had to wrap it up, I think in the end, uh, there was, uh, a lot of bathroom elevation and all the rest of it, but it was the best thing I ever did though. I loved an ID and it was tough discipline, but it was, ah, know, we, we didn't come under the, uh, children protection act in Australia. We came under Naval discipline so they could do anything they liked to. And they did. Yeah, well, I actually, uh, I joined, uh, well, I'll be telling the truth. Well, I joined to get away from home to get away from my old man. Uh, he looked, he was a veteran of Dunkirk and I guess he come back with a lot of problems. He was day, both told me he was 49.

Col Lee: He drank himself to death and he wasn't a particularly good guy in a lot of ways. And, and that made it very tough. Uh, my brother and sister and, um, and I left home at 14, I was working in the stable. Um, and believe it or not, I want to debate a jockey, but they weren't, you know, they weren't raising draft horses. So I did not have a lot of choice. And I ended up at sip right asleep. I separated the poop from the stool. And, uh, one day I was just sitting in a, in a can and I picked up an old, uh, and I think it was a woman's day magazine or something, not post a post magazine post. You remember the post and it said, join the Navy, see the world. And I went, that's what I could do because I had just lived that there was no way I was going to be a jockey and I was running out.

Col Lee: So I joined the Navy and I came home and I got the old man to sign when he had a few drinks. Um, he was actually, he was, uh, he was severely sexually chartered. I got him to sign the papers and I joined the Navy at 16. I went to Perth, uh, it changed my life. It changed my life. Then I did a year's training and, uh, absolutely, uh, got totally involved in it. I think 120 us started with the division and only 80 got through a bit of attrition there, you know, so a lot of kids, and it was funny because a lot of kids come from a very nurtured background. And so you would hear them crawling in their beds at night sometimes and, and used to think, Oh my God, you know, what had to get through this? But, uh, ah, loved it.

Col Lee: I absolutely loved it. I mean, I'll cop my fair share of, uh, uh, the basketball ization, but I, I didn't put up with it. Um, there was this kid that was like, it was three divisions in front of you. So as these guys got more senior, they become, obviously they'd been physically, uh, you know, working hard and, uh, and, and, and we'll be there that was 17 that were just leaving or, you know, they'd been there six months, so they bastardized the ones underneath them. So at some time we lived in these terrible old dormitories and, uh, they come through and they throw their boots on your bed and say, they're washing them. I said, what then in the morning, you know? And, um, and all I said, no. Uh, so, uh, I was always given it to via Arabic and, um, but I thought back and said, now I'm not going to do this.

Col Lee: And, but Mike, next door to me said he wouldn't do it. And they, they, they, they, uh, but, um, I said to the youngest and the smallest I'm going to get you. And, uh, I did on the footie field and they left me alone after that, because if you refused, you will write that we, we protected some of the younger ones, but a lot of them, uh, uh, fell forward. You know, they had a thing called, uh, uh, the, uh, what did they call it? Uh, they used to run your down, uh, the oil of it being an actual lift to the cases with the Owens and built a baggery area. You went to, uh, well, I figured that they called it now. They, Oh, anyway, I get all these ran up all these younger blacks and make them run, run the gauntlet. And I refused. So, uh, they just gave me a hiding, uh, where I stood a bit, a bit, I thought back

Steve Price: 12 months of that training. And then, can you remember how you felt when you were told? Okay, you're off to a, to spend time on HMA Sydney wa where was that? Was, was Sydney based? Not in Perth?

Col Lee: No, I was biking Sydney. And, uh, I went to see, um, uh, and I, I went to see as a Marine engineer, but I went down in the, uh, in the, in the engine room. I couldn't handle it. That was too hot. So I come up to him and divisional, I was like, can I become a seaman? So I gave me a choice of sonar operator, which I became, um, ordinary Seamus Shiner operator. I was at sea on the Sydney. Um, and I actually spent a couple of months on the Sydney and that was before she started taking troops to, uh, to Vietnam. And, uh, one day I was going home on leave and, uh, I was parked the yang Monday, ordinary gangway, you know, and I got down there and they said a millionaire black called Anderson. Rick was, uh, a month out of the late, we bet joined the Navy together.

Col Lee: And, uh, they said, uh, you're up to Vietnam. We said, no. And how are we going to home on loop now you're not to go to why you go. And, uh, I went straight over to the Hobart and she was, um, she just, uh, one of the latest DDGs. Um, he was building 65, uh, 65 and a 66. I think it was 65 in depth anyway, 67, 1967. And we were on loan to the Americans. We were pulled out of the Navy and had the Australian Navy basically and sent to the us seventh fleet. Um, and, uh, I was fined over a couple of weeks period to become, um, I, uh, Andy aircraft look at which made I was on top of the bridge and I was exposed to personnel. And, um, I didn't think about it too much because I thought, well, you know, it's kid, not at all. This will be good, fun.

Steve Price: I mean, you get this posting on the Hobart, you know, you're then told you're going to be at Nam. I imagine at 17, uh, having been through the training for a year as a 16 year old, you wouldn't have been, I don't imagine you'd be too aware of exactly. Uh, what was going on in Vietnam.

Col Lee: No, not really. It is a 70 year old kid. I was a little naive. I learned more about Vietnam after come home, but the domino effect was being, and I said, Oh, the communists are coming down and we've got to stop them. And all that sort of stuff, that whole political scene in Vietnam was a little beyond me at the time. You know, I was still that, like you said before, chasing girls and doing whatever. But, um, anyway, I got into the training and then when we got to Vietnam and we were sent to the gun law in, which was North Vietnam and the golf atone team. And, uh, we went to the spotter points that go in and tell us where our targets were and their job was to stop the lines of supply. And, um, eventually they, they out of the whole team in trial to take the supplies in land because we were harassing, we go in and they might be knowing that 10 badges or whatever.

Col Lee: And we would go in and we'd have to blow them up and blow up the red. I mean, you shouldn't [inaudible], we were given targets that the closer we got in and the further we went in there, the more they'd open up on us. So we came under fire a hell of a lot. Um, I think the most recorded that dropped around us in one action was 200 shells dropped around us. Um, and we were very lucky at one site. We got, and I run out of high explosives and heaters with, um, uh, anti aircraft. And that made a lot of, a lot of shrapnel. And I was exposed to that. And I remember that, uh, the, uh, my chief, uh, up on the a C hit the deck because we were going to be hit the next shell I could tell. And I see them already down there, you know, and, uh, it was, uh, it exploded about this and, uh, I don't know how we didn't go out that day, but, uh, we came under fire weekly and, and it was, I had to, I had to take them away, I think in real quick, uh, uh, not while I was not, while the action was on you too busy, you're too busy.

Col Lee: Or I had to get coordinates of where they were firing from, because we, we could see the flash and as the more we arrest, um, uh, North Vietnam and, and they lost the supply, uh, they, they brought in extra, um, reinforcements to, to take us out and they bought in better, right? So they got better and better at it. Uh, the, the worst, the one Tron that rattled me, I watched, um, a bomb dropped behind her. So she all got behind us and struck their motors. And we, we, we went down and their engines called get, and we were straddled and we had to either side of his firing at us. And I thought we did. And I saw the shells drop in sequence. Uh, like there was six shells and I knew the seventh one would hit and I laid down and I'm dead, you know, um, eight, eight, eight frightened me then, but it didn't frighten me till after the event. I got down in the mess when we drew away from the coast and I've got a cup of coffee, I used to give us like hot chocolate. I had a cup of coffee in my hand, and I looked at my hand, it was shaking so much. So I put it down because I was embarrassed. But when I looked around all the other black teens, which I can too, so everybody felt the same thing.

Steve Price: Were they firing at you from, uh, from on the land or were they at sea as well?

Col Lee: Now we were taking the fire from the shore base. Sure. Batteries. Um, there's, uh, uh, I got out yet. I wrote a book called in between the laughter and a lot of it was Vietnam and some of the things I saw in my Navy service, um, and I, uh, I, I described it how you would go into an area if you went in close and you could see them fire at you and use to, Oh, here it comes in a few seconds later, drop around you. And as a side, I, uh, they took their ships. We were operating with two, a lot of them got hit and were killed. Uh, they were, uh, American ships. I can't think of the names now, uh, that they were behind us and got hit, uh, like stored on one on the second run. The Hobart did I wasn't on board. Thank God. Um, we lost two bikes, a young black cool by the, with, and a very upset that were blown up. Um, but that was friendly fire. That was an American helicopter thought. She was, um, something else. And I'm like, ah,

Steve Price: Just imagine that, imagine that different history would have been if the North Vietnamese had an air force, which they didn't have. Right.

Col Lee: Oh my God. Well, w w I had MIGS, uh, from rocking my meats yeah. From Russia. Uh, but we didn't really experience those, I think once or twice we saw them, but, uh, we didn't really experience that as we w we would attack for sure batteries. And, but we were attacked by them because we had to go in close to take it out targets. Um, and, uh, so there was no other way around it. Uh, and, uh, it was, uh, it was on, I'll tell you what, probably one of the worst things that was one of the worst things I ever saw on my birthday, I turned 18, uh, three months before I come home Now. And he's 67. Hey, you got that?

Steve Price: Don't worry about that. Col.

Col Lee: Oh yeah. I did notice it. And, um, that day we, uh, Tropic came down and dropped some mail to us in the chocolate was from the USS Forrestal, which, uh, was, uh, an aircraft period. And we were using their spot appliance. Uh, those guys are so bright. They go in, and sometimes they just, we watched, we watched them get shut down. It was horrible. Um, but anyway, uh, we, we were working with them at the time. And, uh, all of a sudden, uh, the truck left and then asked to keep a head called the chopper back. He'd got a signal that the USS Forrestal had been blown up. Um, well, at first I thought it was by the enemy. Um, but it wasn't, um, um, what had happened, we went to assist, we would call into assist. We chop it up, put a doctor on the chopper. He went straight there, uh, that day. Um, we got there, there was 134 men killed 61, 161 injured 44 blokes were blown into the water. We went into assistance rescue. And, uh, when we was up there, I couldn't believe the carnage. I just didn't believe it.

Steve Price: Describe that scene. Describe that scene. I mean, I mean, it must be very hot as it even now, all these years later to, to re picture that in your mind.

Col Lee: Okay. Okay. I'll, I'll, I'll tell you about it because the funny thing about it, I was sitting, watching television one night and all of a sudden this incident came on television. I had to walk out of the room. It was so hard. Um, uh, we came upon it, uh, what had happened at, uh, Mark, uh, 47 32 rocket was slung underneath the Phantom jet plane, and it ignited electronically and flew the deck about a meter up the deck, um, flew into another plane and a chain of events happened. There was a lot of bombs and whatever that was going to be dropped on North Vietnam, all exploded. Uh, uh, it killed all the fire crews straightaway, um, that was killed and blokes on the other side. And American child has grabbed hold of hoses and started trying to put the fires out. But unfortunately that just squid the fuel in holes, in the deck and incinerated so many men, uh, they would go and pick it up bombs that would take normally five blokes to throw over the side.

Col Lee: They'd pick them up on their own and throw them over the side. There were planes melting over the side. There were claims being pushed over the side and pushed off. It was just carnage. And, uh, we were sitting off her just watching. We couldn't do anything. Yeah. Doctor was there. Uh, he saved a lot of lives. Um, he helped him treated it. A lot of people, I think, see that I've got to check this, but I think we were there for that 15 hours. And, uh, we're picking up rubbish and we were picking up go, I sit with people blown in the water and they're a mess. Um, it was terrible.

Steve Price: 134 did

Col Lee: 134 did 161 wounded. She limped off. Um, we went back and, you know, the thing was, there was no counseling in those days. We, we limped off.

Steve Price: We do not much good, a good a teleco. Uh,

Col Lee: I'll tell you what, I'll tell you an incident. Uh, very shortly that, uh, really knocked me around. I didn't know what a panic attack was, and I didn't know what counseling was, uh, back in the diet, but, uh, anyway, that night we went back, we went back to the problem with straight back into action. It was no counseling, nothing. We went straight back into action and we will try it on that night. And, uh, we were doing like four hours on what, four hours off, what score is on four hours off for six weeks at a time. Um, and sometimes you would be called to action stations when you were having your time off. So I think the longest we, a God was a bit, I bet, 19 hours without any sleep. And the skipper pulled us out to sea and said, put a skeleton crew once said, go to bed, go to bed for God's sake, get some sleep because we would just date on their feet, you know? Um, and obviously, and, and I'd done a bit of boxing and I was always very fit for me is training [inaudible]. Um, they are, the other thing I can mention to you is which is not, um, not to do with Vietnam, that, uh, I picked me very, very severely, uh, two years after I left Vietnam, 1969, uh, 3rd of June, 1969, we were doing CA though exercises, uh, to have, uh, you know, extra is that in the South China seas with HMH, Melbourne. And we were, uh, I was on the hike to my Stewart and she was a, uh, uh, we were one of the, uh, school destroyers. There were five escort, destroyers, um,

Col Lee: Aircraft carrier, a big smell of an aircraft carrier, uh, 30 June 96, you know, always on watch. And, uh, I was a lookout on the Sabbath side and all of a sudden I felt the ship speed and start zigzagging. And I thought, what the hell was going on? And then someone coming out of the port, when you said the Melbourne has done it again, she's hit another ship. Now, if you remember, no at age 64, the Voyager Fuji was sliced in half by the Melbourne and 82 lives were lost in 1964. Well, this is not East 69. And we were doing exercise with Americans and everybody else. Um, and, uh, Hydrawise Melbourne. Uh, the USS Frank E. Evans turned into the bells of the Melbourne and the Melbourne Kettering half. And part of the, the, the backpack, the front half of the ship went straight down and killed 74 men. Um,

Steve Price: Could you believe it, then someone said

Col Lee: It happened again? I couldn't believe it. Then there was a thing from the skipper said, [inaudible] we go going, we going into rescue because we will be hiring the Melbourne. We will, uh, we were, um, rescue the school because the Melbourne was flying aircraft. And, and, you know, after this, we went alongside and they dropped their boats in straight away. And we started pulling up anyway, ah, terrible people and debris, and God knows what else. And, uh, anyway, we, we were there for many, many, many hours, uh, the Melbourne limped away at the end of the exercises. The sad part about this in, in retrospect, I wrote a book about this and, uh, the book in between the life that I'd described this and got all the facts because I just, I was there. I stored, I, I watched it. I watched men screaming. Oh, shareable. Um,

Steve Price: It still affects you obviously.

Col Lee: Um, it goes, and I try not to let it because it's a long time ago and I try not to let it, but it's very, very hard to state. But anyway, uh, look, there was some beautiful, heroic acts. The people just above and beyond the call of duty, the guys on the middle of them, which is unbelievable though. It's fantastic. My old divisional officer was a diver. He dived across and swim across and brought blokes back, uh, April terrible thing to happen with the two times the Melbourne did this near the pool man on the skip, a highchair, the Akamai's Melbourne, uh, the captain Stevenson, um, had a five days before this had a meeting with all the captains of air ships and said, people away from me, we at we cannot stop. Uh, we are an aircraft carrier. You keep your distance, uh, do not do that.

Col Lee: And on the wind, when the breakevens evens was coming in to the bales, the skipper radio it and said, you're on a collision course, go away, go away. They didn't do it that poor man. It ruined his life. Um, re-read McRib was on board, the Melbourne too. And that, that, that ruined his life. And he, uh, it wasn't till 2012, the government, then I think it was the labor government turn man, and apologize to him and said, we're so sorry that this affected your career and apologize which family, but, uh, the Americans tried to blame us. And it was discovered that the guys on two guys on board to a Lieutenant or whatever, they were on board, the Frankie Evans wouldn't qualify. One of the guys had failed his qualifications to stand watch and the skipper of claim, or I think he's was the skipper of the, uh, Frankie Evans, uh, apologized and said it was his fault. He was in bed asleep,

Steve Price: Shocking waste of life. Given the scene in peacetime, our guest on veterans of the day, this episode is called Elliot. You, I mean, what, what surprises me here, um, and we'll change the mood. Uh, you've seen so much, you've seen so much death and destruction, but you didn't make a career at a comedy. How the hell does that happen?

Col Lee: Yeah. Oh, I think that was it. There was a lot. So, um, uh, I always say I go on stage and I, uh, take them again. The English, the Irish Kiwis, the Kiwis, the Kiwis. Now I, uh, I, I was in the bars and Singapore and Hong Kong a lot. I spent all my time in the forest in the Navy. I did seven years. I ended up a recruit, skilled instructor and servers at the end. And I think I put my recruits more about the best boss that, um, I, uh, uh, yeah, we, we were in Singapore were brought and people who served in my, my time in the Navy or the army or whatever, know how much money we got, nothing. I think you'd never get 30 bucks a food. Not that, um, I, we were always broke. So we were in a place in Singapore called nice soon.

Col Lee: So one of my mates, Billy bins said, we should form a band and go and get some free drinks. And a couple of us played guitar and a couple of have played ukuleles. And, uh, we had a big sandbox base that we made out of a plaque and all that stuff. So we called ourselves the new need. Soon city rain was Jack and Jane name. And, uh, we used to do all these little sketches and I had a, my, my, to my called Shelley and they had a great sense of humor. And he used to say, I used to, I used to do the grubby split a Larry, and he'd say, uh, ladies and gentlemen, we're here at Madison square garden tonight. We're about to, uh, witnessed the, uh, uh, the biggest fight of the century. This is a groggy sled, Lowry, the contender for the world, heavyweight champion, uh, ship of the world.

Col Lee: Welcome bragging, a gray. I noticed that a lot of fighters after, uh, after that fight, um, relaxed by playing guitar or maybe a reading poetry, what do you do? Mostly after my most, I bleed well as David stuff, you know, and I served a familiar face in the audience that it was nine, you know, and we used to do these little sketches and play songs to the crowd and the mama son in the bag would give us free drinks. So it was a great deal. Uh, we get a freedom seminar and I did that in the nineties for many years. And then when I got out of the Navy, Karen and I we've been married 48 years now. Um, I married Mitch, right. I didn't know if his name was always, but I love it. Um, but Kevin and I were married and, uh, obvious broke mate.

Col Lee: I come here to civilian life. I, I skipped, I skipped, uh, poor, went straight to poverty. It was tough. I never knew what civilian life was like. I was, uh, I, I could track a submarine and I could, uh, I was a diver, uh, but I thought I can't take a submarine in the middle of Melbourne. So I didn't know what to do, what I wanted to do stand up. I just had a feeling that I could do this, you know, I just cause I love to laugh. And, uh, I, we had a 1953 anniversary Ford and it had angry Anderson tires on it. And there were bits of wire hanging off it. And every time I hit, if I would have knocked anybody down that would've got 20 lashes, as I fell, it was a bloody terrible car. And, uh, I need a copper pick me up.

Col Lee: And he said, you got to get this car off the road sign. I went, Oh my God, what am I going to do? You know, I'm living in a flat up 20 bucks a week. So, and um, I thought, what am I going to do? Uh, so I saw Kevin Dennis new faces. Yeah. That was a TV show in Melbourne, Tim and Dan. Yeah, he was. And he wanted the show, Kevin Dennis, new faces. And later on that, Frank Wilson was the comprehend when I went on and, uh, Bert Newton who ended up a wonderful friend of mine and Bert, uh, took it over. But that was the time show that Paul Hogan was on. And, and, and many, many years later, uh, I worked with Paul. I did a thing called Benny. Five-O where he, he was, he was a red a, he said it wasn't fair that Hawaii Five-O and the Benny Hill show is on at the same time.

Col Lee: Cause we didn't have videos and whatever then, um, so he created Billy Five-O and I did the beanie Hill for him, uh, and pull, gave me 500 bucks to shave in Milwaukee. And I thought it was great. And so if you ever see that clip that's me anyway, doesn't matter. Uh, going back, I, I went on the show to get money for ties from the car. And 48 years later, I got a garage full of toys. I actually, I actually won the finals and, um, I, uh, I just cleaned up some Navy stuff and, uh, I did a bit of Marriott aid, gear poetry, and did all my accents and my great staff. Like

Steve Price: It's been an incredible life. It's been a great pleasure talking to you. I just want to ask you something very serious before we go. Um, a lot of the, a lot of the younger veterans that I talked to on veteran the day open up about, uh, how it's been, uh, after they service and the lack of support they get from veteran affairs and DVI and the struggle I get from the government to recognize them properly, you would have gotten no help. I presume for the terrible things you saw, is that right?

Col Lee: No, no, not, not at all. Um, I came back from Vietnam to take it from Vietnam. I came back and, uh, I had my uniform on and, uh, I was set up with, with another able same to get the mail. And, um, I think we were up at the crossroads or up around there and we had to go there and we were surrounded by a bunch of civilians who started to abuse us. I mean, really, we had some middle ribbons on and I abused and they, they grabbed hauled Amelia and I took a swing at one, uh, the cops arrived, but they ripped my uniform and I got back to the ship and my uniform was all written, uh, uh, reported to a chief petty officer. And I said, well, look, we, we got to tech, we got at mile, but we've got a tech.

Col Lee: And so they basically that okay, after that, no uniforms sure. Do not go issue with a uniform. Uh, yeah, well, they, they, uh, they really, uh, I spat, they called us terrible names. Um, and I don't know if you've got it in front of you, but I, I where, uh, uh, the Australian middles, uh, but I also have one, uh, that was presented to us from the us Navy. And it's a Navy citation for a nice, if we at bribery in Vietnam, none of that meant anything by much just through Hyde park to be given this metal or this ribbon. And, uh, uh, it was horrendous. They had to call the police and it was shocking. It was shocking. So, uh, there was no support there. Um, I'll tell you one small incident. I don't know, we're running out of time that I, I, uh, after the Frankie Evans was, uh, after the, uh, Frankie Evans was cutting up, or I was still on the steward, halfway off ships crew had moved.

Col Lee: They're always still on there. And, um, a quick incident, I'll keep it very short. Uh, I couldn't sleep every Creek, every noise on my, on that chip. I couldn't sleep. And I was really tired all the time. And I finished the watch as a look at, and I went back down the medicine and then I said, I better go and just check. I've told him everything. And as I went back up to the end, I said, Oh yeah, can I just pray that he's the guy I call him? And I sit on my dad just want to make sure. Did I tell you that there is a tanker over the air? And there's another sheep. He, he told me, I said, now you've got the Emmy. And, and as I was telling him again, the door opened up in a SubLieutenant or I think it was somebody attended, come in.

Col Lee: He said, Elliott, what are you doing here? He was the new guy. He'd never been, he wasn't on the ship when the, uh, like it was just cutting up. He said, he, and he said, what are you doing here? You are supposed to be in your back. You're absent from place of duty and all that sort of stuff. And I should know, I've just checked. And all of a sudden, now we need to a panic attack. And I had to make sure that this guy knew everything. I said, tell me again, tell me again. And I must've put my hand out and grabbed this guy by the bloody shirt. And I think I might've lifted him the bloody Dick. And anyway, I, my mate pushed me away. She called go down, go down below. And I went and I sat on the bank and what happened, couldn't think, and I was on a charge for attacking this, uh, officer and not, uh, I was in the absence and place to duty.

Col Lee: And I went before the skipper and the skipper, luckily was sort of the Frankie Evans and sent that guy up when he was charging me and said, Elliot, you went on to attack him while you, when he shaking his head and all that. And I said, he said, no, you work. You work with, uh, you know, and he knew was on board. He said, we'd been through a lot. I'll drop these charges. You do this again. And your won't touch the ground. You'll go up the roof, which meant, uh, so I got 40 days punishment. Uh, I having a panic attack, uh, and all those 14 days pay. And, um, the Lieutenant, I had to apologize to him or 17 or whatever it was. And I remember it. And afterwards I realized what it was, it was a panic attack, but we would never counsel, there was no counseling. So I just had to live with it. You know, that's a short story, a bit of a bloody long lunch, Steve. Sorry about that.

Steve Price: Call you later an extraordinary life call Elliot. Thank you very much for talking to us on veteran of the day.

Col Lee: Thank you very, very much for having me.

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Casey Nixon

Casey Nixon

Episode 6 Casey NixonStraight out of grade 12 and at age 18, I joined Army as a PTE Soldier. I spent the next 90 days at Kapooka adapting to military life and absolutely loved every minute of it. After my initial training I went to Bandianna VIC for my IET training....