Hi! To those of you who support me by subscribing to my newsletter, I appreciate your company, and especially all the emails I receive after the newsletter gets sent out! It's reassuring that some of you actually read it! LOL
The Nam Legacy has almost finished the last round of edits and although it's on track, I've moved the launch date from 1st May to 1st June - just to make sure I've got everything covered. With my first book I was so excited all I wanted to do was get it published, but this time I am trying so hard to just take each step slowly and make sure everything is done correctly, I know some of you will be disappointed, but I want you to enjoy Jack's story, so as the saying goes, anything worth doing, is worth doing well!
With that in mind, my back cover is pretty much finished and I'm so excited about it, I think it looks fantastic, what do you think? You are the very first to see it. Feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com and let me know.
Covers of The Nam Legacy
Searching for Jack...
In April 1967, 210 men of Victor 1 Coy Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment were sent to Vietnam. Arriving in Saigon they were sent to Vung Tau and onto an Australian camp at Nui Dat. Jack served with Victor 1 and in April he set up camp at Nui Dat. When he arrived there were already a large number of soldiers stationed there.
- 7 RAR
- 6 RAR
- A squadron of armoured personnel carriers
- 3 batteries of field artillery (including 161 Bty from NZ)
- A squad of engineers
- A light aircraft unit
- 104 Signals Squad
- Headquarters 1 ATF
- 2 American artillery units
- Dust off choppers
To get things in perspective, by the time Jack arrived in Vietnam there were almost 400,000 American soldiers already in country, their draft calls exceeded 30,000 per month. By the end of 1967 there were 382 New Zealander's in Vietnam and 5 Kiwi deaths compared to 16,000 American deaths and 186,000 enemy deaths.
Anyway, moving along, Nui Dat got its name from the hill at the centre of the camp, (which was later re-named SAS Hill), It was one of the many helipads scattered around the camp. Nui Dat plays a big part in the story. Not only because that's where Jack was based when he wasn't out in the jungle, or at the Horseshoe, but because of Luscombe Bowl. (I'll tell you more about that in the next newsletter)
The job of the Kiwis was to support the Australians in stopping the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong from infiltrating the South and in particular Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City as it's been called since the liberation.
Nui Dat Hill and the remaining kangaroo pad, as they were called - 2016
Nui Dat Hill from the same angle in 1968 with choppers
This is the end of Luscombe Field runway. At the end to the left is where Luscombe Bowl was situated.
An aerial view of Nui Dat showing the runway and the cleared dirt where Luscombe Bowl was situated.
To the middle right you can see Nui Dat Hill. This photo was taken a year after the one above.
Jack along with Victor 1, was camped up behind Luscombe Bowl amongst the hundreds of aging rubber trees. His home was a tent protected with sandbags several feet up each side so that when he was sleeping he was protected from incoming sniper fire. He slept on a wire bed and shared his tent with two others.
A tent similar to Jack's at Nui Dat - 1968.
Nui Dat was approximately 30 miles or 45 minutes to an hour from Vung Tau. It had almost everything that the men would need and until approximately 1968, it was considered too dangerous and off limits to females. Except visiting entertainers, who would fly in or be driven in, perform and fly out or be driven out. Both Victor Coy and six months later, Whiskey Coy when they arrived, made camp amongst the old rubber trees above Luscombe Bowl.
The rubber trees are only grown for 25 years before they are considered too old, so new trees are planted and the old ones cut down. In the sixties the Demand for latex was high, but today, it doesn't fetch as much.
Our guide points out the remains of the main post office at Nui Dat. Jack posted letters to Evelyn from here.
Rubber plantation at Nui Dat. The coloured strips on the trees are used to angle the rain water away from the bowls collecting latex.
A bowl of latex ready for emptying. The farmers empty these coconut shell bowls twice a day.
This is where Victor 1 was camped and where Jack's tent was.
The rubber trees that were here in '67 were old and often branches would fall on tents. It was an amazing feeling to be standing where Jack had once walked, slept, joked as he played cards and shared a cold beer with his mates during down time.
This is to the left of the above photo. And was home to both Victor Coys and Whiskey Coys.
Standing still and listening, the noise from the insects was eerie and nothing like the noise of the cicadas we hear here in New Zealand.
This is an aerial view of The Horseshoe taken in the late '60's. It is an extinct volcanic crater and Jack and his best mate Terry
spent several weeks camped on top of this. It was used as a fire support base and supported huge minefields out towards the coast as a means of deterring
the enemy. However, often the NVA or VC would come out at night and dig up the mines and remove them, and use them against their enemy.
This is The Horseshoe taken last year from the road. The soldiers found it hard going here, Exposed to enemy fire, no shelter from the sun and the ground was hard to dig in when it came to filling sandbags!
The above map shows you where Vung Tau is, Nui Dat, The Horseshoe and the Long Hai Hills.
These are all places you'll visit in the book. Route 15 will take you to Saigon, a two hour drive away on today's motorways.
Although I promised to take you for a walk down some of the small streets that Jack walked down in Vung Tau, in this newsletter, I decided I'd share that with you later. Hope you don't mind! I thought you might like to hear more about Luscombe Bowl and what happened there, so that's where we'll explore next month.
And if you love the music of the '60's, don't forget I'm sharing some of the great music from 67 on my Facebook page over the coming weeks.
If you have any friends who might like to sign up to receive this newsletter, feel free to forward it or send them to my website - http://www.carolebrungar.com where they will find the sign-up link.
A gift for three lucky subscribers!
So, I've made a random draw from all those subscribed to this newsletter as from date of writing and we have three names!
- Therese Apatu
- Linda Manning
- Maree Rogers
CONGRATULATIONS!! If you are one of these lucky winners, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and I'll pop your gorgeous card in the mail to you.
And look what I have for one lucky subscriber this month!!
This beautiful silk scarf I purchased in Da Lat, is up for grabs and I'm going to give it away in my next newsletter.
And what do you have to do to enter? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! If you are a subscriber to this newsletter when I make the draw, your name will automatically be entered. Easy. HOWEVER, if you would like more chances to win, simply share this newsletter on your Facebook page, and let me know, and I'll enter your name twice!!
If you know anyone who might like to win this stunning scarf, or who might enjoy hearing about my search for Jack in Vietnam, please feel free to forward them a copy of this newsletter and tell them to sign up before the next newsletter. Or tell them to head over to my website at www.carolebrungar.com and sign up pronto!
LOOKING FOR A GUEST SPEAKER? If you belong to a group, (library groups, book club, fundraisers etc...) who are looking for guest speakers, keep me in mind. I love talking, especially when it involves talking about my writing adventures, my trip to Vietnam and Jack. Send me an email and let me know about your meeting.
If you haven't already read my first book, A tide too high you can buy the paperback or e-book here, or if you would like a signed copy, drop me an email and I'll only to be happy to send you a copy for NZ$20 plus postage.
In the mean time, don't forget to tell your friends about the beautiful scarf I'm giving away. If you don't want it for yourself, it would make a generous gift for some lucky person! Your friends can sign up for my newsletter over at: http://www.carolebrungar.com
Until next month, and don't forget, you can catch up with me over on my Facebook page - www.facebook.com/carole Brungar author come and say hi and let me know if you enjoyed the newsletter!
Thanks for your support!
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I will be sending out a newsletter every month with news and views, hopefully a few interviews, and some lovely give-aways. Mostly book related, but some arty news as well.