BRAVE SOLDIER: Vietnam veteran David Haynes remembers his mates on ANZAC Day.
BRAVE SOLDIER: Vietnam veteran David Haynes remembers his mates on ANZAC Day. Ella Archibald-Binge

Soldier survived horror ambush

WALKING through a Vietnamese jungle in 1967, radio operator David Haynes and his 10-man patrol came across a soldier's nightmare: they were caught in an enemy ambush.

Sitting at the Stanthorpe RSL, Mr Haynes remembers the incident with perfect clarity - as he said, "It's not something you can ever forget".

In a "hit and run" attack, two men were killed and five were seriously injured.

They were a long way from help.

As radio operator, it was up to Mr Haynes to call for help.

"It was my job to keep track of where we were," he said.

"We were under the cover of trees, so you couldn't see the sky.

"I worked out where we were and I contacted the company commander and organised the evacuation."

Although badly wounded, Mr Haynes stayed behind as the evacuation helicopters came in, not leaving until all his men were on board.

He spent the following 10 days in a Vietnamese hospital, and further time in a Brisbane hospital after returning to Australia.

Mr Haynes plays down his role, but the Stanthorpe local has received a military medal for bravery, and was recently accepted into the Bravery Association after being nominated by the Stanthorpe RSL.

The veteran simply said he had a job to do.

"I couldn't see any sense in going over there and sitting in an office," he said.

"If you had a job to do, you just had to get out and do it."

Stanthorpe Border Post

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