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  Jumping Jack

I was about 8 or 10 paces behind Morrie when he stepped on the mine. It fucks me up to talk about this and I have nightmares about it fairly frequently, yelling out a warning to him not to move but no sound comes out of my mouth - The dream always ends the same way with a brilliant explosion and me waking up screaming.

The mine was an M26 "Jumping Jack" and when it went up the warhead actually propelled itself out of the ground up to the height of his balls. Believe it or not I think that I actually saw it. It was painted deep bronze green and had yellow markings. Time stood still, there was a brilliant orange flash and I hit the deck. The vegetation was very thick and I was well protected. Not so Morrie, the mine blew the the lower half of his body to pieces. His legs were separated from the rest of him and his balls were blown up onto his webbing.

We were all terrified that we were in the middle of a minefield and were pretty shaken up. The rest the section ran up to where I was so that we could pull Morrie back. As unbelievable as it sounds he was still alive and he pulled himself up onto his arse in a sitting position. "Don't move!" he yelled "And don't come and get me ... I'm had it!"

Morrie was older than the rest rest of us and was a junior NCO. He was an excellent soldier and I looked up to him. To see him blown to pieces in front of my very eyes was hell.

Presently an Aussie Engineer who was with us yelled out to Morrie "Don't move cobber, I'm coming to get you, just hang on and don't die! " The Aussie pulled his bayonet and squatted down and started prodding into the jungle floor ... The rest of us stayed put and I kept talking to Morrie to try and keep him conscious. I felt so helpless and there wasn't a fuckin thing that I could do.

On that Op (operation) we had all been issued with morphine jabs which we wore around our necks. As I watched Morrie pulled his ampoule, cleared the needle and jabbed himself directly into his neck. Then he quietly prayed to himself in Maori and as I watched the colour in his face drained and he slowly slumped onto his side ... He bled to death before we could reach him.

I was too young for Borneo but I had made it to the Nam. When this incident occurred I think that I was nineteen. In a dirty war this was as bad as it ever got for me ...

Kia Hunga Mate , Ki te Hunga Mate!
Kia Hunga Ora, Ki te Hunga Ora!

Published in The Vietnam Scrapbook, The Second ANZAC Adventure, p 205, Subritzsky, Mike, Three Feathers Publishing, Papakura, 1995. Mike Subritzky

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