Brian Buzzard

Personal Details

Full name

Brian Buzzard

About me

5715063  was my number for two years national service (8th intake). I was in Infantry and a Reo to 7RAR in Jan 1968. By April 68, 7RAR left Vietnam and 1RAR absorbed us into their platoons. I was in the Mortar Platoon in Bob Hickey’s section. FSPB Coral was 1RARs first major engagement with the enemy and they were still learning the ropes before this action. Lt. Jensen and Lt. Ahearn’s accounts are more accurate than the “official history”. As a No2 mortarman on the first night at Coral, I was absolutely sure I was going to die right there and then. Where we were placed on the perimeter and in a line extending due North of the guns of 102 Battery. No protection to our left flank or behind  us. no wire, claymores, sandbags, grenades, just our personal weapons and one M60 machinegun. A battalion of NVA attacked our position of 18 diggers and within one hour of intense fighting we lost 5 killed and 8 wounded out of the 18 soldiers. 102 Battery saved our lives by firing Splintex and HE rounds over and therefore into our position. Lts. Ahern and Jensen deserve the highest possible military awards for their guts and quick-thinking in preventing a complete annihilation of the entire FSPB Coral. We lost one gun (No 6) and Two mortars for a time to the enemy but their calls to fight it out to the end proved the right tactic in this situation. All weapons and territory lost to the NVA was regained by morning at the high cost of 11 killed and 28 wounded. We buried 52 NVA that morning with many more drag marks indicating a higher toll to the enemy than the body count. I still find it hard to forgive senior officers for the catastrophic position we were put in on the 12th May 1968. They awarded themselves DSOs, MCs, DCMs and more, while 102 Battery and 1RAR Mortar Platoon got nil recognition for 40 years and 50 years respectively. A few people in the shell-scrapes that night know how fortunate we are to be alive today. My wounds are still healing both physical and psychological. I hope current leaders don’t repeat those mistakes today.  Believe the people who were there.   Pte. Brian Buzzard (1RAR Mortars 1968)

Military Service

Served in the Military, Served in Vietnam

Current place of residence

Western Australia

Date of birth