Bear Winchester - 4th Battalion's greatest story teller. He could make a clearing patrol around the perimeter of the platoon sound like he had fought off 2 platoons of VC where in actual fact it would be a local farmer with a couple of kids looking for his water buffalo.
MEMORIES - TALES OF THE ‘BEAR’
Most of you will understand how the following events could take place. I had the misfortune whilst serving in Vietnam to be associated with a want to be hero and damn the cost. My first inclination of this dangerous situation occurred while attached to D- Company as one of the Assault Pioneer’ s along with Bear Winchester who referred to himself as the “Jungle Fox”, the villain of this story. My understanding of our role within the Company, while on patrol was to wait for the Company to find mines or booby traps which would then require our expertise to dispose of, or at least render them harmless. I think it was on the third or fourth day while taking our daily walk through the bush, accompanied by the leading platoon, that the local VC decided that we foreigners should not be spoiling their nature walks and ambushed the leading section from the left side. Now being neither brave or stupid I went to ground to await the second following section to break to the left and form a line and roll up the VC.
I re-acted without thinking when I heard ’ Pioneers onthe left, form up’ ready to roll up the VC who had ambushed the leading platoon. I was on my feet and running to position as fast as possible. On gaining the ground and position, it finally dawned on me that Pioneers referred to justtwo of us. Not only that, while we were getting in position the second section was also forming up behind us ready to go forward and roll up the ambushing VC. Upon realising what was about to occur, panic set in. I naturally let the instigator of my unfortunate placement in an area where I could certainly be harmed by both the VC in front and second section from behind, know all about it in terms which can- not be repeated in any company. Lucky for me the VC had decided that they would not stay to see what would happen next. I personally thought that they along with the second section had trouble to keep their laughter under control upon realising what had occurred.
Even after much discussion with the Bear, he could not understand that Vietnam was not being fought just for his chance to become the hero of the Winchester clan. The Bear decided half way through the 4RAR tour in Vietnam that pioneer platoon did not give him the chance which he described to the platoon commander as his “opportunity to win the medals to which he was rightly deserving “. He, therefore, requested that he be transferred to a rifle company to become a forward scout.
This is but one of many tales in which our intrepid hero “The Bear” has been described as having taken part in.
Apologies for the change in format requirements for the last two chapters in "The Life of The Bear"