Some ‘vets’ (no names),
Lodge disabled claims,
When retirement ’tis almost nigh;
Then quit do they,
With a huge ‘super’ pay,
And apply late for T.P.I.
’Twas oft’ the case,
Many never left base,
And they say there weren’t any ‘fronts’;
I shudder today,
What they’d have to say,
If beyond the wire, as ‘grunts’.
Near Vung Tau by the sea,
A supply base they called ‘The Rear’;
30Ks from that,
Lay Nui Dat,
And for them that was too bloody near!
Some like to press,
Post Traumatic Stress,
Yet many ‘base wallahs’ live a myth;
A pensioner’s lot,
Due to nerves being ‘shot’,
Left wondering about: “What if?”
One chap I know,
Just a while ago,
Had the affront out loud to say:
“Bloody rough ’twas ‘Nam’,
Now stressed I am!”
And yet he was there for just one day!
T.V. last night,
A sad and sorry sight,
Angry, whilst blaming Viet-nam;
Once Vung Tau Ferry men,
Sailing ‘The Sydney’ then,
Seeking pensions for 'mental harm' !
This cook applied
And became 'T.P.I.’ed',
With gut pains that never abate;
In agreement The Board,
Said: “You deserve a reward,
For those horrible meals you ate!”
And should you support,
Any on this rort,
Be complacent, or take their side,
Held values debased,
In dishonouring those who died.
A few engineers went down,
Holes in the ground,
In frequent danger, as a ‘tunnel rat’ ;
Others out beyond the wire,
Came under fire,
Cleared mines and tasks like that!
Yet, in their place,
Imposters bring disgrace,
On other’s backs a few clowns ride;
Playing hero games,
Falsify their claims,
Should be ashamed for how they’ve lied.
So it seems to me,
And you might agree,
A few are claiming, what they should not;
Since some today,
Would’ve ended up that way,
Whether ‘vets’ or God knows what!
Now, for those who sign,
On that bottom line,
Submit false or dubious claims,
Recall those who aren’t,
And 500 who can’t,
The Honour Roll lists all their names!
BHQ Nui Dat 1967 - (Author's collection)
All genuine veterans will I’m sure be able to relate to characters in this poem! There are unfortunately some who embellish their service record and claim compensation through pensions on dubious mental incapacity, using purely the fact that they were present in the war zone when the traumatic event took place. Having read about it, or heard about it, they are then able to transform the trauma until it becomes part of their own experience. These are a special group of ‘wanna-bes’ who are being exposed on the Internet. They have always existed after all wars (www.cpmh.net). Also see poem I Just Wanna Be.
“ A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take
sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep! ”
- Salman Rushdie in The Satanic Verses.