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A walk in the light green (I was only nineteen)

** "Songbook" Songbook.IWasOnly19 -> Songbook.FullName ontrail

By: John Schumann, 1983[1]



Performed: Red Gum[2]

A song about two mates of the author, Mick and Frankie, who went to Vietnam and came back agent orange victims. The title "A Walk in the Light Green" stems from the fact that when the Australian soldiers in Vietnam were given their missions they looked at the areas that they'd be working in on the map and if it was dark green on the map there was cause for some consolation because dark green meant thick jungle, lots of cover, and there were no mines. If they were working in areas that were light green on the map that meant light jungle, not much cover and heaps of mines.

A C G D A G A A
A C G D A G A
Mum and Dad and Denny saw the passing out parade at Puckapunyal, it was a long march from cadets
A C G D
The sixth battalion was the next to tour and it was me who drew the card
A G A A
We did Canungra, Shoalwater before we left
 
E E D A
And Townsville lined the footpaths as we marched down to the quay
E E D A
This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean
F#m E D A E E E F#m D D
And there's me in my slouch hat with me SLR and greens, God help me, I was only nineteen
 
A C G D A G A
From Vung Tau riding Chinooks to the dust at Nui Dat, I'd been in and out of choppers now for months
A C G D
And we made our tents a home, VB and pinups on the lockers
A G A A
And an Asian orange sunset though the scrub
 
E E D A
And can you tell me doctor why I still can't get to sleep
E E D A
And night times just a jungle dark and a barking M16
F#m E D A E E E F#m D D
And whats this rash that comes and goes can you tell me what it means, God help me, I was only nineteen
 
A C G D A G A
A four week operation when each step could mean your last one on two legs; it was a war within yourself
A C G D
But you wouldn't let your mates down till they had you dusted off
A G A A
So you closed your eyes and thought about something else
 
E E D A
And then someone yelled out "contact" and the bloke behind me swore
E E D A
We hooked in there for hours then a god almighty roar
F#m E D A E E E F#m D D
And Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon, God help me, he was going home in June
 
A C G D A G A A
A C G D A C A
I can still see Frankie drinking tinnies in the Grand Hotel on a thirty six hour rec leave in Vung Tau
A C G D
And I can still see Frankie lying screaming in the jungle
A G A
Till the morphine came and killed the bloody row
 
E E D A
And the Anzac legends didn't mention mud and blood and tears
E E D A
And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real
F#m E D A E E E F#m D D
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn't even feel, God help me, I was only nineteen
 
E E D A
And can you tell me doctor why I still can't get to sleep
E E D A
And why the channel seven chopper chills me to my feet
F#m E D A E E E F#m D D
And whats this rash that comes and goes can you tell me what it means, God help me, I was only nineteen
D D D A C G D A G A
Glossary
AnzacAustralia New Zealand Army Corps
Canungraa Jungle Warfare training center[3]
Channel SevenAn Australian Television Network
Chinooka twin engine tandem rotor heavy lift helicopter used for troop movement[4]
greensJungle green uniform
Puckapunyalwas a recruit training center[5]
Shoalwaterused for Military exercises[6]
Townsvillecity in Queensland[7] and major Army Barracks
M16rifle[8]
SLR7.62mm Self Loading Rifle - standard Army weapon of the era[9]
rec leaverecreation leave
tinniesCans of beer
V.B.Victoria Bitter - an Australian brand of beer
Vung Tau & Nui Datwere Aussie bases in Vietnam.

Created 2009 Sep 01 09:49

This is the author's own work and represents their interpretation of the song. You may only use this for private study, scholarship, or research.

Page last modified on 2015 Jun 14 19:05

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