First published in 1987 and now in its ninth reprint, this autobiographical account by the author details his conscription into military service, his training as an officer at the Officer Training Unit, Scheyville and his preparation for a tour of duty in South Viet Nam as a rifle platoon commander. The book is based on the letters the author sent home to his wife and which chronicled his platoon’s actions during search and destroy operations in Phuoc Tuy Province.
This is a grass roots account of what infantry soldiering is all about and includes all of the highs and lows that men in combat will experience at some time. A straightforward story of the fears and the camaraderie which soldiers experience in combat.
Second Lieutenant McKay took part in some of the largest actions fought in Viet Nam outside of the now well-documented battles such as Long Tan, Coral, Balmoral and Binh Ba. By mid-1971 the Viet Cong’s Dong Nai Regiment (274 VC Main Force) and the 33rd NVA Regiment had infiltrated back into Phuoc Tuy Province just as the Australians were preparing to withdraw from this controversial war.
The culmination of this gripping and highly readable account is the battle fought at Nui Le where McKay’s rifle platoon is heavily outnumbered and is engaged in a life and death struggle. For his actions during the battle at Nui Le, Gary McKay was awarded the Military Cross, but he was also severely wounded and after evacuation back to Australia in October 1971, spent almost 12 months in hospital.
Anyone who wants to understand what service in South Viet Nam meant to those who were there should read this book.
The testimonials of this book back up what over 40 000 other readers have experienced.
‘Reading In Good Company leaves a vivid and disconcerting impression of how the Viet Nam War smelt, felt and sounded… One of the most honest and affecting war memoirs which Australians have so far published.’
Mar Thomas, Canberra Times
‘An enthralling, accurate account of infantry soldiering in the Viet Nam era. Very readable; a must for those who have never experienced combat and a vivid reminder to all veterans.’
Major General M. P. Blake, AM, MC, former CO 5th Battalion, RAR.
‘Mateship comes alive when McKay describes the world of his platoon.’
Max Teichmann, Times on Sunday
‘A fine account of Viet Nam and of how professional soldiers fought the war. The book should be required reading for every Australian.’
Lt Col Alistair Pope, OUT Association, Viet Nam veteran.
‘McKay speaks directly and bluntly, as many infantry officers should.’
Peter Charlton, Courier Mail
‘I laughed, cried and reflected all the way through. It is a reflection of times, places, events but, more importantly, people.’
Lt Col Tony Ralph, Viet Nam veteran, Platoon Commander, 1970
‘Of books published by Australians about Viet Nam… the most realistic view of the Australian soldier.’
Sgt Danny O’Kearney, SAS trooper, Viet Nam
RRP - Paperback, 197 pages with illustrations, maps and index. $A 20.00 plus postage & handling costs.