AN AUSTRALIAN ARMY DOCTOR IN VIETNAM
By Dr Tony White AM RFD
The duties and life of a frontline Australian doctor in the Vietnam War (5 RAR 1966/67).
STARLIGHT was the radio call sign for army doctors and medics. Vivid recollections of author's 12 month tour of duty as a frontline doctor in difficult territory. Born in Australia, reared in Kenya, Africa, and educated in England and Australia with a medical degree from Sydney University, the author was Mentioned in Despatches during the war. In 2010 he retired from practice as a skin specialist in Sydney with a special interest in the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Pacific Islands He was made a member of The Order of Australia in 2009.
Vietnam was Australia's longest and most controversial war. This book vividly recalls the Author's 12 month tour of duty as a frontline doctor in difficult territory. Starlight was the radio call sign for army doctors and medics.
For those who were there, this book will surely refresh memories, good and bad, of those days of conflict. For those who weren't there, Tony White has painted the scenes skillfully with his letters home from the warfront, and connecting stories.
I commend strongly his story to all as an outstanding account of the duties and life of a frontline Australian doctor in the Vietnam War.
Major-General WB Digger James
AC MBE MC MBBS
When I think of the solid service, patient endurance, steady courage in the face of danger and the basic decency and dependability of the ordinary Australian soldier, I'm intensely proud to have 'been there and done that' in such company.
From Robert (Dogs) Kearney 5 RAR 1st Tour and author of Silent Voices and co-author of Crossfire and Flashback, Echoes from a Hard War wrote:
This is a great read mates - I could hardly put it down; read it in two sittings.
I highly recommend it to every member of the battalion and their families; it is an easy read that covers the personal side of a son, brother, and young doctor at war.
Through sharing his letters, thoughts, fears and use of black humour as well as his practical methods of dealing with stress, Tony has produced a wonderful book; I will revisit it from time to time to subdue my own dragons.
Doc's honest caring for the diggers comes through in his clear and descriptive sharing of the events of 66-67 many of which we as diggers didn't know about, but others in which we were the players. His use of personal family letters brings an immediacy that can't be squeezed from a fading memory.
This book will be read by a diverse range of people but especially his and our grandchildren, great grandchildren etc.
I am sure it will become mandatory reading for RMC, and AAMC; it will always be a valuable reference for young green Army doctors.
My best wishes go to all the Tigers and their families.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Starlight, Tony has written it in a simple, poignant and, at times, humorous way that gave me a better understanding of what the boys went through. He depicts our men who were in combat roles from the view point of a non-combatant, even though he was usually in the middle of things. Tony gives his clear impressions of the people and the events they were involved in without focusing on the wounds.
I believe that Starlight, as well as being an enjoyable read, may give other veterans wives an idea of what their men were involved in all those many years ago.
Tony White and Bob O'Neill OA, IO 1966-67
STARLIGHT, ISBN 987 1 876344 689,
$33.00 (including Postage & Packaging) is available from;
GPO Box 2927, BRISBANE, QLD, 4001.
Tel; (07) 3229-6366, Fax; (07) 3229-8782
Email; - Web-site; www.copyright.net.au