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i was only nineteen [good copy]

i was only nineteen [good copy]



|Views: 1,341|Likes:
Published by Kyle Ivory
A Reveiw of the song I WAS ONLY NINETEEN by REDGUM and it's relevance to the vietnam war
A Reveiw of the song I WAS ONLY NINETEEN by REDGUM and it's relevance to the vietnam war

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Kyle Ivory on Mar 21, 2010
Copyright:Public Domain


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Kyle Ivory
I Was Only Nineteen
[Final Copy]
Mr Norrish1

The song I Was Only Nineteenwas first released in March 1983 by
the artists Redgum, the album hit number one in Australia andwas
in the top forty for four months. The reason the songwas so
popular among Australianswas that it showed the true side of the

Vietnam War.

The songwaswritten by John Schumannwho is the lead vocalist, hewrote it about his
brother-in-law\u00b6s (Mick Storen) experience in the Vietnam War and Frankie Hunt or
\u00b3Frankie\u00b4,whowas one of Micks mates

\u00b3Mum and Dad and Denny saw the passing-out parade at Puckapunyal
It was a long march from cadets.
The sixth battalion was the next to tour, and it was me who drew the card.
We did Canungra, Shoalwater before we left.\u00b4

This paragraph is to show that the author of the songwas young. By him saying mum and
dad and Denny (who is presumably his brother) this showed that hewas still young. It was a
long march from cadets. Means to show that he had only just came out of the \u00b3army cadets\u00b4

andwasn\u00b6t thatwell trained for armed conflict such as the Vietnam War. The sixth battalion
or Sixth Royal Australian Regimentwas going to Vietnam and he being a part of it had to go
along. The next line explainswhen hewent to Canungra, Shoalwater in Queensland for 6
months training at each before he left.

\u00b3And Townsville lined the footpaths as we marched down to the quay
This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean.
And there's me in my slouch hat with my SLR and greens.
God help me, I was only nineteen.\u00b4

Townsville is a city in Queensland, by sayingTownsville lined the footpaths he is talking
about all the people that came towatch them parade before leaving to go to Vietnam.
Obviously being a big event itwas in the paper and Mick Storen is looking back at the article.
In the photo he iswearing a slouch hat. This is the standard military head dresswhilst
parading theSL R is a self-loading- riflewhichwas used by Australia in the Vietnam War.

Greens refer to the uniform that the Australianswore in Vietnam, theywere calledgr e e ns
Kyle Ivory
I Was Only Nineteen
[Final Copy]
Mr Norrish2

because of their distinct green colour and theywere used to blend in before the DPCU
uniform came out in the late 1970\u00b6s. The next lineGod help me, I was only nineteen is the
main factor of the song that hewas nineteen and saw things that a nineteen year old should
not have seen at that age and that hewas young and stupid and does not know what he knows

\u00b3From Vung Tau, riding Chinooks, to the dust at Nui Dat
I'd been in and out of choppers now for months.
But we made our tents a home, VB and pinups on the lockers
And an Asian orange sunset through the scrub.\u00b4

Vung Taua ndNui Dat are cities in Vietnam and a Chinook is a military helicopter used for

transport of troops and supplies. The author is trying to display his message that he has been
moving around a lot but hasn\u00b6t done much. The soldiers have come to Vietnam and are trying
to adapt to the new climate by making it like homewith posters andVB(Victorian Bitter)
Beer. The sun is no different but hypothetically it feels different for them, so they call it an
Asian sunset.

\u00b3And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep?
And night-time's just a jungle dark and a barking M16?
And what's this rash that comes and goes; can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only nineteen.\u00b4

This is the chorus of the song. It is put as if Mick Storen is asking a doctorwhy he can\u00b6t go to
sleep, this is probably a Post Traumatic Stress related issue overwhat he saw and experienced
in Vietnam and that he has repouring dreams ofwhen hewas in Vietnam and that\u00b6swhy he
can still here the M16\u00b6s (an assault rifle)whilst he is asleep. The only explanation of the rash
is a disease that he picked upwhilst in service such as the effects ofAgent Orange, an
herbicide used by the U.S. or any bacteria that is prone to growing in tropical areas. It states
again that hewas only nineteen and should not have gone through all the trauma of it.

\u00b3A four week operation when each step could mean your last one on two legs
It was a War within yourself.
But you wouldn't let your mates down til they had you dusted off
So you close your eyes and thought about something else.\u00b4

Kyle Ivory
I Was Only Nineteen
[Final Copy]
Mr Norrish3

Theywere out in the bush for fourweeks in a hostile area known for having mines scattered
everywhere and if you triggered one youwould have your leg blown off. The fact that you
know that people get gruesomely killed by mines, the enemy and nature, and that you may
have seen it happen to your friends and/or comrades,would put major physiological stress on
an individual. The only thing that kept you goingwas trying to look good in front of your
friends. The onlyway through it allwas to close your eyes and pray and pretend none of it is

\u00b3Then someone yelled out "Contact!" and the bloke behind me swore
We hooked in there for hours, then a God almighty roar
Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon,
God help me, he was going home in June.\u00b4

When \u00b5Contact\u00b6 is yelled it means that someone from your section has seen an enemy and
you have to go to ground. My interpretation of\u00b3and the bloke behind me swore\u00b4 is that there
was a Vietnam solider creeping up behind Mick Storen and he could have been killed if his

comrade had not spotted him. Itwas the 21st of July1969 and \u00b3Frankie\u00b4 triggered a landmine.
This day coincidedwith Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon. Mick Storen found it
saddening that \u00b3Frankie\u00b4was nearing the end of his career andwould be home the next


\u00b3I can still see Frankie, drinking tinnies in the Grand Hotel
On a thirty-six hour rec leave in Vung Tau
And I can still hear Frankie, lying screaming in the jungle
Til the morphine came and killed the bloody row.\u00b4

Mick Storen reflects on how he can still remember drinking beer at the local pubwith his
matewho is now screaming in the jungle. Morphine is a clinical medicine regarded as the
gold standard of pain relief and suffering, it acts directly on the Central Nervous System, it
has a high rate for addiction, and the main side affect of morphine is an increased heart rate.
If in too much stress or having massive internal or external injuries the effects of morphine
lead to death by heart attack, blood clot, blood loss or stroke.

\u00b3And the Anzac legends didn't mention mud and blood and tears
And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real.
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn't even feel
God help me, I was only nineteen.\u00b4

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