John O’Halloran was a country boy from Tamworth, NSW, who was called up for national service not long after the start of the Vietnam War. As a tough and determined 21-year-old, he guided 6 RAR’s B Company 5 Platoon through some of the biggest conflicts of the war, including Operation Hobart and the Battle of Long Tan. But he faced his hardest military challenge at Operation Bribie, leading a fixed bayonet charge against a deadly Viet Cong jungle stronghold.
The Platoon Commander is an unmissable and devastating first-hand account of the realities and brutalities of war, and especially this war fought in jungles, not trenches, which would go on to bitterly divide Australians. O’Halloran’s sense of duty and strong character carried him and his men through fierce battles and uncertainty. His sense of humour kept him going through the years afterwards. His indomitable spirit inspired the men of 5 Platoon to fight against the odds to achieve the mission – no matter how treacherous – and even away from the action and in the many years since O’Halloran kept the respect of his men.
Now regarded by many of his peers as a national treasure, John Patrick Joseph O’Halloran has been quoted in almost every important book written about Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, yet has never told his own remarkable story. Until now.
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