Viet Veteran vets new toilets

MEMORIES: Vietnam Veteran Geoff Kohler (right) with his battalion buddies.
MEMORIES: Vietnam Veteran Geoff Kohler (right) with his battalion buddies.

"Like everything else, we had to test them before we put them in!" Geoff Kohler said while cackling at the photo of himself on a makeshift toilet.

"We had a five-seater toilet and to clean it out we would pour diesel and petrol down them, strike a match and run.

"This new bloke came to me asking how to do it, so I told him but I forgot to tell him to come out.

"When the toilets got blown up I got the blame for it. I thought common sense would have told him to run."

While Mr Kohler reflects on this memory fondly, explaining they would often have to make their own fun, his memories soured when he returned home to Australia.

He spent two years in the Royal Australia Electrical Mechanical Engineers and like many others who served in Vietnam, he was shunned upon his return.

"When we got home, that's when it really hit us hard. They sneaked us back into Sydney at midnight in the dark. I caught a plane back to Adelaide and the wife picked me up," Mr Kohler said.

"I went down to the RSL club and they just asked me "What are you doing here? That wasn't a war?", Buggered if I know because they were shooting at me.

"I went underground virtually. Put my head down and worked like mad. It wasn't until 20 to 30 years later it really hit me hard."

Now, Mr Kohler is a vibrant member of the Port Augusta Returned and Service League Club. He helps host tours of the museum and welcomes other Vietnam Veterans.

This story Viet Veteran vets new toilets first appeared on The Transcontinental.