Robert James WOOD, known as Bob, was interviewed by Margaret Tickle for the Busselton Oral History Group (Inc) on 25th March 2014. It is one of a series of recorded interviews with ex-service personnel funded by Lotterywest to celebrate the Anzac Centenary.
Bob was born in 1945. When he was five the family moved to a farm near Greenbushes, then to Busselton. His father transferred to Perth and Bob attended Applecross High School.
Whilst in third year high school he joined the Army Cadets and was awarded a scholarship to Royal Military College Duntroon. After two of the four year course he was offered a place at the Officer Cadet School at Portsea but declined and came back to WA.
He completed teacher training. During this time he married his wife Valma Tomasivich.
He was accepted into the Army Reserve as a private recruit, but was given the appointment of section commander, then acting platoon commander because of a shortage of non-commissioned officers. Subsequently he was promoted and sent to officer training at Western Australian Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU).
Bob joined the CMF [Citizen Military Forces] full-time in 1969 and for 18 months was an officer instructor at Canungra Jungle Training Centre in Queensland. He volunteered for Vietnam and was deployed in the latter part of 1970.
After two weeks training and acclimatisation at Nui Dat base for the 1st Australian Task Force he was posted as platoon commander 12 Platoon D Company 7RAR , one of the very few CMF officers to command a regular army platoon in Vietnam.
Bob outlines much of the general of operational information of the Vietnam War in Phuoc Tuy Province, which was the responsibility of Australia.
Bob is an advocate level four and a welfare officer level one at the Busselton RSL Sub-Branch and fights for a fair outcome for ex-service or serving personnel who have a claim before the Repatriation Commission for the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). He is currently (2014) president of the sub-branch.
He has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and DVA recognises skeletal, muscular and other health problems as service-related.
Bob has been back to Vietnam on seven occasions, sometimes with other veterans, and really enjoys his time there.