The Delta Company Sign … (The Story of)
In early 1968, if you left Nui Dat for Vung Tau, by the back (Southern) gate, you would pass a compound on the western side of the road, call sign ‘Heavyweight’.
Tactically, discouraging an enemy attack from a southerly direction, it had been a base for two, US units, Heavy Artillery and Meteorologists. With the Artillery, on route, to the DMZ, the First Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, arrived in country, for it’s second tour of duty. Delta Company was, immediately, detached to garrison the compound, much to the relief of the few Meteorologists.
Naturally, as American units do, they had a sign at the entrance to the compound, proclaiming their presence. Not to be outdone, the Company Commander instructed his Company Sig. Corporal Ross Coulter, who he knew, was a dab hand with pencil and brush, to produce a sign for Delta Company.
The sign was made from a sheet of metal with a timber frame, featuring a popular cartoon character, of the era, ‘Andy Capp’, and the words ‘In Exile’. With the background of vivid red, the sign, was and still is eye-catching.
All went well, til one day the Battalion Commander was passing and spotted the sign. There followed, at company headquarters, an angry tirade about, aiding , the enemies’ intelligence apparatus and orders to have it taken down, immediately.
The sign disappeared, from the front gate of ‘Heavyweight’, but re-appeared, gracing the entrance of the Company Boozer.
Later that year, Delta Company relocated to SAS hill (inside the confines Nui Dat). The sign, also, relocated (see photo).
When, after it’s second tour of duty in South Vietnam, garrison duty in Malaysia/Singapore followed,the manning chart was decreased, Delta Company was disbanded and it’s property put into storage.
Fast forward to Australia’s second deployment to the Afganistan War . A company sized unit deployed from 1RAR. That unit was Delta Company, and the sign went too. Not bad, forty, odd, years service, this Icon can now, be found in The Battalion Museum at Townsville.