Our People in WAKeith Moodie - Kent Digger's Unique Story
Not many people can say they have deployed on two operations over 40 years apart but for Kent’s Keith Moodie, it’s true.
Army Reservist Keith celebrated his 61st birthday on 14 July while deployed in the Solomon Islands some 43 years after his time as a tank gunner in Vietnam.
He said he could not compare the two operations.
“Vietnam was an undeclared war,” he said. “You knew you could get hit because there was an active war going on between the north and south.
“Here in Solomon Islands we are peace-keeping and trying to help the country to become self-reliant.”
During his Vietnam tour, Keith was a tank gunner in C Squadron with the Centurion tanks. During two different incidents in 1968 and 1969 his section was hit by land mines.
“We had our share of good times and bad times but no matter where you go, freedom costs,” he said.
“The day after the first incident in 1968, one of my mates Mick Hannaford was killed by a mine.
“The following year in Long Hai, a guy in my tent Jimmy Kerr also died. War costs lives.”
Following Vietnam, Keith discharged from the regular army, but, feeling something was missing, he joined the reserves in 1987 and was posted back to C Squadron, 1 Armoured Regt.
“The recruiting officer told me they had become a reserve unit,” he said. “I was in C Squadron in Vietnam — and I was one of the first guys to go in as a reserve member.”
Since re-enlisting in the Army, Keith has spent time at Bandiana as an Everyman, worked at the Olympics for Operation GOLD and is currently deployed to Solomon Islands.
“I’ve been blessed to be able to travel around with the Army and do different things. I‘ve had the privilege of doing things others have never done,” he said.
“The cream on the cake for me would be to also do a Timor deployment because of what my dad went through there during the Second World War.