RAAF IROQUOIS PILOT’S VIEW OF THE VIETNAM WAR
Dr Bob Grandin, a former Vietnam War veteran turned educator turned author, has just released his second book about the Vietnam War. ‘Answering the Call’ tells the story of his year on combat duty in Vietnam as an Air Force helicopter pilot and his subsequent life as a civilian.
Dr Grandin now works as a lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast and works with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He celebrated the release of the new work with a book signing at the Amberley RAAF base, alongside the very same helicopter he flew during the fateful battle of Long Tan.
Dr Grandin’s involvement with his first book in 2004 was the inspiration for the recent box office hit Danger Close: Battle of Long Tan.
However this work, draws back to give a full cross section of Bob’s daily life as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and then follows his movements after the war.
“Long Tan was one day in 365 days I spent in Vietnam… I was able to go back to my log book to see what I did every day. Luckily, I can remember most things, so I then just started to piece together my daily experiences.”
Coming home from Vietnam he struggled to feel settled in his civilian life, so he threw himself into study. He became a self confessed compulsive student and amassed eight degrees and two doctorates.
During the course of his studies he turned to education, becoming a principal, heading research and practice into new ways to deliver education, and he focused on children who had been excluded because of traditional schooling methods.
Dr Grandin’s career working with and learning from young people from around the world led him to earn a degree in psychology and he became a registered mediator. When he began working with the Department of Veterans Affairs, he relied heavily on these skills to communicate and work with returned soldiers.
‘Answering the Call’ has been a ten-year labour of love for Grandin, which brings together all that he has learned, both in the war and as an educator, to tell a story that has a common thread amongst veterans.
“I realised as I was writing the book I was talking about the challenges for veterans from the perspective of how I struggled to settle down with jobs,” he said.
With the publication and release of this new book, Grandin hopes his experiences may help those who have been through similar events, and that it will encourage them to communicate with those who are facing similar issues, in a simple and informative way.
“What I really hope is someone can come along and say “what did you do in the war?” and perhaps this book will help answer that tough question.”
The release of ‘Answering the Call’ will clearly be a significant addition to the literature on the Vietnam War and serve as a contemporary discussion of defence personnel and veteran’s mental health circumstances.
Photo: Dr Bob Grandin, ex-RAAF pilot who served in the Vietnam War with his new book ‘Answering the Call’ in front of an Iroquois helicopter he flew in Vietnam.