Anthony W. Pahl

PRIVATE FISHER: M.I.A.

David J. E. Fisher
David J. E. Fisher, 23. On September 27, 1969 Private Fisher, who served with the Australian SAS, was with a patrol that engaged a group of Viet Cong in Long Khanh Province. Five VC were shot and killed and the patrol withdrew, but encountered a group of about 30 enemy. A helicopter was called and ropes were lowered to the men, but during this “hot extraction” Fisher fell from about 30m into the trees. His body was never recovered.
(Prologue:

He looked at me with vacant eyes
in my dreams the other night
and I felt again the deepest pain
since he disappeared from sight.)

The Incident:

More than thirty years ago,
in September sixty-nine,
Private Fisher fell into the hell
that veiled him for all time.

We’d got a call to support a slick
that had to extract a patrol of five.
In rappelling ropes rested hopes
that they’d make it out alive.

The chopper hovered overhead;
the rappelling ropes were lowered.
Out ran the five, they would survive
they’d soon be home and showered.

They appeared above the canopy
dangling eighty feet beneath the skids
A sigh of relief became a cry of grief;
from the rope Private Fisher slid

I did not hear his screams or yells
I could not see his frightened face
I saw him fall, bounce like a ball…
swallowed by jungle without a trace

The Army inserted two companies;
for a week they searched in vain
Nothing was found, neither sight nor sound
He was never seen again

(Epilogue:

I never met the soldier
who fell from the ropes that day;
But in my mind and for all time
that scene will e’er replay.

His vacant eyes still haunt me
and the pain scores deep, my soul
After each dream I quietly scream;
and my mind and blood runs cold.)

Post Script:

Near the Memorial on the Avenue of Honour
are six plaques set in concrete blocks.
In words sublime, they record for all time
six Aussies who never came back.

Michael Herbert
Robert Carver
Richard Parker
Peter Gilson
David Fisher
John Gillespie

Author’s Note: The remains of all 6 Australian MIAs, including David Fisher, have been found and repatriated to Australia. They have been buried with full Military Honours.

Submitted for the May 2002 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “Missing in Action