Alastair Bridges - Returning home
Department of Veterans' Affairs
It was fabulous. Saigon, there's the big Qantas V Jet waiting to take you home. We got on board. I think I was the only air force pilot, I don't really know, I had a couple of young army soldiers with me and we chatted all the way and drank lots of beer, passed over Darwin at midnight and the captain said, "We're now in Australia" Woo hoo. A big cheer went up.
Landed in Sydney about sixish in the morning and there was nobody there really. You know, you're on leave sort of thing. Went off with the family and had a couple of weeks leave and there was never any acknowledgement that you'd been in a war zone. They didn't… and that's part of the reason why I think I ended up in Darwin because I was still flying round like I was in a war zone and that's not really acceptable down here.
Yeah, there was no preparation for returning to civilian life. A lot of the guys were doing that I still had years and years to go. I just loved the Air Force and the flying.