Brad Dunn - Rescuing reporters and old acquaintances
We had to deploy on the second night to go and find these two reporters. These reporters, the British reporters, they'd rung the British embassy in England saying that the militia, possibly Indonesians, were trying to kill them. We got the word we had to get out and find them. These guys are still ringing Britain and we're getting messages coming down. There was a convoluted messaging between our embassy in Britain and to get to Dili, but in the long run, anyway, we got out that night and...patrolling Dili, looking for these reporters.
The type I's, with the night vision that we've got on board, we can see clearly. You can make out an Australian soldier by his webbing, by his water on his back, you can see everything. They're a terrific sighting system. We came across a checkpoint; the militias and the Indonesians would set up these checkpoints. When we hit this one on the second night, they were the troops that were looking for the reporters. It was getting really tense. We knew we were close to somewhere where the reporters had been or were expected to be.
The OC got off the vehicle to communicate with the militia troops or the Indonesians. We were preparing to shoot, it was getting close. Then an Indonesian officer yelled out, "Chris, Brad." Turns out the commander of the local Indonesian unit had been on a deployment to Australia and had trained with us in Second Cavalry and was now, years later, in a command position. He recognised us, so it was much back-slapping and guns going down. Then one of my troops came forward and said, "We got them. They're in the back of the type II they're snuck out," and "All right, well, nice to see you again, see you later," as we climbed up and headed off. That was the first 48 hours.