3. Mefloquine Dispatches: Raven, 1990s
by Shane Granger
It really kicked off in early 2019. The vivid memories have been replaced by flashbacks. It’s hard to describe. I try to explain it to 11M. It comes and goes in waves. He is both interested and worried. As far as they know I never went to war. I’m almost certain they are right but I’m trawling through the evidence now. There isn’t much. I never kept many photos. I certainly didn’t share them with the kids. Now, all of my memories are questioned. It was so long ago.
My 14M gets involved. We get side-tracked. We are discussing Bruce Lee for some reason. My mind flips to another memory. I remember his son dying on the set of Raven.
“Raven”, I say excitedly. We used Raven radios after we got rid of the PRC-77s. The terminology is coming back because my advocate wants me to apply for my back and hips.
The three of us jump on the computer. 14M loves electronics and Army radio’s make for an interesting breakfast topic.
I type in ‘raven radio Australian Army’. There are four lines of pictures shown. I’m explaining to 14M about how the Army was finally starting to go digital in the early 90s when my 8M comes up to give me a hug.
“Look at this guy Dad”. He points at a young soldier talking on a radio. It’s on the second line of photos.
I look. “It’s ME!” A ghost from 1992 I think. I haven’t seen this photo for almost 30-years. I get an image of CPL S* straight away. It’s the hill behind the Squadron. He isn’t in this picture but he will be close-by. The last time I really talked to him was at Campbell Barracks in 1997. He touched base via social media a few years previously. We talked about dead friends. I closed that social media account not long after. Too many ghosts reaching out.
“The chopper is on the next hill, Digger…”