Gerhardus (Gerry) Majella VELDHUIS, passed away 28 September 2019, age 72 years

Gerry was born on 7 November 1946 and joined the Australian Regular Army on 16 March 1964 when he was 17 years of age. After the normal period at 1RTB Gerry trained as a Centurion driver at Armoured Centre prior to being posted to 1 Forward Delivery Troop (Training Strength) on 9 July 1964, and then to the Regiment on 19 November 1964. From April 1965 to June 1967 Gerry was posted to the Armoured Centre prior to a four-month stint with Detachment A Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment. Like many of his peers at that time it appears as though he was destined to go to Vietnam with the Cavalry, but the pull of the Armoured Regiment was unavoidable, and he returned to the Regiment (C Squadron) on 24 October 1967. Just three and a half months later Gerry arrived in Vietnam (C Squadron) and remained for 365 days until he returned to Australia on 11 February 1969. Gerry was fortunate to miss most of the excitement at FSPB Coral but only because his callsign – 92A, the dozer – hit a mine on the way. It also appears that Gerry had a particular knack of ‘parking’ his Cent in the most unusual places, no doubt providing the ARV crew with challenges, or as one could describe, training opportunities for the ‘bluebells’.

After Vietnam, Gerry had a number of promotions and postings to units including Armoured Centre (three years and four months), 1 Recruit Training Battalion (16 months), 2nd Cavalry Regiment (almost six years), 4th Cavalry Regiment (two years) and Land Warfare Centre Detachment in Victoria for almost three years. Prior to discharge on 16 March 1985, Gerry spent four months with 9 Field Ambulance.

Gerry’s last employment was as a Sergeant Major with the rank of Warrant Officer Class Two.

It is very evident that Gerry was well respected by those that he served with during his time in the Army either as a peer, subordinate or superior. A former RSM of the 1st Armoured Regiment wrote, ‘Gerry was a very good soldier throughout his career and maintained a very high standard in all aspects of soldiering/leadership. His laid-back approach enabled him to easily communicate with both subordinates and superiors, which enabled him to get the best from all to get ‘the job’ done.

Gerry was a very good Australian Rules footballer and was hard at the ball as well as on his opponents.

As one of Gerry’s former crew commanders stated, ‘May he drive to the green fields beyond’.

Gerry, ‘May you rest in peace knowing that you have done your duty to the absolute best of your ability’.

(Thanks to those former members who served with Gerry for their insights.)