The Song Writing Project

We’re two Australian Vietnam veterans, who first met when we joined the military at age 17.

The CD, Strange Land Vietnam, was a five-year music project written and performed by us to add some meaning to the different feelings and events we experienced, helping to get rid of a lot of the lingering negativity about our time in Vietnam.

Billterry.JPGWe would like to thank our families and the fine young friends who supported us musically and more.

A clinical psychologist specialising in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) used this CD to help veterans who were robust enough mentally to express their feelings and we hope the songs will mean something to you.

You can download some of them in Mp3 format.

If you do, please make a donation to your local Vietnam Vets organization or the Salvation Army.

Lest we forget.

Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

We’ve provided five full-length (128Kbps 44KHz near CD quality) songs to give you a taste of what the CD is like.

Strange Land Vietnam Strange Land Vietnam
The Patrol.MP3 The Patrol
Firefight.MP3 Firefight
Saigon Saigon
As Far As I Can See As FarAs I Can See

Song Words

STRANGE LAND VIETNAM
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

Drinking in the darkness women long in bed
Stereo’s playing soft thoughts run through my head
Think of the battles wish I was there
What a crazy thought can’t change the years and being here.
Visions keep on coming,no matter what the song,
It was all so long ago not sure what we did wrong
My children and my lady are all I want to know
Put the bottle away now and off to sleep we go.

Strange land Vietnam strange times too
Strange land Vietnam strange land we went through.

Wish I could be there satisfy my soul
See the smoke put out the fire its all so long ago
Have to make it work now a soldier must go on
Put the bottle away now and turn off that old song.

Strange land Vietnam strange times too
Strange land Vietnam strange land we went through.

THIS IS HOW IT’S MEANT TO BE
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

Going to the city
Thumbing down the road
Carrying a green army bag
With everything I own
Training days behind me
I’m now ready for war
It’s not that I’m leaving you darling
It’s what I’m fighting for.

“You made me very proud my son”,
My father said to me
He didn’t see my mamma’s tears
As I farewelled the family.
“Remember how your grandad
Fought at Gallipoli
And how your three uncles
Went to the big one with me”.
“This is how it’s meant to be”,
That’s what everyone said to me
“This is how it’s meant to be, you fight to keep your county free”
And I believed them.

110 new soldiers
Marching in the sun
Listening to the Governor
Saying how well we’d done
“Some people might say it’s wrong
To fight another’s war,
But they’ll turn around and thank you son
As the dominoes begin to fall!”

“This is how it’s meant to be”,
That’s what the Governor said to me
“This is how it’s meant to be,
You fight to keep your county free
This is how it’s meant to be.
It’s up to people like you and me
This is how it’s meant to be”
And I believed him.

707 TO HELL
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

Sally threw a party
Beer and rock ‘n’ roll,
All the latest Rollirig’Stones’ records
And the Beatles’ Rubber Soul,
All my friends came along,
Just to say farewell
‘Cause I’m leaving in the morning
On the 707 to hell.
Some long-haired hippie
Talking politics and acting cool
So me and my brother
We threw him in the pool
Then we started drinking
Triple rums with beer as well
‘Cause I’m leasing in the morning On the 707 to Hell

‘All the girls got friendly
And the night became a blur
I woke up next to Sally
Thank God it was her
Put on my uniform
Everybody said I looked swell
‘Cause I’m leaving in the morning
On the 707 to hell.

THE PATROL
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

There was excitement in the air when the captain gave us orders for the operation.
“This is our first patrol men”, he said, “we’ve got to get it right. There’ll be no second chances, but don’t worry about it. This is what you’ve been trained for and I know you’ll do yourself proud.”

“Let me tell you clearly, it’s guerillas you’re going to hit, there’s no regular forces here. They’ll hit and run, so move fast. Your mission is to search and destroy, so if there are no questions, get your gear ready, clean your weapons. We leave by chopper at 0600.”

Our company was waiting down on the pad when, right on cue, the swarm of locusts that were the chopper squadrons descended on us. Each section knew which bird was theirs and within five minutes we were airborne. The earlier chatter of would-be heroes was replaced by silence as each man thought of his mission.

The birds wheeled and banked towards the LZ, and as they did, 60,000 rounds a minute peppered the ground and surrounding jungle like a chainsaw cutting through hardwood. The pilots screamed “Get out! Get out! Go! Go! Go!”, and each section fanned out into the long grass of the LZ. When the choppers were gone, the silence was deafening and the sound of insects and birds returned.

We shook out into patrol formation, and the silence of the jungle was broken only by the wondrous sounds of foreign birds and the cries of strange animals. We looked for the enemy and saw nothing, as it was for the next two weeks of boredom.

On Sunday the 12th around 1500, we heard a rifle shot from the lead section. Next thing all hell broke loose with screams of “Contact! Contact!”, and the angry sounds of bullets and mortars ripping the sky.

FIREFIGHT
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

Crazy ’cause it’s so clear I cannot hear or control my fear
Close my eyes ignore the sight Firefight, Firefight
Staccato crack as bullets fly mortars thump and split the sky
Mind confused, flat on the ground head so low can’t look around.
Trees explode and branches fly seem like missiles to my eye
Jets dive in and fly real low Napalm bombs away they go
Smoke and stench stifle me It’s raining rivers too
I try to look I cannot see There’s nothing I can do.

Firefight Firefight
Try to make it to the light of day
Firefight, Firefight there’s got to be a better way.

The big guns fire, night turns to day I cannot steep, please go away
The choppers come and take a few We have to stay, just me and you.
My fear is gone, I feel alone I wonder if I’ll get back home
With the dawn a silence comes a soldier’s life it just goes on.

Firefight, Firefight
Try to make it to the light of day
Firefight, Firefight
There’s got to be a better way.

JOHHNY
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

The battle’s over, I think we won
Although at times at night we were overrun
Where are you Johnny? Speak to me!
Oh no Johnny! Don’t do this to me.
The chopper’s hovering in the canopy
The smoke and sweat make it hard to see
Where are you Johnny? Speak to me!
Oh no Johnny! Don’t do this to me.

He’s lying almost peacefully underneath the rubber tree
His gaze is fixed straight ahead Jesus Johnny, don’t be dead.
I feel his neck, his pulse is weak, He moves his lips as if to speak,
Blood trickles down over his chin. Jesus Johnny don’t give in.

I grab a medic, pump in morphine
We start to move him And Johnny starts to scream
Where are you Johnny? Speak to me!
Oh no Johnny! Don’t do this to me.

We put him in a litter And attached him to the winch
Gave the thumbs up to the sergeant
Who starts to reel him in
And say a prayer for Johnny
Hope the hell that you survive
And watch the chopper disappear J
ohnny, please stay alive.

He’s lying almost peacefully underneath the rubber tree
His gaze is fixed straight ahead Jesus Johnny, don’t be dead.
I feel his neck, his pulse is weak, He moves his lips as if to speak,
Blood trickles down over his chin. Jesus Johnny don’t give in.

If s back to base now in the APC’s I pray to God, “Save Johnny please”
Where are you Johnny? Speak to me!
Oh no Johnny! Don’t do this to me
end Where are you Johnny?

SAIGON
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

Got a three day pass Gonna make it last
In Saigon
Burn these old greens Gotta check the scene
In Saigon
I been fighting from the Delta to the DMZ
Gotta be something better waiting for me
Than a tough old sergeant and a can of beans
In Saigon

In every bar in every street there’s a girl you can meet
In Saigon
They say they’re so damn pretty I gotta see that city,
Saigon
Well you can rip off my stripes,put me in jail
Make me walk backwards down the Ho Chi Mirth trail
If I don’t come back just send my mail
To Saigon

Well I’m feeling no pain now I’m back on the plane*
From Saigon
I wanna go back there, I haven’t had my share
Of Saigon
I got a little tattoo and a wedding ring
My mind’s gone blank can’t remember a thing
I got a little tattoo and a wedding ring
My mind’s gone blank can’t remember a thing
Got a little tattoo and a wedding ring
My mind’s gone blank can’t remember a thing
Neither would you if you’d just been

MISS YOU
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

With half-dreamed dreams and memories
I reach across the bed
And turn myself around so I can kiss you
But there’s emptiness and loneliness
And a pillow there instead
That’s when ! start to feel how much
I miss you.

Days are filled with longing
And my heart is filled with dread ,
All I want to do is to caress you
No one could have told me
No words could have been said
To say how much I was going To miss you.

Oh darling I miss you
Oh darling are you missing me too?
Oh darling I miss you
Oh darling safe home soon.

Just before I go to sleep as memories steal into my head
I pray to God Almighty, “Keep and bless you”
I kiss your picture wishing that you were here instead
And toss and turn all night because I miss you.

Oh darling I miss you
Oh darling are you missing me too?
Oh darling I miss you
Oh darting safe home soon.

I colour in the calendar,
I count down every day
Wait for the day to come
When I’ll never have to say
Oh darling I miss you
Oh darling are you missing me too?
Oh darling I miss you
Oh darling safe home soon.

ALMOND EYED BEAUTY
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

Falling in love with an almond eyed beauty
I keep buying her Saigon Tea
I don’t care if she takes all my money
As long as she’s in love with me.
Feels like I’ve been here too long
“Cause she’s so nice to me.
I still love my blonde haired beauty
Eyes of green and skin so clear
I still love my blonde haired beauty
I need someone while you’re not here
Listening to loud Creedence records
Clinking the ice cubes in my beer
Enjoying the loving that I’m getting
Getting what I can ‘Cause you’re not here.
Walking down the long dark alleys
Sold my watch once again
Got ripped off by cycle cowboys
I think I’m in love again.

I still love my blonde haired beauty
Eyes of green and skin so clear
I still love my blonde haired beauty
I need someone while you’re not here.

GOING HOME
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

Going home, I got my orders
It’s up to you I’m out of here
Going home to see my baby
Won’t miss you don’t shed no tears

Adios, see you later
Auf Wiedersehen, farewell from me
Au revoir, good-bye my old friends
Sayonara, Arriverderci.

Going home, cause my time’s up
Only so many days in a year
Going home sleep in my own bed
Eat mom’s cooking and drink some beer

Adios, see you later
Auf Wiedersehen, farewell from me
Au revoir, good-bye my old friends
Sayonara, Arriverderci.

Going home, on the next plane
Hear they’ve got a seat for me
Going home hand my gun in
Only eight hours to reality

IS THIS THE WAY (It’s meant to be?)
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

Is this the way if s meant to be, to lose you once again
What happened to the way we loved why can’t we be friends?
How can time and distance make a world completely change!
How come old familiar things Seem so new and strange?

Going back to yesterday wouldn’t change a thing
Going back to yesterday is just another dream.

Is this the way it’s meant to be? Nothing seems the same
Why are you all different Or is it me who’s changed?
You don’t care what I say It’s not important to you
ou don’t seem to understand What I’m going through.

Going back to yesterday wouldn’t change a thing
Going back to yesterday is just another dream.

Is this the way it’s you don’t care what I feel
Why can’t you understand what is or is not real?
The fire in your eyes, my love
Burns for something else
You don’t seem to want it from me
You want it for yourself

CELLULOID SOLDIERS
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

You see the happy ending The silver screen goes dim
The soldier takes the lady and lives to fight again.
It wasn’t like that for me I’m trying to forget
Forgotten by the country I was trying to protect.

One man against a million our hero strolls right in
He’s completely fearless and always got a grin.
It wasn’t like that for me the danger was real
I was tired and frightened trying not to feet.

But Celluloid Soldiers never get scared
Celluloid Soldiers are always prepared
When the battle’s over and the fighting’s done
Celluloid Soldiers fly into the sun.

He stands out in the open taking on all who come
Magazines of magic bullets muscles shining in the sun
It wasn’t like that for me tried hard to stay alive
Return home in one piece, I tried to survive.

But Celluloid Soldiers never get scared
Celluloid Soldiers are always prepared
When the battle’s over and the fighting’s done
Celluloid Soldiers fly into the sun.

AS FAR AS I CAN SEE
© 1992-1999 Bill Kernoczy and Terry Nolan

hold a candle come touch me caress me with its light
Then hand it to another chase away the dark of night.
Make it bright forever keep it burning for all time
Just as a reminder to keep others from the line.

As far as I can see as far as I can see
There’s a line of people waiting as far as I can see

Can you see a line of people stretching to the sky
Can you see their names go with them as you pass them by?
0 friend can you see that never-ending stone?
People feeling with their fingers now I know I’m not alone.

As far as I can see as far as I can see
There’s a line of people waiting as far as I can see