BILL AND MARGIE RICHTER’s self-published memoir, Radio Operator is described as a healing journey. That’s because Bill’s experience in the Army School of Signals and in Vietnam is part of the Vietnam Vet story, described in the book’s dedication as about, “those who have had a bit of a struggle since their return to Australia.”
Radio Operator has given Bill and Margie the opportunity to explain their story and particularly Bill’s “re-discovery” of his Vietnam contribution, and eventual reaching out to seek help from the veteran community. It was this community that helped Bill with his claims resulting in his being granted a Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) pension.
Bill and Margie met in the Army and had their two boys within its protective boundaries. Margie had to leave the Army when she married but they still went on to posts in Malaysia and Singapore.
After Bill’s discharge in 1971 the couple eventually chose to be enfolded by the Conondale Ranges where Bill retraced his farming youth by planting vegetables and selling them to local markets and co-ops. Bill’s ailment was not a sudden traumatic war wound, but a stroke that quietly affected his hearing, physical movement and cognitive powers.
His reticent steps into his first RSL in Maleny in the 1990s led him on the long route of exploring compensation for his incapacity and the selfless support of several wise RSL members.
This book has clearly been a cathartic experience for Bill and for Margie, who has shared with Bill every step of the way. Radio Operator is self-published. It is $30 (P&P $9.50). From Bill & Margie Richter, PO Box 1110, Maleny Qld. 4552.