1 - 23 April 1968
Operation Cooktown Orchid *
Cooktown Orchid was a series of  concurrent company group operations conducted generally in the area
of the Long Hai mountains and surrounding the Horseshoe.  Initially, on 6 April, W Company participated
in Cooktown Orchid IV with C Squadron, 1 Armoured Regiment.  This was a mounted reconnaissance in
force in the Long Green area.  Only one contact was made with a small enemy party but 14 Viet Cong
camps were destroyed and a quantity of equipment captured by the time the operation concluded on 9
April. On 10 April the Company commenced Operation Cooktown Orchid V.  The aim of this operation
was to destroy the mines in the minefield between the Horseshoe and the sea, using a Centurion Tank
towing a heavy platform. A Troop of the Armoured Squadron, elements of the Cavalry Squadron and an
Engineer Combat Team were placed under command of W Company. During the occupation of a night
harbour on 10 April three members of W Company were wounded by a mine or booby trap.  Clearing the
mines commenced on 11 April but was terminated later in the day because of extensive damage to the
tanks.  While closing the gaps in the minefield on 12 April a mine, only recently laid by the Viet Cong,
was detonated and killed Pte Awatere of 1 Platoon and wounded five others. The armoured group
dispersed on 13 April and W Company participated in a cordon and search of a village on 14 April (13
suspect Viet Cong were detained), and then returned to Nui Dat late on that day to conduct local
patrols.   
 
On 18 April W Company relieved C Company on Operation Cooktown Orchid I - land clearing with
bulldozers in the jungle area along the northern slopes of the Long Hai mountains. The platoons
provided protection for the engineers and conducted active patrolling either side of the cut.  A number
of new and old camps were destroyed and a large quantity of small arms ammunition and other
equipment was recovered.  On the 22 April W Company was relieved by the Task Force Reinforcement
Unit, and returned to Nui Dat.