Brad’s hard journey from one war zone to another
BRADLEY Bauer was raised in a household dominated by domestic violence, only to escape to a war-torn Vietnam.
The 66-year-old Rockhampton man is still angry about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his alcoholic father.
Mr Bauer said he and his three brothers were targets, but it was their mother who received the worst of the abuse.
"We all got it... my mother was the main one, she was repeatedly beaten every week," he said.
"There was not one day where he wasn't drunk... you've heard the saying 'the demon drink'? That was it, he just turned into an absolute monster. Many times the police were called... but because they were local police, he used to drink with them in the afternoon at the pub. They'd just abuse my mother and call her an idiot."
Mr Bauer said the abuse was always there, and recalled the first incident he could remember.
"I was only five or six. My father actually knocked my mother completely out unconscious. Here I was, lying next to this body, I didn't know if she's alive or dead," he said.
"I looked up at my father and he said he was going for help. He didn't go for help at all; he went to the pub and left us there."
In 1970, Mr Bauer was sent to serve in Vietnam as one of the army's "tunnel rats", field engineers trained to go into the Viet Cong tunnel networks and destroy them with explosives.
"It was interesting. They send you to a psychiatrist to assess you. He said to me, 'We don't have to condition you for this conflict because you're already conditioned'," Mr Bauer said.
"In war they make you angry, because angry men kill. But I was already angry, and prepared to kill."
Mr Bauer said the abuse had affected the relationships of everyone in the family and he was no longer in contact with his brothers or mother.
He said he was frustrated with how nothing had changed to fix the issue in 66 years.
"I'm still bewildered all these years why the police can't do anything... these men are bullies. And they are also cowards," he said.