Ice Journey is the biography of Vietnam veteran Dave Morgan, whose long career in meteorology culminated with a life-changing expedition to Antarctica.
Like many of his fellow soldiers, Dave tried to present a “normal” face to the world while battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was a debilitating struggle that ultimately sparked a personal obsession to escape the bonds of average Australian society.
In his early fifties, Dave turned to the seclusion and hardship of Antarctic research where postings to Macquarie Island, Davis Station and a prized position at Casey Station, finally forced him to face his fears, deal with his PTSD and come to terms with his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam.
Dave carries his deeply buried demons from the jungles of Vietnam to the icy peaks of Antarctica; his journey to the ice fulfilling a lifelong dream while making him feel safe for the first time in 30 years. His experiences as an expeditioner on the starkly beautiful, harsh and inhospitable ‘ice’ was at once intoxicating and isolating, providing the catalyst for Dave to finally face his fears.
It is an emotional journey that transports the reader from the terror of a young soldier fighting far away from home to exhilaration on the ice far from the rest of the world. It is a story filled with vivid landscapes and humour before a shocking final twist that ends his final posting in heart-wrenching fashion.
While the ghosts of Vietnam still exist inside Dave, Ice Journey is an invitation to share in his experiences.
Dave Morgan was born in Melbourne in 1948. He, his twin Don, older brother Gerald and sister Sybil (Patsy) were raised single-handedly by their mother, Sybella, widowed when husband Gerald (Gus) died suddenly during her pregnancy with the twins. With a childhood filled with many moves due to Sybella’s ill heath and her need to find work, Dave found adventure and a taste for travelling. He joined the Citizens Military Force in his sub-senior year and took private flying lessons, eventually joining the Army at the end of the school year. On 1 January 1969, he left his family in Brisbane for Vietnam as part of the 104 Signal Squadron. During his term, he served at several fire support bases and dealt with attacks by the Viet Cong. During one of those attacks, his pit hole engulfed him, and after he returned to an unsympathetic Australia, he started reliving that experience night after night. He hid it well from all but his family – wife Deb and children David and Michelle. They moved around Queensland for Dave’s job as a Technical Officer (Weather Observer) for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, but his desire for isolation led him to expeditions at Macquarie Island and Davis Station. A few hours after he arrived at Casey Station for his next expedition, he slipped on blue ice and his severe head and neck injury forced a medivac back to the mainland. Now retired, Dave is seeking treatment for his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which Antarctica finally made him acknowledge.