Waramanga's Eddie Jones left Canberra yesterday morning for his second all-expenses-paid trip to Papua New Guinea's Milne Bay.
While he is grateful to the Australian government for picking up the tab one more time, he hopes this journey ends better than the last one did - in 1942, when he was shot while defending the jungle outpost's crucial airstrip.
The former senior public servant is one of eight Australians, four soldiers and four airmen, who will be taking part in a range of activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the first Japanese defeat on land in World War II.
Asked if this trip would be more comfortable than the journey he made 70 years ago, Mr Jones, now 90, replied: ''It had better be - or I'll be complaining''.
Mr Jones spent his adolescence living in a rock shelter with his father, who had a 600 square kilometre cattle station south-east of Mount Isa.
Knocked back when he tried to join the RAAF, Mr Jones successfully volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force in May 1941. By August he had been assigned as a replacement to the 2/9th Battalion then defending Tobruk.
By the time he reached the Middle East the 2/9th was resting in Palestine. Then he was on his way home to help defend Australia.
Mr Jones and his mates sailed from Brisbane for Milne Bay on August 7, 1942.
''It was the wet season. Tropical storms occurred daily. You could set your watch by the first downpour. It was boggy underfoot and getting worse,'' Mr Jones recalled.
When the Japanese landed on August 26, the 2/9th Battalion was held in reserve while militia troops engaged the enemy.
''On September 2 we moved forward from Gili Gili by launch. The bloated corpses of Japanese soldiers lay where they had died. No one had had time to bury them and it was not a pleasant sight.''
The 2/9th attacked at 10.10am on September 3.
''We clambered up the muddy bank while the rain continued to pour down. The camouflaged Japanese opened fire and we replied,'' Mr Jones recalled.
Mr Jones was firing a Bren gun from the hip. ''Then it happened. It felt like being hit with a metal bar. I spun around, staggered and lost my footing; my tin hat flew off. The Bren gun strap shifted up to my neck, the weight of the gun pulled my body forward and I fell face down in the mud.
''I staggered back and slithered down the bank of the creek (from which the Australians had attacked only minutes before). I bathed my arm like a dog licking its wounds. I needed to stem the flow of blood. I noticed someone moving along the bank opposite me and called for assistance. ''Without a word he got the bandage out and wrapped it tightly around the wound. I felt better. I thanked him.
''He nodded and disappeared into the jungle, still without a word. I still wonder who he was and if he survived the war.''