At the tender age of just 17 and already taking part in my first war, I laid eyes on an SAS Pink Panther, named as such due to it’s pink camouflage paint job.
I was in our defensive “Hedge Hog” position in Dhofar, Oman when a team of SAS came by in 2 “pinkies” and a 4 ton truck. They were about to be deployed onto the mountains on foot, and had come by to deconflict areas, and work together on fire support for the next few days.
It was one of a handful of special moments in my early military days, Food for the passion that I would have for all things SAS, in order to go on and eventually join them. These laid back, much older, yet extremely professional soldiers, none dressed alike, long hair, some with beards, differing weapons and ops kit, and their pink Land Rovers…were all very much a magnet for a young kid like me.
Well it worked, I was hooked, and after passing selection and going to 6 Tp (boat troop), B Sqn, 22 SAS Regt…the very first vehicle I’d be working with wasn’t a boat or the Klepper canoe, but a pinky! Cross troop training, getting stuck into moving and firing from a pinky platform, great fun.
From the mid 70s when I joined to the early 80s, I’d have some great fun with the pinky. Even in our lead up during the Falklands War training, the pinkies played their part. At one stage early on we were to attack Stanley airfield in an Entebbe type manner, scrubbed eventually when it was blatantly obvious that we’d all be blown out of the sky by Argentinian air defences way out on our approach in C130s. So, change of plan and work on other options.
With up dated vehicles in the early 80s came updated colours too…so no longer did the pinky survive operationally. Back to the more military style of camouflage colours of greens and light browns.
I must admit, it was sad to see it leave the base altogether. It had an operational lifespan from the late 1960s to the early 80s…not bad at all. I believe that some were bought by military enthusiasts, for me that’s a good thing, as they can still be seen to this day at military shows. There are even a handful over here in the States, that continue to make the rounds with their sister retro American military vehicles.
So now being a retired, sad old git and living with great past thoughts, my childishness came out (again), and I now have my very own pinky…albeit a 1:35th size version. Put together and painted as near as the ones I remember…this is my fun now, ha ha.
It sits snuggly next to my other military memorabilia on my shelf of military memories…terrific memories.