LEN Nordlund, of Ballina, has a clear recollection of a few days in May, back in 1942.
And he is thankful he was on board a "lucky ship".
Mr Nordlund, 92, is a veteran of the Battle of the Coral Sea, a naval battle which turned away a Japanese invasion force heading into Pacific waters, and one regarded as the "battle that saved Australia".
The battle was fought by Australian and US ships against the Japanese in the Coral Sea from May 4-8.
Mr Nordlund and his Royal Australian Navy mates on board the light cruiser, HMAS Hobart at the time didn't reflect on the importance of what they were doing.
They didn't have time.
"There were hundreds of others like me," the Ex-Services Home Ballina resident said.
"You did your job.
"In action, you didn't think about getting killed, you just did your job to the best of your ability."
Mr Nordlund was a steward on the ship, and also helped operate the anti-aircraft guns.
The Hobart survived attacks by enemy torpedo bombers, and no-one was injured during a machine-gun strafing of the upper deck.
"It was the lucky ship," he said.
He praised the ship's commander, too, saying he would manoeuvre the ship "like a speedboat" to avoid torpedoes by thrusting two of the four propellers into reverse at a speed of 32 knots.
Mr Nordlund was on the Hobart for four years, and stayed in the navy for 12 years. He enlisted in 1938 from his Adelaide home.