Friday, May 17, 2013

War Memories From The Lighter Side

Some memories of war are buried deep by those who carry them, in hopes that they never surface again, though they usually do. However, amusing or stupid things happen all the time, no matter where you may be, so some memories from war are a little more light-hearted. One is about my dad’s Purple Heart. He was in the Philippines during WW II, but the war was over, and life was pretty laid-back where my dad was stationed. I don’t know if they had movies every night, but they were pretty common. One day, he decided to make himself a stool, so he wouldn’t have to sit on the bare ground to watch the movies.

He got some bamboo and some twine and was working away on his creation when he decided that one piece would be better split. He was putting a fair amount of pressure on his trench-knife in the effort when he realized that if the bamboo split all at once (as it was prone to do) that he could stab himself in the leg. Unfortunately, the thought became reality before he could even ease off the pressure on the knife. He felt stupid going to the medic with a self-inflicted stab wound. He felt even more so when, some time later, he was presented with a Purple Heart. He did his best to get them to keep it, knowing that some men had nearly died getting theirs, but no doing, they told him that he had to keep it. He said that he reckoned it could have been worse. Another guy had been boot-legging gasoline when a barrel got away from him and broke his leg. So, HE got a Purple Heart for selling stolen government gasoline. (Sounds sort of like politics; doesn’t it?)

The next memory wasn’t amusing at the time to those in the middle of the situation. Dad and some other GI’s were in the edge of the woods at a field not far from the shore on some Philippine island. In the center of that field, some Filipino troops were climbing onto a truck to be moved elsewhere. As they were about half loaded, a huge Japanese gun back in the mountains dropped a shell a hundred yards or so beyond them. They picked up the pace markedly in boarding the truck. Less than a minute later, another shell hit nearly the same distance to the other side of them. Knowing the third shot would be spot-on, the native soldiers leapt onto the truck willy-nilly, packs, rifles and men literally flying through the air. By the time the third shot would have come, the men and the truck were long gone. It was a life-or-death situation, but even the native soldiers were laughing about how well they could jump, when my dad bumped into them a couple days later. © 2013


buddeshepherd said...

If I could go back in time I would love to travel the world post WWII. When Americans were the heroes and before the Junior grade officers screwed up the world.
The stories told by these old duffers are pretty amazing. Mostly because they were such regular guys. Meaning they were people with the same attitudes and values as I.
I am starting to discover I am not a "regular guy."

Gorges Smythe said...

They were better times, Budd. As for not being "regular," they have medicine for that!