|Like most Americans you
probably think the war ended aboard that ship in 1945. Well, I am going to set the record
straight and this may shock many of you. The war actually raged on for many years after
that historic day. I know, because I was one of the few soldiers, hand picked by my
Commanding Officer, to mop up the remaining pockets of enemy troops. I was assigned to New
Guinea, which looked a lot like my back yard in Odessa, Texas. Nevertheless, this was
harsh country. But with the help of my two privates, Skipper and Butch (cleverly disguised
as a dog and cat) we were able to keep things fairly quiet on the front. Then one sunny
day right after the Mess Sergeant (Mom) had declared breakfast was over, I looked up and
saw two enemy soldiers setting up a machine gun behind the rose bushes. Well, I dont
have to tell you what happened next. I bolted from the mess tent and as I slammed the
kitchen door, they spotted me and began their escape. I, being the seasoned horse soldier,
ran to the hitching post and mounted my lightening fast steed, Rusty (who, by the way, was
also cleverly disguised as a barrel barbecue pit). As the bullets ripped from my machine
gun (Moms broom) I could see the fear in their eyes and that they knew they had made
a big mistake trying to attack this camp. It didnt take long before all was quiet
and I knew that this was a win for the Americans!
The War raged that summer. Then one afternoon as the cool fall winds began to blow, my Commanding Officer (Daddy) came home one night and announced we were going to take a trip. I knew that could only mean one thing. We were preparing for an all out attack on Leyte Island. There was another soldier (my cousin, Larry) there that was having a hard time cleaning up enemy hot spots. I was glad to go and help him out. After all, he had not had the amount of hand to hand combat experience that I had. But, as we were preparing to leave the bad news came from my C.O. that I would have to leave my machine gun, Rusty, Skipper and Butch behind. This was a hard blow, but a good soldier always follows orders. I did, however, manage to slip my sidearm (a water gun) into my bags before we left. As we approached Leyte, the excitement grew. I couldnt help noticing how much Leyte resembled Fort Worth, Texas. At breakfast the next morning, my counterpart told me of the suspected enemy hideout behind Grandmas house. We spent most of the day planning our strategies as this was some rough terrain. Lots of high grass and rocks. The next day we set out to secure the area. We couldnt have been more than 20 feet from the house when we spotted an enemy soldier making his way towards us. We slowly made our way in his direction and when we got the chance, we jumped him. Now, this must have scared him pretty bad because he jumped up and started to run. We ordered him to stop but he refused. Again we ordered him to stop but he refused, so I took aim with my military issued rifle (Daily B.B. gun) and fired - hitting him in the back. We assumed that I had only wounded him and he had made it back to his camp. We were right!!! In a short time, his Commanding Officer was coming down the road looking for our Commanding Officers. Unfortunately for us, he found our C.O.s (Daddy and Uncle Bill) and was quite upset because we had shot his soldier in the back. As this enemy officer was raging, my cousin and I took our snipper positions under Grandpas car. I had his knee in my scope. Before I could pull the trigger, my C.O. ordered us from our sniper positions and demanded to know why we had shot the unarmed enemy soldier, to which my immediate reply was we were on a secret mission and we ordered him to stop but he refused so we shot him. The enemy officer was not amused and would have been even less amused had I not been pulled from my sniper position But everything was smoothed out and we continued on our secret mission.
This was a strange war that only raged during spring, summer and early fall. When the winter winds came, gone was the war until spring. The war continued several years for me until it was replaced by growing up. I miss Rusty, Skipper and Butch but we had many exciting years together.