My Dad's Veteran's Day War Story
"This is my combat badge and I am sure everybody wants to hear a war story. It was early spring in 1953 and I was with tank company only a short while.
Early one morning I was awaken to a lot of yelling, noise and strange whistling sounds. Guys were shouting "incoming." I got off my bunk put on my shoes and helmet and ran out of the tent. I was wearing only my underpants.
It was chaos that I didn't understand. There was this tall thin blonde guy from Texas, who had been through a truly horrible experience on old baldy a few weeks earlier who was running around waving his hands around his head and shouting, ‘Sweet Jesus save us...sweet Jesus save us.’
I started to run for the trench that we had dug behind the tent on the slope of the hill. The next thing I knew I was forcibly flung back and was sitting on my ass. I hit the tent rope across my body and it threw me backwards with a great force.
Some one yelled, ‘Rudy is asleep in the small tent up the hill.’
Rudy and I hit it off at first talk and he was a hero to me.
It was my first test of courage. While I was mulling what I should do this big guy from Tennessee shouted, ‘I'll get him and hustled up the hill.’
I always thought this guy was slow in the head but was I wrong. I learned that you could never tell by knowing a person who is brave or not. Whew made it to the trench and crawled through the narrow entrance. Mud filled the bottom to the ankles and there was only enough head room to crouch.
Facing me was my Sargent dressed exactly like me. He had much combat behind him but he looked somber. He was going home soon. We were safe except for a direct hit above the trench. We crouched in our underwear and stared at each other for I don't know how long until the explosions stopped. Then we really looked into each others eyes and realized how ridiculous we look. We started to laugh and could not stop laughing for the longest time.
When I climbed back into the sun the company radioman, a Cajun from Louisiana, who was so badly cross-eyed that I didn't even know he was looking at me, said, ‘You just earned your combat badge.’
What? Crouched in the mud in my underwear? I never even shot at anybody. I wondered why they didn't put me in for a Purple Heart for hitting the tent rope."