Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chapter 38 Ask the Chief

One memorable story from this time resulted from the big 45 caliber revolver I carried overseas. On payday, the civilians would line up outside. My Chief, a couple of the seamen and I would sit at a table to pay them. Several times, when one of the natives got paid, there would be another guy who said he owed him money, and they would get into a fight. Well, there we were with all that money on the table, and a big clip_image002bag full of more money at my feet. I told the Chief that we had to do something about it. He said for me to bring that “hog leg” (large revolver) I had in my quarters on the next payday.

Next payday I did bring it, and Chief brought one of the civilians from our office who spoke the local dialect. Chief had me take that big revolver out of the holster and put it on the table in front of me when I was paying the men. The civilian from the office said in a very loud voice, “See that big gun of the Lieutenant? You get in fight and he kill you.” We did noclip_image001t have any trouble after that.

My Chief was amazing. Once my jeep broke down, and couldn’t be fixed. The Chief said, “No problem, LT.” Two days later there was a jeep parked where I usually left mine, and I noticed it had new numbers painted on it. We called this a “Moonlight Requisition.”

Jim Hibbard, my good friend from OCS at Harvard, stopped by for a visit with me whileclip_image002[4] I was on Samar. This was the friend we had to stretch to make him tall enough to pass his final physical and get his commission.   Jim was from Minnesota and he and I had great plans to get together after the war. We planned to spend a month or two canoeing in the Thousand Lake region of upper Minnesota and camping out in the wilderness, but we never did it.

On Samar we had better quarters. We lived in Quonset Huts and had electricity. One night I was playing cards with Jim Hibbard, a fellow named Larson and Jean Pement, the Supply Officer. I remember that Larson had a beard and was red headed. He was sort of crammed in the corner with the table pushed up against him, and I was seated opposite him. About the time I had a royal flush hand or at least a flush, we heard an automatic weapon cut lose on the camp, and we could hear a shot hit the one of the other metal Quonset huts nearby.

When the shots started, Larson was crammed behind the table sitting where Jim is sitting in this photo. The floor lamp was over the table, and I was sitting on this side of the table. Without saying a word, Larson clip_image002[6]sort of levitated out of that corner, and in mid-air he switched off the floor lamp over the table and landed in my lap. Of course, my cards were all over the floor. Our combat guys were on the scene almost immediately and shot the Jap, who was trying to kill us, out of the top of a palm tree.

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