Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Recently, Milady and I were sitting on the back patio, late of a Saturday afternoon, and I head gunfire from the north. Just to the north of our home lies a National Guard maneuver area, and I surmised that some unit of that well-decorated Brigade was practicing the same arts I practiced so long ago. It sounded like a standard infantry platoon. Two light machine guns drumming a martial tattoo, and the individual riflemen putting down a base of fire so that the maneuver squads could approach the objective.

 knew that it was a couple of miles away, but the combined influence of the wind and temperatures made the rifles sound like they were much closer.

 My lady asked, "What is that?"

 I cocked my head and listened for a moment. "That, my love, is what Doug MacArthur called the rattle of musketry."

 Suddenly, I had lost forty years, and was a young shavetail again, leading men older than I, and trying to plot a course to an objective. Suddenly, again,  the scene shifted and I was a captain of Armor, leading a Thunder Run across the maneuver area at Knox. The memories were so thick I had to brush them away from my eyes, like a cloud of gnats that suddenly appears.

 Men I had served with were with me, and I felt the exhaustion of that final surge up the hill, and the exultation that we had made it. But, that part of my life is past, and I got up to make a drink, wondering if the young lieutenant leading that platoon had successfully taken his objective, and if his sergeants trusted him.

 Oh, it was so long ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.


mostly Cajun said...

A platoon of tanks popping through the morning fog in a valley somewhere in Germany.

The buck of an M60A1 with a trainee driver at the training area at Knox.

The way the canvas of a tent reacted to 105's popping on Table VIII at Graf.

Breaking starch and standing in front of a BCT platoon with the campaign hat on, getting ready for the morning run.

We were soldiers once.


SPEMack said...

I'll never forget, going outside the wire for the first time in Korea, a brand new subdued bar velcroed to my ECWS, even though I had the CIB from the big sand box as an E-5, I was still visibly shaking trying to use my radio.

Gruff old Sergeant First Class Daniel, grab the shoulder strap of my kevlar, pulled me behind a Humvee, and hoarsely whispered to me "Mack, remember I call you sir; and take those damn binoculars of your neck."

Old NFO said...

For me it's jet fuel and the whine of a turbine firing off, or the thump and rattle of a big radial...

Retired Spook said...

Wonder where those kids went, the ones who led Thunder Runs, drove tanks, and went outside the wire in Korea? Couldn't have gone far, they were right here just a minute ago.