What hides beneath the pillow

FROM The Korean War: An Oral History—Pusan to Chosin

by Donald Knox

Pvt  James Cardinal

I Company/5th Cavalry

Somewhere east of Kumch’on, forward clements of the regiment had run into a roadblock and the column stopped. The North Koreans were chased off and because we were in the middle of the column, it took us a while to reach the scene of the firefight. A little off the road lay several North Koreans who had been wounded in the fighting. It so happened it was at this spot that my platoon stopped and broke out the C rations. Jerry Emer and another guy ate canned hamburger, a meal I detested so much that no matter how hungry I was, I refused to eat it. A platoon of tanks hove into view. When they got closer, I saw the lead tank was led by a lieutenant wearing a Western-style moustache, goggles, and a baseball cap worn backward. He stood up in one of the hatches. When he spotted the wounded North Koreans, he leaned forward to shout into the tank. This tank, followed by the other three, swerved off the road and clanked over the enemy soldiers. Shrill screams were quickly blotted out by the roar of the engines. A cloud of dust, mixed with blood, guts, and pieces of bodies, swirled in the air. The tanks returned to the road and were soon out of sight. Emer was a hardy soul and never missed a bite of his cold hamburger. The other kid vomited all over himself. A day later the company stopped in the road alongside a small village. A couple of guys from 1st Platoon threw lighted matches on the straw roofs of the huts. In no time at all the village was an inferno. I expect these are common occurrences in all wars. Man has an infinite capacity to be bestial to his own kind.

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Published in: on December 22, 2009 at 12:51 PM  Leave a Comment  
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