If you have watched the TV show M*A*S*H, you know that even with the horrors of war, a few spots of humor lighten up the day. Here are a few of those humorous moments as told to me by soldiers I have known.
“I bet the Jeep driver on how many French women I could slap on the behind between the town and camp. So, I’m sitting there with a Thompson on my lap, and every time we see a woman or girl walking down the road, he moves the Jeep over to them and I stick my hand out. By the time I got back to camp, my hand was swollen and the medic sent me to the camp O. R. for an X-ray. The doctor told me I had broken several small bones in my hand. I never told my sergeant how I broke my hand, but I was on sick leave for two weeks.” (PFC Robert E. Rutherford, U.S. Army, Bastogne, 1944)
“My two best friends and I knew we would be drafted into the service soon after we graduated from high school, so we enlisted together. After basic training, my two friends were shipped directly to Vietnam and I was shipped to a military base in North Carolina. They saw a tour of action and I was made a clerk for a colonel. After two years of service, they came out as PFCs. Before I left, the colonel promoted me to a three-stripe sergeant – and I never left the states or saw a day of action.” (Sergeant John Selesky, U.S. Army, North Carolina, 1969)
“I went around the world three times with no problems. But whenever we were in the North Atlantic, in the late fall or winter, we’d get hit [torpedoed]! You got leave time every time you had a boat shot out from under you, and I had four. I spent more time on leave than I did on board ship.” (Seaman First Class Fred Goddard, U.S. Navy, North Atlantic, WW2)
“We used to play a game called ‘Got Ya!’ when we were not flying missions. It was like two cowboys drawing their guns on a street in the old West. One day a new pilot called out and drew his revolver on me, except he pulled the trigger and fired off a shot in my direction! I was not mad at him, because you could explain a guy getting shot in the jungle for that, but all the other pilots were mad since his missed shot went through the door of our only refrigerator, and cold beer was hard to get!” (Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thomas Stryker, U.S. Army Helicopter Pilot, Vietnam, 1969)
“It was the end of the war, and I was transferred to Korea for the last six months of my enlistment. I was in a Jeep with two other guys patrolling a road when we were stopped by Korean soldiers. They took away our carbines, escorted us to their base, and put us in jail. The next day, an American officer came and got us out. I was not a prisoner of war by the Germans or Japanese, but the Koreans – that we would not go to war with for another five years!” (Tech Corporal Anthony Haryn, U.S. Army Air Corps, Korea, 1945”
To all who served and are currently serving: You are not forgotten, and we salute you.