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2008 Story #12 – Christmas 1945

The time for this story was Christmas 1945 when World War II had just ended and the governments were attempting to learn what to do with a world at “peace” after six years of a life and death struggle against two formidable adversaries, the Germans on one hand and the Japanese on the other. The setting for this story is Inchon Korea. The immediate location was a girl’s school which the 51st Military Police Battalion commandeered to house the men of that unit.

It was near midnight and we were sitting around on our bunks feeling all sorts of emotions surrounding home, friends, families and most of all the homesickness that can only come at special times of the year. Some of the men were playing cards; others had pens in hand, writing letters home. One young soldier sat on the edge of his bunk reading a letter from home. He was obviously upset as he sobbed as he read the missive over and over again.

We didn’t pay much attention to him as we all had our private thoughts and memories of this special time of the liturgical year to ponder. The Saki flowed liberally throughout the barracks and most of us, though homesick, felt no pain. We knew that life would go on as the army saw fit until the powers that controlled our lives decided it was time for us to rotate home.

Suddenly, out of the jumbled sounds that permeated our quarters we heard a voice shouting: “No more! I’ve got to get out of here!”

We looked over and saw one our company members waving a loaded Grease Gun in our direction. Before anyone could stop him, he commenced shooting .45 caliber bullets all over the room. Luckily, no one was hit. After he exhausted the first magazine of rounds he quick reloaded and began firing, only this time most of the rounds went into the ceiling.

We all ducked under our bunks to stay out of the line of fire. Finally a sergeant and a corporal jumped up and overpowered the sobbing, historical G.I. He was immediately disarmed and handcuffed and carted off to the Provost Marshall’s H.Q.

We later learned he was turned over to the Medics for evaluation and was subsequently sent home on what was called a “Section Eight.”

A Christmas has never passed since that incidence in 1945 that I haven’t thought about how lonely and desperate one can become while away from home and loved ones. Christmas is a time for coming together and enjoying the company of friends, family and attending Church. That is the lesson I took away from that experience in Inchon, Korea in 1945.

Note: this story is from 2008. View other 2008 stories and 2008 voting results. View current stories.