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Thursday, 22 July 2010

Safety First

By Walt Grant

After I got to Korea, I was assigned to A Company, 1st Armored Amphibian Battalion. We were stationed at the northern tip of the Kimpo Peninsula. Each platoon was set up like an artillery battery, firing the six 75mm howitzers mounted on our LVTAs at the Chinese Army on the opposite side of the Han River.

For several months, I was platoon leader of the First Platoon, which was set up on the reverse slope of a fairly steep hill about fifty yards south of the river bank.

One day, we were getting some incoming 76mm artillery fire from the Chinese. Most of the rounds passed over us and landed near the road leading up to our position. About a half hour after the Chinese quit shooting, four truckloads of fresh 75mm ammo for our guns arrived. The driver of the lead truck ran up to me carrying an unexploded Chinese 76mm shell in his hands.

I instructed him to carefully but quickly carry the dud out of the platoon area and over the nearest ridge line, to set it down very gently and then run like hell back to my CP.

A few minutes later he returned. He told me he had found the dud lying by the road as they were bringing up the ammo. He had brought it to me (nestled in the seat beside him in the truck) because he believed "military intelligence was interested in these things."

I told him he and his fellow truckers would have been in considerably less danger if he had simply marked and reported the location. And I asked him if he had considered the danger of carrying an unexploded live round in the truck with him - especially since his cargo consisted of several tons of artillery shells.

He replied, "Oh, yes sir, I knew it could be dangerous. But I kept it pointed away from me all the time."


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Walt - Good grief!

Great story - Sandy

Did he point it toward the ammo in the back of the truck?

Fun story. Thanks.

What a great story.

This has to be added to the dumb blond jokes. What a hilarious ending. I loved it.

(And they walk among us.)

I've just returned from Oak Ridge, TN for a visit to The Secret City (which I wholly recommend). Thank goodness all the PHD's who developed the atomic bomb had more common sense!

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