Monday, December 28, 2009

How to Survive a War, the Checklist

     War is a dangerous affair.  These days you can get blasted by an army sitting thousands of miles away who mistook you for a dangerous suspect due to a glitchy satellite signal, you can step on a land mine, get shot, blow yourself up on purpose, be blown up by the person blowing his/herself up on purpose . . . well, you get the point.  Fifty years ago it was a bit more simple; planes, artillery, land mines, and bullets were the gist of it.  Dodging those methods weren't any more or less terrifying, of course, but most of those you could see or hear coming.  My grandpa, Cecil Williams, would know something about this - having obtained some uninvited first-hand experience as a civilian evacuating from the Korean War.

     First off, don't run away from a dive-bombing plane!  Running away will give them more time to shoot you or drop bombs on you.  This was one of several pieces of advice given to my dear grandfather by the American Army Sergeant who also claimed to be his "mother and father from now on!"  Hmm, wonder how that worked out.

     Next, don't run at all - just sit tight, shut your eyes, and pray the bullets away (yeah right!).  That particular tid-bit was not even remembered by the elderly sage of a missionary who uttered them.  Once he saw the fighter jet strafing towards the bus he actually beat everyone else out of the vehicle and was found in the ditch right beside an amazed Cecil!  Note: when evacuating, stay near the exits or risk being trampled by crazy people.

     Wear multiple layers of clothes.  Really.  When the Postal Exchange on the Army base was opened to civilians for free (in reality, only white males were allowed in), Cecil saw one man layer on four or five suits!  All because he wanted free clothes.  Another guy covered his entire arm in Rolex watches.  A lot of good they did him when he was being shot at a few hours later!

     Bring a sledgehammer for fun.  You get to smash typewriters, computers, cameras, and car engines to bits in an effort to keep them from the enemy.  But by all means, never let the locals have anything valuable!  They might actually be able to better their situations then.  To avoid such a catastrophe, drive cars off of piers, burn the food, and don't hand out clothes to anyone who doesn't look "American" before you burn that too!  Seriously, it happened.

     Don't sleep on the 10th floor of a fancy hotel during an ongoing invasion!  You may look out one evening to find a bomber heading straight for your room.  Think of all the heart-stopping fun THAT will be as you throw yourself on the floor, making out with the carpet in an effort to become as small as possible!  Cecil didn't think it was very funny at the moment as he watched possible death just barely miss the building - close enough to make out the facial features of the pilot!

     Most importantly, be sure you book your evacuation flight on one of three cargo planes that have NOT been bombed out of the original five!  Learn - real fast - how to lock arms and lean forward to help the plane lift off the runway!  And don't forget to leave all that expensive merchandise you just looted from the Postal Exchange in a pile by the wayside along with all the other junk that won't keep you alive when you have to cram twice as many people into a plane because the others were destroyed!  Of course, being on the very last flight out of a war zone makes for great stories to tell the grandkids - but you're not really thinking of grandkids at a time like that . . .  

     What, nobody taught you this stuff in school?

     More later . . . . .


1 comment:

  1. What an incredible story, I didn't realize your family was so rich with stories. Sad or otherwise. Its a good thing your grandfather made it out of there, or as the coined term goes: "you never would have been born.", I'm sure you catch my meaning.