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Jack Remembers: With Russkies bearing down, fun-loving GIs knew what to do

By Jack Hackley

Actually, we were just kids even though we were 19 and some just 20 when we got drafted into the army.
In today’s world, we would not be considered very well educated.  We grew up without television, computers  or iPhones.  The military thought Russia was going to invade Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, so they pulled the First Cavalry Division out of Korea and sent us to Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido.
We spent the next 19 months on maneuvers, and I estimate in our two-year Army career we slept on the cold ground 500 nights.
We were told we would be expendable and could only slow the Russians down when they invaded.  We were never given a three-day pass or a leave during those 19 months.
When we were in base camp, we were given passes to go in to town, and go in to Sapporo we did.  We wanted to make sure the brewery that made Nippon beer did not go broke.
One night, we went to our favorite cabaret on Black Market Street and encountered another company that had taken over our bar.  A close friend of mine said something to one of them, and he hit my buddy in the mouth, who in turn fell back knocking bottles off the bar and almost immediately the MP’s came in the back door.
We headed out the front. Two of us jumped in a passing rickshaw and told the guy who was pulling it with a bicycle to “Hiyako,” a Japanese word meaning “faster.”
He was just picking up speed, outrunning an MP, when all of a sudden he let out a scream and that bicycle came off the ground and pointed straight up in the air.  Two of my buddies had jumped on the back of the rickshaw and their extra weight had caused the bicycle and rider to come off the ground.
They quickly jumped back off, started pushing, jumped back on more to the front of the rickshaw, easily outrunning the MPs.  We found another bar and to show our appreciation, the four of us took the rickshaw driver into the bar and bought him a few Nippons.

Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or jack...@aol.com.  Visit www.jackremembers.com

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