By Jack Hackley
Near the end of the Korean War, the United States government was drafting 60,000 men per month and was down to the 19-year-olds.
One month, that 60,000 included me. I was put in the infantry and after 16 weeks of basic training, I was shipped overseas.
From the time I got on the ship to go overseas until I came home, I never received a three-day pass or a leave. I was given a 22-pound B.A.R. (Browning Automatic Rifle), and was assigned to “Charlie” Company. The platoon sergeant was Sgt 1st Class Buchanan. He was a tall, lean, mean, abusive, career Army sergeant who would court martial a soldier at the drop of a hat.
Sgt. Buchanan had busted a Cpl. Sullivan down to a private for a minor infraction. Sullivan was a good soldier and intended to make a career of the army. Buchanan had destroyed that opportunity and not only ruined Sullivan’s career goals, but caused him to have wasted six years of his life. Sullivan, along with the rest of the platoon, hated Buchanan, but there was nothing they could do about it.
One night, Sullivan had a chance to get even. We were in the mountains on a single-file patrol. Sullivan was in the lead as point man, with Buchanan following him, and I was following Buchanan. It was in the middle of the night, cold, pitch dark and had started to rain.
For the complete story, see the Aug. 14 print edition of the Richmond News