Sunday, November 30, 2008
Love American VS Korean Style#13
In the beginning...
In Part 1- I met the girl I would marry. Her name is Kim. Love at 1st sight (for me, anyway).
In Part 2- I spent what money I had to set up a birthday party that would put me with Kim.
In Part 3- Kim gets puked on by drunk Birthday Boy. Kim leaves. I am miserable.
In Part 4- Korean Grandmothers (Shaman) take pity on me. We Kamikaze in a taxi to Kim's.
In Part 5- I survive the taxi ride. The Grandmothers tell me they will fix all. I must return to base. I can't beat the midnight curfew but I damn sure try.
In Part 6- Suicide ride on a bus bumper. Crash. Injuries and more. Concussion too! Police chase. Escape & Evade.
In Part 7- Climb a telephone pole. Steal a bike with one wheel. Make my Great Escape.
In Part 8- Ride bike into a Banjo-Ditch (sewage). Another concussion. I crawl out and am captured by the ROK Army, then returned to base.
In Part 9- Medical treatment at 0130 hours. AM meeting with Military Police 1SG Black Thunder Johnson. Made an Ambassador to South Korea. Run to Motor Pool.
In Part 10- Bicycle recovered. I fall into the banjo ditch. 1SG YOON/1SG Johnson/Me and the Korean Grandfather have a Pow-wow. Intercultural relations rebuilt. Valuable lessons learned.
In Part 11- The First Sergeants have a meeting. I am cleaned up at a ROK Army wash point. We go to Kim's. I am Elvis, to the Korean Grandmothers. I SEE KIM! We are returning to base.
In Part 12- I return to Camp with the First Sergeant's, jeep, and bicycle. My squad members, the house boys, and I.... all ponder my fate. We break for chow (lunch). I opt for a nap and am awoken by my Squad leader SSG OLY. Intro to Staff Sergeant Oly (The Big "O") and the infamous Three Beeps. Time has come...I head for the orderly room.
THE ORDERLY ROOM
With a fresh crisp uniform on and newly shined boots I walk into my M.P. company orderly room. I feel like shit but my uniform looks good. My forehead has three stitches but at least the bumps on my head have gone down. My ankle only throbs a little compared to my head. I think of the girl I've gone through all this for and do a re-evaluation of my actions. I am 20 years old and Kim is the prettiest girl I've ever seen...just as I'd thought...SHE WAS WORTH ALL OF THIS! I was told to take a seat and wait for the First Sergeant to see me. All eyes of the orderly room clerks were on me. They typed, worked quietly, and watched me closely. I would catch them looking at me and they would quickly snap their heads away from my eyes. I was a dead man. I knew it. No one smiled at me or talked to me, though we all knew each other rather well. Then the C.O. entered the building and someone yelled "ATTENTION"! I rose quickly and assumed the position of attention. I still looked sharp and greatly respected my company commander, CPT Royce "Nash" Rambler. He was a West Point grad, an Airborne qualified Infantry Platoon Leader who served in Vietnam, and he was a fine man. Like First Sergeant B. T. (Black Thunder) Johnson, he was a professional soldier who cared about his troops. A man's man. If he wasn't a natural born leader then there was none. Inside, I felt a bit ashamed that I had let him down. It's like letting down your Dad, if ya know what I mean. That's how it was with my C.O. and my First Sergeant. You didn't want to let them down. Cpt Rambler called "at ease" and life went on back to normal in the orderly room. Then Cpt Rambler approached me, looked me dead in the eye and said, "Jihad, was she worth it"? I answered she was. He smiled slightly and said to me, "I can tell you believe that. That's good." He turned and walked away. Someone called my name. I was told by a clerk in the office that the First Sergeant had just called and would see me with my Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant Oly, at 1400hrs (2 PM) , tomorrow. That was two hours before I was to work my shift (swing shift 1600-2400) with my squad, lead by SSG Oly as M.P. Patrol Supervisor. In the meantime I was told to see to the unit Supply Sergeant about the bicycle.
THE SUPPLY SERGEANT
I entered the supply room and there is Sgt Wheeler going over supply documents. Sgt Wheeler is Amerasian and known as "Wheeler-Dealer". He is as sharp as any operating room scalpel and he looks Korean, except for a pair of handsome blue eyes that I wish I would of had. Sgt Wheeler worked with the Army CID up north in Seoul making many a drug bust and was now laying down low, here in Pusan, for the time being. The guy spoke fluent Korean (like his Mom) and when he spoke English, he did it with a Brooklyn accent (like his Dad). It was something truly to behold. The guy had his shit together and was on the fast track to making Staff Sergeant. He was a natural at anything he did. I think in Korea he worked harder than anyone I had ever seen...you see, the Korean people were not nice to Amerasians. They were made fun of and scorned, because they looked different. When they were babies they were cute, but as they developed and their western features became more apparent, they were ridiculed and shamed the families they came from. Many ended up in orphanages or on the street. It sucks. It may not be so bad now, but it was that way then, back in March 1975. I think it's because of guys like Sgt James Wheeler that the tide has turned in Korea and Amerasians are no longer looked down upon. Sporting a pair of dark sunglasses, Sgt Wheeler could look and act like a Korean's Korean but once you talked with him you knew he was as much of an American as any New York Mets or Yankees fan. He was a class act who could, and would, do whatever it took to get the job done. Like my 1SG and Captain, Sgt Wheeler was a role model. We talked. I helped dust shelves and moved inventory. Sgt Wheeler laughed with me at my story and about the bicycle. He seemed truly concerned for my well-being as I was favoring my ribs and sprained ankle. He was a good listener and not one to mock others. Call it his beside manner, I'll just call him a wonderful human being. The Doctor Phil's of this world could learn much from James Wheeler, Brooklyn accent and all. Sgt Wheeler asked if I was going to marry the girl I had gone thru Hell for? I said, "Hell, I can't even get a date with her." Jimmy asked me if I knew why I was sent here to the supply room. I said, "Well, the bike's here...so I guess it must be about the bicycle, huh"? Jimmy told me it was not all about the bicycle but also about being a good citizen. A good Ambasador. "Oh shit, Sergeant! You've been talking Top.", I said. Jimmy smiled and shook his head yes. It was about the bicycle and more. Seems we were taking a little jeep ride with the battered bicycle. Our destination... a South Korean orphanage. (To Be Continued)