Sunday, June 7, 2009
Love American vs Korean Style#17
In Part 1- I met the girl I would marry. Her name is Kim and RUV is in the air!!!
In Part 2- Spent all my money on a MASTER PLAN to set up a birthday party that would put me with Kim.
In Part 3- Stupid master plan FAILS!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. Grandma's sitting on my lap crushing my huevos. I may never have children.
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 and a laceration on the forehead. I crawl out and am captured by the ROK Army, then returned to base.
In Part 9- Got stitches/medical treatment at 0130 hours. Later that AM, a meeting with Military Police 1SG Black Thunder Johnson. Made an Ambassador to South Korea. Run to Motor Pool for a jeep.
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 OBAMA, to the Korean OPRAH's (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/we 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.
In Part 13- I report to the orderly room. My fate is suspended until the next day when I must report back to the First Sergeant with my Squad Leader. I am re-directed to the unit supply room and meet Sergeant James Wheeler.
In Part#14- Learn about ambassadorship, love of life, Korean orphanages, and about giving from the US Army's Santa Claus, Sergeant Jimmy Wheeler.
In Part#15- I was to meet my fate. But what was it? I was reassigned and given a "Special Assignment". But what was it? I didn't know.
In Part#16- My "Special Assignment" was to ride shotgun on the trash truck going through our Army base. I banged my head on the truck's handrail and limply fell to the ground. With Kotex applied to my forehead I was taken to the Evac Hospital and returned to my unit.
And the saga continues....I was a Military Policeman and my new job (punishment really) was to stop pilfering on base via the garbage. I rode on the back of the garbage truck. I was to search it (garbage) before it was loaded onto the truck. It was a messy job and I was a mess. In going to my 1st stop, I saw my Commanding Officer, and was saluting him when the truck suddenly stopped. I banged my head on the hand rail, breaking open the stitches I had due to a previous injury...that was when I rode a stolen one-wheeled bicycle into a banjo ditch while trying to escape arrest by the KNP's (Korean National Police) for being out after midnight curfew. If this is all very confusing then go read previous installments of this tragically feel-my-pain story of love by clicking on the links above. This is a story of love... of pain...of more pain with more than just a few mercies thrown in. One of the most merciful of mercies was having a First Sergeant named B.T. Johnson.
1SG Johnson was known as "Black Thunder". A veteran of the Vietnam War... a couple of tours/times, with paratrooper wings, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, and a Drill Sergeant's patch, he was a bad-ass. Black Thunder was a huge man! A fit man. An intimidating looking man, with a bulbous nose, and very dark black face. He was one of the best sergeants an enlisted man, or officer, could ever hope for! He exuded professionalism, confidence, common sense, and most of all, human decency. Our M.P. unit motto back in Pusan, Korea 1975 was "As in Peace...As in War"...that was 1SG B.T. Johnson. He was like God...the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Fact: You never want to cross God nor 1SG Johnson. Anyway, I get my head busted open again for the second time, in as many days and nights. I then have a female M.P. staunch the bleeding with a Kotex held to my forehead, and am laughed at by the entire Korean and American population of Camp Hialeah, Korea in the month of March in the year of the "Feminine Hygiene Pad", nineteen hundred and seventy five.
After getting another set of new and improved stitches to my forehead, I was placed on bed-rest for 24 hours, in case I had a concussion. Why I was not treated that way the previous time? Only the Army Medics know. I returned to the barracks after dropping off my medical profile/sick slip to the Orderly Room. In the Orderly Room, I was met by 1SG Johnson who asked me if my Miss Kim was still worth all of this? Without hesitation I said,"Hell yeah, First Sergeant." Black Thunder smiled his big signature smile and said "If you have not succumbed to your wounds and are, by some great gift of the Almighty God...still alive in the morning...report back to your squad leader for MP duty. You are going back on the line." My face lit up and I replied with a loud, "Yes, First Sergeant." As I was about to leave 1SG Johnson's office, he told me in a conspiratorial tone of voice... looking me dead in the eyes, " I am pulling your pass for one week, only. Screw this up and you will succumb to the wounds that I will inflict upon your Government Issue (G.I.) ass. Not even the Korean Shaman Grandmothers Union will be able to save your butt from my wrath. Do you hear me, Specialist?" I replied, "Loud and clear, Top. Loud and clear." He smiled ever so slightly and said, "Good."
Wow! So that was it...only one week without a pass. No Article 15, no extra duty, no more garbage truck trauma and drama! There really is a God out there! Well...that or those Korean Grandma witches that I took the taxi ride with were working their magic in my direction. Whatever, I was off the hook! A born-again heathen was I!
While headed for the barracks I ran into my buddy, 22 year old PFC Huey P. LeDew (named after Huey P. Long) from Louisiana, who was married to a wonderful Korean lady (AKA: The Iron Empress)...who was friends with MY...well, not exactly yet... MY...Miss Kim. The short and stocky Huey P. LeDew told me...that his wife told him... that Miss Kim was worried about what would happen to me for breaking curfew and all. She was concerned about the injuries I sustained when I fell off the back bumper of the Pusan city bus at a speed of approximately 40 MPH (more or less) and when I later rode a hot (stolen) one-wheeled bicycle into an open ban-jo (sewage) ditch, thusly earning my way into the Korean-Schwinn Bicycle Hall of Fame. Holy cow! I saw the light! There was hope for even a sinner like me. Praise be to Allah, Buddha, Mohammad Ali, and my Commander in Chief...President Gerald R. Ford and the Korean Witches Union (Local #666)!!! I told Huey that God or them witches must surely be lookin' out for me! Huey said in his cajun-style voice, "You're just one unlucky sum-bitch...whose luck has just changed to good. That's all. Nothin' more than that. Period." Maybe Huey was right but I thanked the good Lord for bringing me such a red-necked bearer of good news anyways and I gave him a big hug right then and there! Huey, apparently not being the touchy-feely type, immediately turned beet-red and threatened to beat the holy-California-faggoty-coon-assed-shit outta me if I ever did that again! Though much smaller in stature than I... when in an enraged red-faced Cajun mode...the short and squat PFC Huey P. LeDew of Houma, Louisiana could kick many a bigger guy's ass. It reminded me of the time only 4 or 5 months previously when I had seen him in action against some drunk Marines down on Texas Street. It was like an Asian version of Cannery Row. Called Choerang-dong...or Texas Street, it was a very popular bar area that came complete with hookers, neon lights, drunken soldiers, Filipinos with butterfly knives, and other salty professional sailors from around the globe. All this and more, located together in beautiful downtown stinky Pusan, South Korea...out near the train station. Like I said, it was 4 or 5 months previously when some US Marines were on shore leave off of the LST Tarawa... or maybe it was the USS Shithead? Whatever. While on shore leave these shitheads...I mean, Marines.. wanted to celebrate their happiness by getting rip-snorting drunk and throwing empty beer bottles at us no good US Army MP's on duty. Why, how dare any punk-ass US Army MP's be anywhere's near a bar full of gung-ho US Marines?! Huey and I were out on the street when a barrage of O.B. beer bottles shot by our Company C 728th MP Bn helmet-linered heads. Like it says in the book of Proverbs..."As a dog returns to its vomit" so... "a Ragin' Cajun must go in and kick your ass"....or something like that. So my foot patrol partner, the enraged Huey, shot past me headed into a bunker full of our new-found enemies (US Marines)! It was the "Seven Seas Bar" where those damned Jarheads were but I more or less tackled Huey in the street and told him to wait till those bastards (some call 'em Marines) ran out of ammo/beer bottles, to throw at us. I blew my MP whistle summoning more MP foot patrols and Shore Patrol in the area to back us up. Huey reluctantly waited for back up but after a few seconds he became bored. Huey popped his head back in the doorway getting the Marines to throw more bottles at him yelling, "Give up, GOMER!" Those Marines must have had Cajun blood in their veins. They were up for it! They threw empty beer bottles, chairs, tables, pictures off the wall, flaming hot big lit-up boxes of Korean wooden matches, and anything that wasn't nailed down, at me and Huey! It looked like a Mexican Fiesta and Cock Fight Night at the local county fairgrounds! Huey, with a glint in his cajun eyes and chuckling to himself... said..."Gee. They seem a bit pissed-off." Then he yelled at them ..."One Navy squid could kick all of your asses!" Now it came. You heard of things boiling over? A tipping point? Yeah. That's what we had right here. Right now. Out there on Texas Street or Choerang-dong... or whatever ya wanted to call the place. It was a stew-pot of drunken anger and bravado! It busted-loose or boiled-over somewhere in between the Seoul Bar and the Anchor Bar. Marines were breaking bottles. Marines were throwing bottles. Marines were throwing punches. My junior patrol partner, PFC LeDew, was steadfast in his MP mission. Huey was breaking Marine Corps ribs and was the primary source for many a Marine's concussion. Eight Marines were eventually piled into an MP Van and taken back to their respective ship wearing the customary silver bracelets and the Red Badge of Stupidity (blood). I think we had interpersonal communications classes and proper use of force classes for the next three months of training because of what "PFC Huey P. LeDew vs The US Marine Corps" had done during the melee at Choerang-dong. Well whatever, that was Huey. His pretty wife was a jewel in a very hard-shelled way. They were a perfect match. They loved each other fiercely. It was a fact. Huey, quick to anger, was brought down to earth by the Iron Empress with only one look. I think many women have this quality...but she was refined in it. Mrs LeDew had a regal but not stuck-up personality. She commanded respect without a single word or gesture. She was very pretty. Korean soldier or American, we all liked Mrs LeDew and we all wondered why she married Huey. A lady with her own ideas. The one woman who could tame the lion in that ragin' cajun of an Army PFC named Huey. An Empress if ever there was one...Mrs Huey P. LeDew of Pusan, South Korea.
Now. Where was I? Oh...Huey gave me the best news I could ever have hoped for! His wife arranged a date for me, with Kim! It would be on April 1st, 1975. Our squad's day off with Huey and his wife as escorts/chaperons. As the luck of the gods or witches would have it, I was off restriction by then. It was on! A real live date with Miss Kim! It would be on a Tuesday, April 1st in the year of Amore (1975).
(to be continued)