I was reminiscing today about my time overseas in the Korean Occupation, Japanese Occupation and lastly the Korean War. It seems that it was exactly 67 years ago today that the Captain in charge of my company B, 32nd Infantry Regiment came up to me on the front line and told me that I would be rotating back to the good ole US of A. There was a lot of celebrating with my squad that day and there were more than a few inches of dirt dug out of my fox hole. We were anticipating incoming mortar fire. The next morning as promised by the Captain the jeep driver picked me up and took me to 7th Infantry Division Headquarters to start the processing to send me home. Incidentally Truman fired MacArthur that day. When my ship arrived back in the States it had been 3 years and 13 days away from the USA.
Little did I know when I was growing up in Morton, Texas that these event could be recorded in the history of my life. As a boy of about 10 years of age I was taking on more responsibility for my life by being less of a burden on the family. I started paying about 5 to 10 dollars a month to my Mother for room and board. By age thirteen I had taken over the job of theatre projectionist from Dink Cox who had been drafted. This job put more money in my pockets and allowed me to buy things I should not have purchased. One example of this was buying a horse. This new obligation required more attention than I could devote so I enlisted others to help. I could not afford a saddle so someone loaned me theirs when I was asked to go on an outing to help brand some calves.
My horse and saddle were transported out to the ranch where the activity was to be performed. I was able to ride in the pickup with the other cowboys. The problem that arose was that I could not stay out as long as they could because I had this obligation with my job at the theatre to start the show at about 6pm.
It was about 5 miles from town to the ranch. Same distance back. After this enjoyable time I started back at about 3pm thinking this would be long enough for me to ride this horse back home and then get ready for my job. WRONG.
The horse was tired. I was tired. The horse probably had not been given enough water to drink and he moved as slow as the seven year itch. I had to get off of his back and lead him a good distance. We were making about a mile per hour. You do the math.
The manager of the theatre sent out a search party at about 5:45 to try and find me. One of the search party saw me and my poor tired horse round the corner of the court house at about 5:55. He came and took the horse reins out of my hands and told me I had better get over to the theatre or I was in deep trouble.
The show went on as the saying goes. A dirty, tired drained theatre projectionist did not miss a beat but learned a valuable lesion that day. Plan ahead a little better. This did help me in Korea a few years later when I judged how much deeper to dig my fox hole on my last night on the front lines in the Korean War.