Thursday, June 17, 2010

Archie's Batteries

How did Archie get his hands on these pieces of ordinance and other items? Well he wasn’t a smoker, and he was an electricians mate that had to go all over the ship to repair things, and for this he was entrusted with key access. Probably not the smartest idea, as Archie was only in the service because he got caught siphoning gas out of neighborhood cars and the judge gave him a choice between the military or jail. (there was rationing, and a 17 year old has GOT to be able to spend time with the ladies in his car...) Even then, Archie did spend some time in the brig…

So with keys, and the ability to bribe people with cigarettes, Archie pretty much owned the ship.
The hundreds of Marines aboard didn’t like the sailors much. Many were veterans of Tarawa, so they earned their surliness. And the unwetted Marines took their cues from the vets. If Archie tried to start a conversation with a Marine he was usually met with a “Get the hell away from me, Swabbie!” One salty Marine spent a lot of time on the forecastle watching the water. It took a while, but he warmed up. This Gunnery Sergeant wanted to know what Archie kept crawling in and out of HIS Higgins boats, or LCVPs.

“I gotta check on the battery” said Archie

“Why?!” demanded the gruff Marine.

“Well when you want to go from the beach back to the ship you do want the engine to start, don’t ya?”

“...You just keep doing whatever it is you need to do, and if any Marine gives you any trouble just come to me.”

So Archie was able to talk to this one Marine on occasion thereafter. Archie eventually noticed something funny hanging around this Marine’s neck. It was a little leather bag. After awhile he worked up the gumption to ask him what that was all about. The Gunny told him that he yanked the teeth out of dead Japanese, and when he got time he bashed them up with a rifle butt on a rock to get the gold fillings out, and he kept those fillings in the leather bag, “and do you want to see?”

“Oh, no. No no no. That’s ok.”

But it was this Marine that let Archie handle a M3 Greasegun. He is still fascinated with the Greasegun. How inexpensive it was, and that it was made by GM's headlight division. Archie is a car guy, and car stuff and how things are made fascinates him.

No comments: