Saturday, May 10, 2008

Last night we saw a performance of "Anne Frank" done professionally and with great feeling at Seattle's Intiman Theatre starring Lucy Devito, daughter of Rea Perlman and Danny Devito in the title roll.

The play begins with a comment by the Otto Frank character that after being liberated from a Nazi concentration camp he had spent months being shunted from one refugee camp to another before being released to return to Holland.

This reminded me of a conversation with a veteran infantry master sgt. who was temporarily billeted at our facility in Korea.

He reported that his son was a tank commander at the front lines. The tank was in imperative need of a new engine and orders through normal channels went unheeded. He had come to Seoul to seek direct contact with an opposite number in the Ordinance Corps. who could steal an engine destined for someone else and load it on his truck.

I understood this to mean that a couple of cases of Seagrams VO would be passed in compensation for the favor. That is the army way.

The sgt. then expanded on the value of the old boy network.

He had been captured by the Germans in the invasion of North Africa and shipped to a prison camp in Germany.

Almost three years later as American troops broke the backs of the Warmacht, the prison guards fled leaving the gates open. The captives gingerly at first began making their way West toward the American lines.

Streaming along the roads some partly dressed in cast off German uniforms they encountered the vangard of the advancing army.

Their joy at being reunited with their fellow GI's was short lived. They were met at gun point.

Enemy soldiers wearing American uniforms and speaking passable English had created havoc behind U. S. lines. Everyone was on his guard.

If you are Americans answer this. Who won this year's Worlds Series?

Gee, tell us we want to know.

Who is Dick Tracy's current nemisis? What is Frank Sinatra's current best selling record.

Man, we have been locked up in a prison camp and our captors have not shared that information with us.

A decision had to be made so the released captives were sent to a fenced camp at the port.

Weeks went by and the detainment camp grew larger and larger and noone in authority seemed to be in a hurry to check the verity of the detainees.

The sgt. noticed a troop ship in the harbor being loaded with troops. He asked a guard who the lucky guys were who were going home. The guard replied that they were not lucky GI's but German prisoners of war being transported to U. S. prison camps.

You mean they are going to the U., S. and we are rotting here! Who is in charge of this port?

The guard mentioned the name of the General commanding the port.

I was the General's driver at Fort Riley. Get word to him I am here!

Within an hour a General's jeep pulled up to the stockade. The General imediately recognized the Sgt. After a short conversation an order went out in no uncertain terms from the General.

Get the those dammed prisoners off that boat and get these poor guys home as quick as possible.

In a matter of hours the sarge and his buddies were on their way home.

That is the army way.


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