It was 1942 and we we had just landed on the beach in Guadacanal. The PT's rode right up to shore and we unloaded are packings and supplies. We immediately went in land to set up camp. While a couple of the men fell off into broken sleep, I stayed alert; I could never understand how anybody could have slept through the artillery explosions and buzz of Mitsubishis running low through the onyx sky. Occassionally you would catch a glimpse of one against the flash of a scatter-bomb, a silohuette, like a large bat gliding across the smoke of a campfire only to dissapear before it is recognized. It was always the new guys; they could sleep through anything. I sat in a hole keeping a sharp eye on the perimeter. Sarge and myself took watch that first night on the island. We saw and heard the fighting, but at that point in time it was several leauges away. The Sarge pulled out a Lucky Strike just to suck on it; couldn't light it as the glow, smoke and even the smell could give up our our dig, spelling instant death. We sat. Waiting. Killing time while watching time killing. Hours went by until the sky was monochromatic with an early morning saphire, painting everyone of us with a deeper, deadlier blue than that of the water in the River Styx itself. Then a faint crack, a bamboo shaft slapping against another. A shape, maybe not even human moving through the wild grassy fence. Then another shape, definately a man, and another, maybe 30 shapes, the lead man chopping through the reeds like a skilled Samurai. They moved on in a line, plodding toward us nearly 500 yards away, the intensity of their charge narrowing, our heightened mental interpretation of the distance translating that stretch of mud to five feet. I slowly reached back around my waist, tightening the cinch of my sling to bring my rifle around to my chest. Hunkering down, I brought the rear sights of my Marine issue Ruger Mini-14 to my right eye. I slowly licked my thumb to wet the front sight as I always did while hunting for wild Boar back in Indiana with my old Springfield. I lined up my barrel to the man farthest to the back of the line from which I could draw a sight picture. Just then, a horror came over all of us as we were jolted by a racking sound. A Private, very green and unready for the situation, but alert enough to spot the troupe moving toward us, yanked hard on the jammed charging handle of his experimental Stoner M-16 to ready the rifle. Every head in that ominous dragon snapped a look of intent in our direction. It was a horrible assembly of grimaces; faces bent on delivering a message of death. In that instant, I saw their schlocky Nambu rifles take aim at our makeshift camp of soldiers. Little did they know that we were well supplied with our Ruger Mini-14's, a little known fact about WWII. (Just like you didn't hear about the Northrop B2 Stealth Bomber or F-117 fighter until 20 years after they were already flying!) Anyway, I turned to alert the Sarge. As he turned to me we were both shocked as his unlit cigarette turned to powder inches from his nose, having met a 7.7mm bite of lead, wasting a scarce commodity in our current accomodations. Well that did it! Now we were really pissed off! The Sarge and I both turned our Mini-14's in there direction and took quick aim; on the very first round I shot a slug right into the muzzle of the eighth Japanese soldier in the line; his rifle was rendered useless. On the next round, I took careful sight on the man next in line and shot the mag release on that asian pea-shooter, knocking the magazine of his Type 5 to the ground. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the Sarge plinking shots, knocking several of the T-14 pistols carried by these men out of their holsters, cashing them lost in the tangled roots of the high brush. As the men fumbled for their pistols, I took advantage of their baffoonery and continued to obliterate them with my Ruger; I took the sights off one of their rifles, front and back, while I shot off the bolt handle of one man's Arisaka type 99. Next we bagan to clip off their belts as their pants came loose and fell around their ankles, causing them to trip over each other. Next I put a hole directly through one man's canteen, spilling his water supply all about his pants; either that or he had wet himself, I am not sure. Ol' Sarge shot a round just at the feet of one clod standing sideways which broke the poor man's shoelaces, causing him to trip over his own feet into the jungle's low, muddy water. After seeing this and not to be outdone, I couldn't resist shooting the corner of another fellow's eyeglasses, just at the frame, causing them to fall off his face into two pieces. I have never seen a man turn and run so fast. He was quickly followed by all of his friends. When all was said and done, both Sarge and myself still had plenty of rounds each left in our 30 round magazines. I had ten left, the Sarge had nine. To this day, I still kid the Sarge that he has a problem with wasting ammo.
Sarge and I still talk about that day, with our faithful Ruger Mini-14's, fighting off the Japanese, turning them back in their own tracks, and not taking a single life. Yep. Sometimes I turn to Ol' York (the Sarge) and say "Remember those early experimental Ruger Mini-14's Yorky?" and his eyes light up and he drifts off in silence, with a grin so big, the only sound you can hear is the Texas wind whistling through his teeth.
Hey, if you are going to tell tall tales about Ruger Mini-14's, tell a good one!!!!!!!
[This message has been edited by Erick (edited 09-29-2000).]