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Walt Hardester

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Laughter in War
By Walt Hardester
Posted: Thursday, October 16, 2008
Last edited: Thursday, October 30, 2008
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Walt Hardester
· Almost Busted
· She Told Me To Do It
· Who to Believe?
· Five Minutes Of Fame
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· I Wonder If He Even Realized
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           >> View all 66
The M-79
One of my duty stations was a forward headquarters battalion supporting an infantry division. As a result of the proximity to actual war, and the remote possibility of a ground attack, weapons were everywhere.

We had "free fire" times on the perimiter of the base so anyone who wanted to could fire their, or any other hand-held weapon.
My personal favorite was the M-79 grenade launcher, because of the diversity of uses and type of rounds it could fire.
One of the shells it could fire was a tear gas grenade. The M-79 was so versatile if you knew the coordinates you wanted to hit you could put a round within a few feet of an aimed for target, up to about 75-100 yards.

Every now and then, some of us Med-Evac Medics and the Helo Mechanics would be sitting around after dinner with nothing much to do but play.

The first time I witnessed this fun, I was told that it was a "Ritual" that was practiced every month or so. Always being careful not to be too predictable about time of month, the location of launching site, or the perps.

OK, the guys did the math and were able to build a "firing platform" of sorts that was zeroed in on the deck outside the Officer's Club. After the round was fired the evidence was disposed of and we sat back to listen.
The Officer's Club was just far enough that we wouldn't get any of the tear gas, but close enough that we could hear their music and laughter.

As the Tear gas dispersed we heard all manner of explatives not really befitting Officers.
Because of the music, plus the fact they were so busy yelling and cursing, they couldn't hear our uprorious laughter just across the compound.

War does have it's fun moments.

(c)2008 Walt Hardester
†††††††††††††

 

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Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 10/17/2008
interesting-- games played in war--necessary for keeping some sanity i am sure!
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 10/17/2008
It is an almost grotesque thought that one could laugh during war, with dead on your heels, but it kept your sanity intact, otherwise, if you didn't laugh, the boys with the straightjacket were ready to give you a ride.
Thanks Walt, for remembering.

Georg

Reviewed by m j hollingshead 10/16/2008
well done
Reviewed by Terry Rizzuti 10/16/2008
Good story, Walt. I carried the M-79 in Vietnam for nearly three months. Got pretty good with it. Most of us that carried it were terrified we'd run out of ammo, so we carried about 100 rounds strung all across our bodies as well as in our pockets and packs. We were walking bombs and knew that. One morning I sat down to clean mine and had just cleared the chamber and was holding the round in my hand when a boobytrap went off that wounded me in the back. The pressure was immense, and the first thought that went through my mind was that an M-79 round had hit me. I'd seen what one could do to the human body, so my second thought was that I must be dead from a hole in my back that big. Terry


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