2nd Platoon, what can I say about 2nd Platoon....other than word from up high (also known as Battalion Headquarters) was that I was PCSing from Korea to a base stateside. Typically a list of soldiers being transferred would come out on a RIP, and then the Senior NCOs would take a look at the names and see if anyone knew or had heard of the guys on the list.
Turns out a medic in my new unit had been in Korea with me and had head about the Turkey Farm incident.
The Turkey Farm (2nd Market area, used to be by the bus station) was off limits to U.S. Personnel, the official reason was public health issues, but that is where Korean prostitutes/bar girls displayed themselves in windows for potential customers (the customers were mostly ROK soldiers and of course the KATUSAs. Gambling, drinking, eating and of course hookers all located in a small fenced off area. A place where round eyes were not welcome and would usually end up beat half to death, tossed in the open sewer pit, buck naked I might add and of course robbed.
What I think is that is it was because the Koreans didn’t want GIs messing with their bar gilrs/ prostitutes, just like we did not want ROKs and Katusas messing with "our bar girls/prostitutes. Also I think ours were U.S. Government inspected and theirs were not.
Now the ROK Ranger course that I managed to be to stupid to quit was shall we say rough. Beyond rough and the Army did not have any U.S. Soldiers/insturctors/safety personnel there to watch out for issues. Issues like live fire towards the students, lack of safety stops on the zip line over the lake, and a host of other things.
On our last march through Hades (I was hallucinating and still believe I actually met Hels and she seemed like a nice girl) a ROK soldier twisted his ankle, so I shed my Ruck and tossed it to Padilla, then fireman carried the ROK guy to the finish line. I did have to get hime to shed his ruck to and passed it on to another soldier.
Anyway, I earned my patch and went to the DMZ. I was supposed to go to ROK Ranger B company 1/17th Infantry in Camp Casey Dongducheon (known to all GIs as TDC) I am very proud to have earned the dagger and chain ROK Ranger patch.
However the ROK Command Sergeant Major had a hard on for us, so he would not pin our badges on until we finished one last test.
He loaded us up in our ODs and took us to the TDC Turkey Farm on a Freaking KATUSA/ROK payday and told us if we wanted our patches they were pinned to the tent wall of a tent he pointed out on a hand drawn map in the middle of the Turkey Farm.
If we brought our pins back he would pin us. Just like the U.S. Military did, when it was less PC. Blood Pinning was the only acceptable way to get any pin.
I was lucky the ROK soldier had heard what was going to happen (only the 7 American soldiers were to go in to retrieve their pins) and he had told me about it. Basically the ROK Command Sergeatn Major wanted us to get our asses handed to us.
I had found a really nice tire iron, I do not know what type of military vehicle it came from, but the head was about the size of a pool ball with a slight angle and the a four foot shaft with a pry bar at the end.
Since no one was using it at the time, and like the USMC says :Gear adrift is a gift", and away I went. I told the other guys but only Padilla believed me and he found a piece of rebar and five or six feet long and some tap to wrap up it up a bit.
We made it in, but had to fight our way out of the bar, Pins in our pockets and the only thing that saved us was we were a eager to commit extreme acts of violence on the ROKs and Korean civilians who for the most part only had two by twos. Although Padilla did stick a few with a philips head screw driver and I managed to pick up a nice two pound ball peen hammer as well.
While we had the snot kicked out of us, we made it out way better than the other round eyes and the ROKs and Civs looked a whole lot worse than we did. The part I liked the best is as bad as we got it we made them pay in blood, as well as broken bones. Saw a slew of ROKs hobbling around with knee surgery and broken arms as well. Not to mention the facial injuries.
The ROK Command Sergeant Major was not happy, I guess he thought it was going to be a real nice butt stomping. We got the stomping and the ROKs got their laugh. While it didn't turn out that way, it was an ugly fight. Especially after they got mad and then we pressed on. We were not walking out of there, without a trip to the ICU, so we sent as many of them ahead of us so we would have some company when/if we ended up there.
I made the ROK Command Sergeant Major blood Pin my ROK Ranger Badge to my chest, Padilla just had an instructor do it. The other guys lost their badges so they were not pinned. Still they passed and have the certificate but I'm old school and want my badges blood pinned.
I kept the tire iron and the ball peen hammer, frankly that hammer was a nice weapon and I still have it and the tire iron hanging on the workshop wall. They have served me well over the years.
So anyway, Padilla starts spreading the word about how crazy I am, how I fought my way into the Turkey Farm, with nothing but a tire iron and ball peen hammer, just to get blood pinned. I somehow managed to acquire a pocket knife, it was sticking out below my shoulder blade and since I could not reach it or do anything about it I just left it and pressed harder to make the edge of the Farm.
I love Billy like a brother, but that rat bastard conveniently left off the part that he had my six as we both fought our way out. Not in, like the Admiral says...."It's a Trap" and it was.
So here I am expecting to just slide in nice an quiet, cause no issues and just drop my gear bag in my room, jump on my bike and ride to Maxwell-Gunther Air Force Base in Montgomery to see Lil who had left the PI for her Conus assignment.
My motorcycle was parked up close to the barracks in the designated area, my bags were in my room, my go bag was ready to be slung and I was ready to jump on my bike and go. We had a 72 hour and I had a room at the Maxwell-Gunther TLF.
Well the Platoon Sergeant wanted to have a quick meeting, once again we had a shortage of NCO's, our platoon sergeant was an E-6 and we had n E-5 Section Sergeant and I was taking 2nd section (supposed to be 15 men but we only had 10)as an E-4 Corporal.
It was an informal platoon meeting near the barracks, when I noticed that some dill weed was sitting on my bike. I didn't say a word, I ran over there and did a flying leap feet first. Wilkins looked up just as I hit him and we both went over the bike, which then fell on top of us. Then I pulled out my Korean tire iron and started popping him with it. I had it stuck through my frame and always carried it and still do to this day.
I remember hearing someone say "Oh Shit" when I went running towards my bike and then I heard some other shall we say words not used in mixed company as I popped Wilkins with the tire iron.
After I popped him several times, I got up and looked around (still holding the now bloody tire iron) and told the platoon that I don't like people touching my stuff and I especially hate it when people sit on my bike. I told them I don't ask to have sex with your wife, so don't ask to sit on my bike.
Padilla looked around and said, I told you he was crazy as heck and to never mess with his stuff, especially his bike and his Air Force girlfriend.
I didn't hear what was said next, but I heard Padilla say in a loud voice, No I don't know how his crazy a$$ got a girlfriend, but if he will beat the living crap out of you for sitting on his bike, what to do think he will do if you mess with his girlfriend. Then the rat bastard laughed and said besides, she is way worse than him. He's calmed way down since she assumed operational command.
I broke Wilkins nose, and blacked and eye as well as cracked a rib or two, so he ended up on a profile. Story was he was sitting on my bike and fell off. First sergeant and the Company XO came out and saw him laying on the ground with my bike laying on top of him.
While I was gone, we bumped into a lot of old soldiers here and there and they all said that the Army was wild as heck and uncivilized back in the 60's, 70's and even into the 80's. But then they changed to a more civilized service or at least they tried. They did not care what we did as long as we showed up for morning formation and did not fall out of PT.
I even met a guy that was in the 3RD ACR during the time I was there........and before anyone asks, no I did not tell him what my name was. It went something like this. He walked up and said, Hi, my name is Joe. I said Pete and we had a good talk and a lot of laughs.
Good times, with some good people and some mental cases.
“Complacency kills. Paranoia is the reason I’m still alive.” If we do happen to make contact, I expect nothing less than gratuitous violence from the lot of ya.