As He’d Never Run Before

He ran as he’d never run before, with neither hope nor despair. He ran because the world was divided into opposites and his side had already been chosen for him, his only choice being whether or not to play his part with heart and courage. He ran because fate had placed him in a position of responsibility and he had accepted the burden. He ran because his self-respect required it. He ran because he loved his friends and this was the only thing he could do to end the madness that was killing and maiming them.
–Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn

Capture of Fort Riviere, Haiti, 1915, by Donna J. Neary; illustrations of three Medal of Honor recipients- (left to right) Sergeant Ross Iams, Major Smedley Butler, and Private Samuel Gross
Capture of Fort Riviere, Haiti, 1915, by Donna J. Neary; illustrations of three Medal of Honor recipients- (left to right) Sergeant Ross Iams, Major Smedley Butler, and Private Samuel Gross.

2 thoughts on “As He’d Never Run Before”

  1. The silence is deafening as we move through the night
    Stealthily forward to the inevitable fight.
    No turning back over cold open ground
    Full contact head on (where the enemy is found)
    Hoping our shots will find their mark
    That they will panic and miss in the dark…

    A star shell screams; night changes to day
    Quickly we charge straight to the affray
    The air, now thick, with screams and brass lead
    Heaven and Hell open for the dying and dead…

    Bayonets are fixed and we’re into them now,
    Parry and thrust with deadly know how
    The brightest of eyes, now closing, grow dimmer
    The scene so violent, so bloody, gets grimmer

    Onwards and forwards; (bursts spraying around)
    Men are now falling not making a sound
    The tang of copper is the stench of death
    From those on the ground not drawing breath
    Bodies unwashed now splashed with blood,
    Lie on the ground face down in the mud

    Sweep through the positions as dawn light breaks
    Several hours, (not minutes)? My whole body shakes…

    Quickly re-group; move on further away
    Enemy shells will be coming, soon, this day
    Move off with the wounded as quick as we can
    Treat foe as equals, down to each man

    The shells drop in, with vengeance so clear
    On the fought over ground that cost them so dear
    Shredding the dead who care no more
    Heaven & Hell have now closed their door.

    This afternoon I read up on the Capture of Fort Riviera and the USMC Medal of Honor recipients. Fine men; Forever Faithful in the tradition of the USMC.

    (I do not detract away from their brave exploits in what follows. It is simply my own humble opinion over past matters concerning my own involvement).

    Hand to hand combat is not a glorious thing; it is some thing that has to be done at a time when necessity deems it so. Fiction glorifies it so often afterwards, just as politicians and military historians crow over such exploits from their armchairs and offices; from the safety of home.

    Those who have experienced it have done so ‘in the arena’ for the benefit of their brothers in arms as well as their countrymen; also in the hope that their political elite has made the correct decision in going to war in the first place.

    The Falkland Island conflict was a war between two Christian nations; each side fought as ferociously as the other, yet after each battle the loser was treated with mercy, dignity, compassion, and kindness.
    (Not so for the Argentineans who used their white flag to draw in and fire at a patrol; they paid the ultimate penalty for their treachery).

    It was fought without night vision sights (on our side at least); or laser guided munitions, helo gunships or fast jet support. The fight from the landings through to the surrender was done on foot, over 100 miles of boggy mountainous treacherous ‘rock run’ strewn countryside, in Arctic conditions with rations in short supply.
    (Food and ‘re-supply boots’ were taken from the Argentine dead).

    There was no chance of a flight home for the wounded, they were facilitated through ‘Doc Jolly’s Red & Green Life Machine nor was there any way we were going to be defeated.,d.ZG4

    Just as the Argentines had the French as their ‘secret’ backers, we also had the same facility granted through the special relationship between Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher & President Ronald Regan and the USofA (a fact unknown at the time).

    It is some thing I will always be eternally grateful for.

    At least the Argentinean’s benefitted from their defeat in the long run; in as much that they [the people] restored democracy to their country that was previously run by a brutal military/police dictatorship.

    Just my thoughts at 00:17 hrs Tue 18 Dec 2012

    Yours Aye.

    1. Good prose. I respect what you are your mates had to do in the Falklands. It was a tough situation. And Surgeon-Captain Richard Jolly is a true hero. Thanks for sharing his story, I was not aware of it before.

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