Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wild Bill

When I got to Charleston, Bill had been there a couple of weeks getting the lay of the land. Bill was 6 or 7 years older than me and he was a highly decorated Vietnam Vet and he was also a Staff Sargent, most of the rest of us were Corporals and Lance Corporals. Bill was not a big man but he carried himself like he was. Almost all of the enlisted men were a little afraid of Bill but not me. You see Bill was from Greensboro Alabama a little town of about 2000 people on an even day and I was of course from Georgia. There did seem to be a lot of Yankees stationed there.
Bill and I hit it off the very first day I was there and we were great Buddy's the rest of the time I knew him up and until became a
deserter but that's a story for another day. Bill loved to hunt, fish and fight and not necessarily in that order. The second week I was there it was my turn to be Corporal of the Guard and the same day Bill was Sargent of the Guard both of us were just pushing paper and it was easy duty. The Sargent's desk sat up on a raised platform about 2 feet higher than the floor, from that desk you could see up and down 3 halls because you were at the top of a T, a hallway in front and to your left and to your right.

If I recall it was a warm day in Charleston and if you have ever been to Charleston in the Summer you know what I'm talking about. I was sitting at the Sargent's desk when Bill came down the hall and ask if I wanted a Coke and I said sure and tossed him a quarter, well this was the mid 70's. The Coke machine was on the parade deck which was behind me and down one flight of stairs up against the building. What happened next was my first indication that Bill may have some angry problems.

 The window behind me was open so I could hear everything going on outside. I heard Bill go down the stairs and I heard him put a quarter in the machine and I heard a drink come out, so far so good. Then the fun began, I heard another quarter go in, then nothing I heard Bill say "Come on you SOB" and he kicked the machine and at this point I think the machine kind of smiled at him. Bill started to rock the machine back and forth smashing it into the wall, still nothing from the machine. At this point I thought the machine had won until I heard something I could not believe I was hearing, Bill said I'll teach you, you Bastard then I heard very distinct sound of a round being cycled into an  Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911 and then there were 3 shots. I jumped up and ran downstairs along with about 30 other people and there was Bill, pistol still smoking and Coke spraying out on his feet. Bill had killed our Coke machine.

Well that cost Bill a stripe and a few hundred dollars to fix the Coke machine. He told me it felt good and he will do it again if he needed to.

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