by OPOVV, ©2019
Looking back on it, it had to be. I mean, really now, you couldn’t have written it any better than it turned out. As I was disposing of a couple of attackers, I distinctly remember that Marine Gunny saying, ‘Bleed in training and not in battle,’ and here I was, looking down upon my two attackers with not a scratch on me except for my left forearm sliced open, but I’d rather trade a slice of forearm over a slice of throat any day of the week.
I was wearing my Navy Good Humor outfit (whites), so I tied my handkerchief around my arm and continued to my hotel, and wasn’t there a commotion when I walked into the lobby and went to the front desk to ask for my key. The lobby of the Hong Kong Hilton is rather spacious, but I pretended that nothing was amiss with the attitude that it was completely normal for a Navy sailor to by covered in blood. And I must give credit to the desk clerk who didn’t bat an eye when I ask for a sewing kit to be sent to my room, along with a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label. No, not to drink: for medicinal purposes only.
You see, I’m part Cherokee, and I learned early on in life that firewater was not for me. I used the whole bottle on the wound while I sewed myself up, and I must say that I did a decent job, no worse than if a corpsman did me with bullets flying by or mortar rounds dropping in. I made a note to thank the desk clerk the next time I saw him for the gauze, scissors and the tape.
I shared that little story with you because when I tan a certain tone, the scar is quite visible – turns white, and today I noticed it, which made me think about a Bowie Knife pressed against my throat and how adrenaline and training kicked in at the speed of light. That’s right, the speed that it took my brain to send electrical impulses to my muscles to perform a ‘muscle memory exercise’: Gunny attacks from behind and I put him down, which just happened to be half of my graduation exercise. The other half was when he came directly at me and I put him down. Oh, did I mention he had a real knife, a real sharp knife?
It all started – my Judo training – when I was waiting for a ride to the Philippines, sitting in the Yokohama mess hall, reading the Stars and Stripes, wasting the day away, when this Gunny walks up and says, “Son, you can languish or I can teach you how to survive.” So I said, ‘Why not?’ and my training started right then and there. We went outside and he takes me to a Quonset hut that was empty except for a few pallets of C-Rats that were dated 1952.
So a couple of months later I was ambushed as I left our embassy in Hong Kong, and I thought of that Marine Gunny who took me under his wing and saved my life: a selfless act that just happened out of the blue.
And that’s all I got to say about that, except you never know what’s next and it’s good to prepare, even if you don’t know what you’re preparing for. I carry a gun; I’ve been armed since I was discharged from the service and I never had to use it, but I’m prepared and so are my loved ones. You should be, too. Self-defense starts with taking the responsibility for your own survival.
“Ain’t No Sunshine” (3:32)