Charles J. Ingerson

ACTS OF CLASS

Photo ©Copyright 2012 by Charles J. Ingerson
Photo ©Copyright 2012 by Charles J. Ingerson
Dirty, smelly and gruesome
war is seldom very pretty
most often more like hell
floundering within death
the mind left out of breath
leaving memories in a shell
moments without any pity
awaiting the terror to come;

Yet every now and then seen
acts of class and not death
wherein lives are sparred
someone thinking first
instead of a bloody thirst
moments usually not shared
exhaling collective breath
understandings to glean!


Author’s Note: OK, here is the story. Think it was about December of 65, was driving a M-151through Santo Domingo in D.R. Heard machine-gun and M-16 fire in front of me on the MSR. Slowed down, heard small arms fire again, closer. I backed into a side street close to a big stone walled building, stopped, turned on the radio on the frequency for the MPs. Got call from a guy in sandbag corner road site, that he had received incoming fro the machine gun on a tank, which had continued in my direction. He asked for help.

I backed up a bit more, and left jeep running. Answer was they were sending in a tank. We rarely sent tanks in there, as the streets were so narrow they had to crawl and were forced to go over cars parked on the street. When I heard the M-60 tank coming, I pulled closer to the main road, watched our tank coming slowly.

There was a butter bar in the turret, looking young and serious. Got out to watch. A little tank turned the corner from the other direction. The DR army had some little tanks they had purchased surplus years before. If memory serves, they were Swedish model 1928s. Main gun was about a one-inch bore (my thumb would plug the bore). Suddenly I was watching a mismatched contest, a 48 ton M-60 was headed straight at a roughly 5 ton box with tracks and a main gun that might have chipped the paint enough to require a can of spray paint.

About that same time the fellows in the little Swede noticed they had a problem. They stopped, threw it into reverse and backed up with it floored. Sadly, for them, they backed Ito a telephone pole, barely bending it. The tracks, which had few rubber pads on them, were throwing sparks from the paving stones. The TC did not even get down into the turret. The big boys just went straight for the little tank. No shots were fired. The big M-60 pulled right up to the toy, put that slopped front right over the front of the Swede bending the little main gun barrel up. Fight was over.

The Lt. Took his .45 out of the tanker holster, climbed out, jumped down on the little fellow, tapped on the hatch with his .45 and opened it waving the crew out. They climbed out unarmed, put their hand on their heads and gave up.

I thought the shave-tail had class. It would have been easy to fire one round from the main gun and blow the toy into small pieces or drive right over it and crush the men inside, but he took them out without a shot. I wrote a suggestion to his CO that he be awarded a medal, but was told it was not an act of courage to capture a tank that way.

Maybe not courageous, but it was classy. I think he should have gotten something on his chest. I hope he made full bull.