Hi! I'm Lieutenant Troy McClure.
You may remember me from such wartime epics as "Timmy the Talking Tiger Tank" and "Neville Chamberlain – the Heroin Years". But you know, shooting Nazis and saving western civilisation isn't all fun and hoopla. Oh no, I remember a time when a few crazy guys with a hankerin' for justice and a kitbag full of nude Betty Grable photos found ourselves in one whole heap of trouble.
The date was June 1944; the place – France, England near Paris; the time - wuppin' time for Jerry. We'd had a bellyful of Herr Hitler and his twisted doubletalk and we reckoned we were goin' to put things straight once and for all. As part of Howell Force we had come ashore through the hell of Utah beach. Colonel Edson D Raff, affectionately known to us men as Colonel Raff or Colonel or just plain Sir, had given us a job to do. That job was to secure Landing Zone "W" for our wacky glider boys; it turned out to be a job we would never forget.
My Sergeant was pug faced, ex-bartender and pole dancer by the name of Moe Szyslak. Helping out our European friends lay kinda heavy with a man who'd once mistakenly bought a Johnny Halliday LP at a yard sale in Pittsburgh. "Jeez Lootenant" he would say to me. "I can't believe we're bustin' our guts for these cheese-eatin' surrender monkeys." "Justice recognises no borders in this Soldier's book, Sergeant" I replied and lit up a Laramie cigarette. I knew that if our purpose was as pure and as true as that rich tobacco flavour we would inevitably triumph.
I took up point on the Recon platoon in one of our three Greyhounds. Six Jeeps followed on, three with MMG's and three with 60mm mortars. Two Shermans backed us up and a platoon of GI's under one Lieutenant Robert Terwilliger covered our right flank. Terwilliger was a bookish type with a curl of disdain forever on his over-educated lip. Whether he hailed from Harvard or Yale I don't recall but what I do remember is what he looked like. A nose as sharp as an ice pick, hair as wild as a communist's wardrobe and, as we later discovered, a yellow streak down his back as broad as the Mississippi. We were expecting trouble and trouble lay just up ahead in the corner of a field of rutabagas.
An 88mm AT started poppin' firecrackers at the Shermans and then at us in Recon. One of our Greyhounds was hit and hit bad. I'll never forget the screams of those poor guys. As you can guess, that made me madder than a Democrat without a deficit and leaving our mortar boys to deploy on the safe side of the hedge I led the rest of us lickety-split towards the 88. When we got within spittin' distance they threw up their hands and we discovered that they weren't Germans at all, they were Georgians! "Dirty Rebels" screamed Sgt. Moe and squeezed the trigger of his MMG. We all joined in and after what seemed like an eternity the last of them fell.
We pumped round after round into their mangled twitching corpses until the bullet cases piled high like gory molehills of death – how we laughed. Then suddenly out of the sky came a glorious sight, a sight to gladden the heart of every American patriot. The first wave of three Waco gliders landed right on the button in that very same field and Lieutenants Wiggum C. and Skinner S., whoopin' and a-hollerin', disembarked with three sections of brave GI's. But how-de-do's would have to wait, for as the Laramies were passed around (Ah, that smooth, smooth taste) we heard a whole load o' shootin' in the middle distance. Things had turned out bad for Platoon One.
The Shermans had gone off in support of Terwilliger's men who were being picked off by a dirty no-good kraut sniper. The infantry pushed on up by the hedges as best they could until they came to a broad open hayfield. I guess it would've looked just about perfect to a glider pilot a couple o' hundred feet up. As their Lieutenant cried, "Onward, you fellows!" the leading two sections pushed through the hedgerow and raced into the open ground – and into eternal glory.
For it was then that an entire platoon of German Georgians (or Georgian Germans – I never could work it out) and their machine gun squad opened up, wiping out one of our sections to the very last man. Well, not quite the last, for that dog Terwilliger had not followed his men across the hedge and lay cowering behind a briar patch as the brave boys who had put their trust in him were falling and dying in that bloody hayfield. And if that wasn't enough, cruel Fate was to deal one more Dead Man's Hand. Those cookie flyboys in the second wave must have spotted that self same field and dropped their Birds right into that pit of hell, that maelstrom of slaughter.
Oh, the humanity!
Two gliders landed almost on top of the enemy, another across to the left, few of the occupants would survive. Some of the more unfortunate were not killed but led away as prisoners. What torments would they have to suffer? What anguishes would they endure? What kind of unspeakable foreign food would they be forced to eat? I try not to think about it - even now. But we had no time to grieve, for there was God's killing to be done and righteous vengeance to be taken. I don't remember much more about that terrible day. Seymour Skinner bought it in the final assault and Terwilliger was strechered back to HQ with both of his arms and legs broken in several places after Sgt. Szyslak's jeep had accidentally backed over him several times.
We had fulfilled our mission, but at what cost? To calm my nerves I lit another Laramie cigarette and as the finest Virginia leaf worked its mellow magic I thought about what a crazy mixed up world we live in. Those old, old questions still gnawed at me. When would we finally live in peace and harmony as the Lord God intended? How could truth and justice conquer such evil and villainy? Did we really have to continue with this senseless slaughter of our fellow man?
Yup, we did and the 82nd Airborne were just the guys to do it.
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