Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Death Among The Reeds"

"...There were at least two of the enemy still at large, but the firing had stopped and the enemy was not to be seen. Maybe they had fled the area. Sgt. Lanctot went into the canal to retrieve the enemy body and search for any evidence. The water was chest deep, and icy cold. Lanctot retrieved the enemy body and returned to the canal when he noticed a trail through the reeds.

In the matter-of-fact manner of a professional Marine, Sgt Lanctot told me, “I followed the trail, and, having left my weapon, ammo, and web gear on the berm, I pulled out my Columbia River Knife and Tool folder. I made my way along the canal and into the reeds. Suddenly one of the enemy popped up and grabbed my right arm.”

There, cut off from any possibility of help, Sgt. Heath Lanctot fought his enemy as men have done since the beginning of the human race, with hand weapons, to the death. The water was deep, the reeds were thick, the bottom of the canal slippery. Footing was unsure. During the course of the desperate, furious fight Sgt. Lanctot dispatched his enemy with two knife thrusts to the neck."

I've seen men pop out of a fighting hole and beat an enemy to death with their helmets. Others, back when we had a true battle rifle in the M14, take on Charlie through the wire with nothing more than butt strokes. 

But a good blade can be invaluable. Once upon a time my grandfather gave me a British commando style dirk. Right before I made my first trip over choppy seas.  The steel made from salvage taken from the USS Indianapolis. The ship that took the atom bomb to Guam. 6" blade and sharp enough to shave with.

Today, the thing would be priceless. But unfortunately I left it stuck inside something that needed sticking right before bailing from an over-exposed fighting hole.

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