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Solitary Vigilance –Chapter Sneak Peaks

Sneak Peak 1

My brain simply could not comprehend what I saw right in front of me. Everything was happening so fast. Ships were bombarded; sailors were being knocked off ship decks and falling into the water. The water offered no relief however, as it caught fire from all of the leaking fuel and oil that gushed from the gaping holes in the anchored ships. I finally managed to get close to the USS Oklahoma, but it had taken on too much water and started to roll on its side. Japanese planes filled the sky. I ran up to a two-ton Army truck that had pulled up next to the docks and found some rifle boxes in the back. I broke one open, grabbed a 1903 Springfield rifle, an ammo box and positioned myself near a large palm tree. I loaded the rifle and scanned the air for any low-flying Japanese planes. I did not have to wait long. A green colored, Japanese Zero fighter plane, flew by so low that I could see the pilot’s face and the brightly colored bandana tied around his head. I squeezed off every round in the rifle, firing in the direction of the pilot’s cockpit. I saw the pilot’s cockpit window splinter and blood splatter fill the canopy as the Japanese pilot’s head slumped forward. His plane suddenly took a hard turn to the right and crashed into the water, barely missing a destroyer anchored nearby. Sailors on the deck of the destroyer raised their arms in celebration and shouted in my direction. I felt no regret for killing the Japanese pilot. This is what I was trained to do. 


Sneak Peak 2


Major McCoy chambered another round into the bazooka. I felt it slam into position and I fired again, this time hitting the rear smokestack, blowing it in half. The last bazooka round was inserted by Major McCoy. I fired this one in the direction of the second smokestack but missed, firing too high. I was not done yet. I threw the bazooka down and jumped to my feet. I ran to the USS Spearfish’s 40mm deck gun, screaming for rounds to be passed up to me from down below. I rapidly prepared the deck gun for firing and three sailors quickly delivered the 40mm rounds. I slammed the first five rounds into the 40mm gun’s clip and chambered the first round. I swung the gun in the direction of the stricken destroyer. Although it was dark, the moon provided all the illumination I needed. 


Sneak Peak 3


The simple fact that the Japs had seen the plane and fired upon it, they could probably see my large white parachute descending to the ground. My ears were affected by the concussion of the blast, but my eyes were fine. I caught a flash of light, followed by an explosion, out in front of me. The illumination from the explosion revealed Tom and his plane. The tail of the plane was gone and the plane was banking hard to the left, plummeting rapidly toward the jungle floor. Tom evidently had not been able to clear the island before being hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire. The descent of Tom’s plane outpaced mine; I had a front-row seat to the horrific event. The plane hit the tree line and skirted the tops of the palm trees before disappearing into the jungle below. I waited for an explosion but never saw one. 


Sneak Peak 4


Driving through the first phase of Auschwitz, I saw hundreds of prisoners wearing gray and white striped uniforms with a yellow star sewn on the left side of the shirt. There was snow everywhere and none of prisoners wore coats. There were mostly men, but I saw a few women and young boys, also. The car passed over the train tracks used to roll in the trains filled with the next batch of prisoners. In fact, off to my far left I saw a train that had recently arrived and was still pumping out smoke from its coal-burning engine. I saw the Jews unloading off the train’s cars. A long line had formed and camp personnel were splitting the newly arrived Jews into two lines. Some directed left, while others right. Families divided, women and children were screaming. 

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