anecdote submitted by Charles G. Pefinis (“PIF”)
87th Division 345 Regiment Company G
I volunteered for the Air Corp when
I first entered the service and wound up of all places
in Miami Beach , Florida !
I will never forget leaving Atlanta
, Georgia on a dreary cold December morning and arriving
14 hours later in gorgeous, verdant, warm Miami Beach !
We were “billeted” in the Tides
Hotel. The government took over many of the hotels on
Miami Beach and converted them into places where young
soldiers stayed during Air Corp basic training. It was a
terrific place to be while in the service!
Everything was going along fine
until we were assigned a new top Sergeant in charge of
our platoon. This guy was born an SOB. He epitomized the
DI type, very stern, never smiling, neat as the
perpetually shined “pin”. Our nickname for him was
Sergeant A.H. He knew it and could not care less.
He got so overbearing that the
under-the-breath muttered complaints began to get
discernible. Sgt. AH countered by saying in so many
four-letter words, “Tough S—t!”
Billy Peterson from Richmond ,
Virginia had had it. It seemed like Pete was a
designated victim from Sgt. AH practically ever week. So
one Saturday night when the Sgt. went out on one of his
nightly dates with us being confined to our rooms,
little Pete got even. He took a condom, put Jergens
lotion all in it and around it and hung it on the Sgt.’s
doorknob to his quarters. None of us knew this!
At about 2:00 in the morning one
miserable drizzly night in December ’44, the fire
alarm goes off. Suddenly we hear Clang! Clang!, Clang!,
Clang!, Clang! “Damn” we said, “The place is on
fire!” We all slept in our underwear. We grabbed our
raincoats – you guys remember those things, it was
like wearing cold linoleum. We rushed outside to the
street. Sgt. AH was waiting for us.
He barked out, “Line up and stand
at attention.” “What the hell is going on”, we all
thought. The sergeant held up the dripping condom and
screamed out, “What son – of - bitch did this?” We
didn’t know what he was talking about but it didn’t
take long before we figured it out. No one looked at
little Pete or figured he was the culprit.
Here it was drizzly, cold, and us in
those clammy, cold raincoats in our underwear shaking
with cold. The old Sarge kept screaming. No one said a
word. No one really knew who did it. After about 40
minutes with much ranting and raving we were dismissed
to go back to our beds literally shivering in our boots.
No one ever admitted doing it, but
we never saw Pete walking around with that hang - dog
look on his face any more. It had changed to a perpetual
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