I heard the call, “Corpsman,” and I came rushing to the aid of the stricken Lance Corporal.
He was shot through the calf of his right leg as he worked to deepen the fighting hole we now found ourselves huddled in. Also in the hole, which was more of a trench, was a Corporal.
The Corporal was busy with his entrenching tool digging out the red earth in order to have more cover in the event of an attack. The Lance Corporal had been standing atop the dirt the two had excised from the ground when he was hit.
The wound was through-and-through. I was jus’ finishing packing the bullet-hole and wrapping a length of gauze around his calf when a shadow quickly passed over my head. Without warning a man with a machete’ was standing over the Corporal hacking at him.
The Corporal immediate started defending himself, using the entrenching tool. He was losing the fight as the attacker swung the sharp sword-like weapon down on the Marine.
Without a word, I grabbed the Lance Corporal’s entrenching tool and swung it like a club at the man’s head. It sliced though the top of his skull and he dropped right where he stood.
I quickly looked the Corporal over for injuries and though his entrenching tool was severely bent and his flak-vest was sliced open, he had no wounds to show for his troubles.
Then together, we lifted the now-dead attacker up and tossed his limp body over the dirt berm of the fighting hole. I returned to the wounded Lance Corporal and the Corporal returned to removing more dirt from the trench.
And though we would occasionally run into each other at chow or at religious services, we neither one ever spoke of that day and the events that occurred in the half-completed fighting hole.