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My Battle on Okinawa

Story ID:6899
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Poem
Location:Hemet CA. USA
Year:1940
Person:Wind Blown Chelsea Kansas Kid
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My Battle on Okinawa

My Battle on Okinawa
September-“46”
(War was just over)

The “Milford Victory” the infamous ship
On which I crossed the Pacific
31 days later, from Washington State, we arrived
Food was bad, but the trip was terrific.

Two and a half meals a day
Left me very thin
I was in great shape
For the shape I was in.

Tossed our duffel bags
Over the rail
To the small boats below
Down the cargo net we did bail.

Later on the dock
At last dry land for me
I had trouble standing
My legs were still at sea.

We were trucked through “Naha”
The capital city of Okinawa we went
On to the 25th Repple Depple
To our new home a 24-man tent.

The tent smelled of Creosote
The cots were wood and canvas
My gosh Monte
This is nothing like Kansas.

Through “Happy Valley” I did venture
“Chocolate Drop” was in sight with all its tunnels and caves
I saw many knocked out US tanks
Manned by our soldiers so brave.


Been there a couple days
Doing KP
When one morning we were told
To draw our rations “C”.

Knock down your tents
Tie the ropes mighty tight
Drive those stakes into the ground
You will be staying up in the hills tonight.

A hundred tents
Disappeared onto the ground
Looked like a land of waste
We headed up into the hills
There to await our fate.

With several others I settled down
Behind a giant rock
A gentle breeze was blowing
In the morning about nine-o-clock.

An old timer told us
To rest an set at ease
The wind will pick up
And you’ll pray for it to cease.

By three o’clock this gentle breeze
Had turned into a gale
Rain coming down in sheets
To repel the onslaught, our raincoats did fail.

Were soaked through and through
The wind had gained some more speed
Man O Man for a cup of hot coffee
I had a fantastic need.

As I sat wet and cold
With others behind this great rock, our tomb
I spotted a tripwire
Could be hooked up to a bomb.

I alerted the Sgt.
He told others about the wire
Keep your eyes open
Even though you aren’t under fire.

Later in the afternoon
It got so very still
Wind and rain stopped
I started down the hill.

The Sgt. Said where you goin
To the tent I replied
Better wait a while
We’re in the Typhoon’s eye.

Suddenly the wind and rain
Increased its velocity
Came from the opposite direction
With, as before, the same ferocity.

Now we went to other side of the rock
Were sick and tired
Of wind and rain
Dry clothes were much desired.

About nine-o’clock that night
On hands and knees we were scooting
Down the hill to the messhall
With the thoughts of looting.

The walls of the messhall
Were mostly made of screen
The wind blowing through them
Made an eerie scream.

“C” rations were passed out to us
Which were gobbled up so quick.
Used the cardboard boxes for coffee
Which was cold and thick.

Drinking cold coffee out of a cardboard box
At this stage of the storm was fine
Couldn’t have tasted any better
Than sipping vintage wine.

Suddenly we heard a cracking sound
Under the tables we went
Half of the mess hall roof tore off
And on the ground was sent.

I laid my head upon the wet table
In my folded arms
And promptly went to sleep
Oblivious to any harm.

I awoke in the AM early
To the kitchen sounds of pots and pans
And just a gentle breeze was blowing
On this far off Pacific Land.

We finally found our tent number
In a puddle of water it lay
Holes in the canvas were worn
The whipping wind did play.

We stood the tent upright
Rolled up the sides for air
Our cots were wet and muddy
Lets see how our duffel bags did fare.

Everything was wet inside
Except Mom’s 116 Kodak
Lucky for me
I wrapped it in a plastic sack.

Every one wanted to write home
About the big Typhoon, “Barbara” was its name
All the paper in the “25” Repple Depple
Was wet, the storm was to blame.

This was my battle
On Okinawa Island, In this foreign sea
I’m just a Kansas farmer’s son
Why did this have to happen to me?

The next day as I feared
I “volunteered” for a detail
We left in a truck, for Naha
What could this detail entail?

Navy boats high upon the shore
As we went along I could see
High and dry, on their sides they lay.
Several yards from the sea.

The truck stopped by a warehouse
We loaded Japanese Sake by the cases
We rode back to the “25”Th.
To the PX on the base.

On the way back the Sake we did sample
Hot but we didn’t care at all
It was very potent stuff
The second load we had a ball.

I don’t remember the last load
I woke up in the next day
Fully clothed but with my head
Hurting badly as on the bed I lay.

My first experience with Japanese rice wine
I was such a goon
This was back in the forties
The day after the Big Typhoon.

Monte Manka 06-29-2006

The Mess Hall is to the right of "25 Repple Depple" tent city on Okinawa