Guys You Ain't Behind

MK note: The title for this page is the from one of the best lessons I learned in basic training: not to stand anywhere near the front OR back of a Recoilless Rifle when it is about to fire. The photo and information for this page came from Fred to Poe, who passed it along to me; the words are mine. MK.

This is the Recoilless Rifle Section of the Able Weapons Platoon.
It was taken at Camp Casey in early April of 1952.

John Cronley (back, 3rd from left)  -  Pvt Burns (back, 4th from left)
Pvt DeVirgeo (
back, 2nd from right)  -  Wendel Pryon (front, 1st on the left)
Blanke (
front, 2nd from left)  -  Pvt Barns (front, 3rd from right)
Pvt Wolf (f
ront, 2nd from right)  -  Bob Lambert (front, 1st on the right)
SSG Delgado (front, 4th from either end)

I didn't learn another lesson about Recoilless Rifles until I got to the Imjin. In Belize, I had a friend who reminded me of Recoilless Rifles because, as my youngest daughter once pointed out to me, he drew flies.

Well, I learned that Recoilless Rifles draw mortar and artillery fire because of their annoying trait of exhausting those huge balls of fire from their rear ends - balls of fire that can be seen, even in the daytime, at a distance of (a guess) about 800 miles. The crews that man those devilishly accurate weapons are trained to know that fact and to fire only one or two quick rounds and then move, with alacrity, to some other position; and, it didn't take me long to figure out what their hurry was.

Two or three of the guys in the photo may have been the group that, without being invited, brought their weapon right beside my machine gun bunker and acted like they were about to fire it at Nori, which was in Chinese hands that particular day.

After I politely inquired about whether or not that was their intent and they confirmed that indeed it was, I suggested (perhaps not as politely) that they find another location from whence to dispense their lethal fire. They looked at me as if I were somewhat daffy, which I may have been at the time, but did honor my request.

Since then, I have always admired the skill and discernment of RR men and have been heartily behind them - in a figurative sense, of course.

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