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Things they carried to war . . .   (anon)

They carried..........P-38 can openers and C-Rations, watches and dog tags,  gum, Lucky Strike cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress bandages, pup-tent halves, a box of English Swann Matches, two or three canteens of water, iodine tablets,  and  more C-rations stuffed in socks. They carried standard field packs, leggings, commando knives, field jackets and steel pots, and foreign currency. They carried the dreams of Farms and Ranches, big cities, and bright lights, and educations. They carried M-1 Garands. Tommy Guns, and Browning Assault Rifles, bayonets, Bazookas and ammunition,  .45 caliber pistols, They carried the sound of bullets, mortars, Stuka attacks, the sound of laughter, and death, They carried the sounds of the Pearl Harbor radio announcements in their heads, and the sounds of Japanese planes and bombers, and sometimes they carried the sound of silence. They carried the swing sound of Glenn Miller, They carried the memories of perfume and soft hair, and ignored the smell of many men. They carried explosives, an assortment of hand grenades, Tube Type Radio Equipment, and the barks of hardened Sargeants. They carried 'Dear John' Letters, and baby announcements. They carried equipment on Army Mules over mountain passes. Some carried bombs to strike at the heart of the enemy homeland, some risked their lives to rescue others and flew in un-armed spotter planes, Some carried bombers and their crews  into harms way knowing hundreds of them would not come home that evening, Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death and damage. Some made very hard decisions, and some just tried to survive. They carried their head high in POW camps and strutted like kings when they were marched through enemy cities. They carried malaria, dysentery, ringworm's, and leaches, malnutrition and guilt. They carried the land itself as it hardened on their boots. They carried sand in their craw, They carried the cherished memories of Mothers and Fathers, Dear, They carried stationery,  pencils,  and pictures of their loved ones - real and imagined, they carried treasured copies of the Stars & Stripes and copies of Willie & Joe Cartoons, They carried cards, dice, and Bibles, They carried their weapons and ammunition above their heads as they landed on foreign beach-heads they never heard of before.  They carried the dead, the dying and the wounded. They carried the burden of a dying man's last request.  They carried love for people in the real world, and love for one another and an Unwavering Love of Country. And sometimes they disguised that love: "Don't mean nothin'!" They carried memories! For the most part, they carried themselves with poise and a kind of dignity. They carried the sounds of taps sounding over yonder fields of green. Now and then, there were times when panic set in, and people squealed, or wanted to, but couldn't; when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said "Dear God", and hugged the earth and fired their weapons blindly, and cringed and begged for the noise to stop, and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and God and their parents, hoping not to die. They carried themselves in blind rushes at the enemy, never knowing if it was out of fear or bravery, They carried medals and combat badges and unit patches, not for themselves but for those who died earning those medals, They carried humility and honesty and hope.  They carried the name of their mothers on their dying lips,  They carried the traditions of the United States Military, and memories and images of those who served before them. They carried souvenirs and captured pictures. They carried grief, terror, longing, and their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear:  the embarrassment of dishonor.  They climbed the mountains of Europe,  walked point, and advanced under fire,  so as not to die of embarrassment.  They carried the flag to the top of distant mountains in Pacific waters to rally their fellow man and to declare victory. They carried the secrets of war, Navajo Code Talkers, and Atomic Bombs,  They held impossible positions under constant enemy fire, frontal assault and mortars starved, cold and hungry they succeeded against overwhelming odds. They were afraid of dying, but too afraid to show it. They carried the emotional baggage of men knowing they might die at any moment. They carried the weight of the world, and the weight of every free citizen of America...


The Drop Zone has the best Photo-Archives of Darby's Rangers on line:
      Patrick K. O' Donnell author of BEYOND VALOR presents:
The Darby's Rangers Story in Pictures
       The Drop-Zone and: Photos By Outstanding World War II Photographer Phil Stern
" Many Thanks to all the families and friends of Darby's Rangers! "