"MY FIRST COMBAT PATROL "
_________________
Don Abbott*

 

 

 

*Don Abbott 

to John Lindgren

12 Aug 2001

 

I don't know if I have ever mentioned this little experience at Nadzab. As you know I was a young Second Lieutenant, Assistant Platoon Leader at Nadzab. Assistant Platoon leaders really had only one job: stay alive and take over the Platoon when the First Lieutenant Platoon Leader is killed.

For some reason, however, I was tagged to take a six-man detail on a patrol to the North and West of the Regimental perimeter. After patrolling to a small native village, which showed on aerial photos, we were to set up as a listening post and outpost to warn against an enemy encroachment from that quarter. The patrol reached the small (only a half-dozen, or so, huts) village we found it had been abandoned in a hurry as the natives heard us coming.

The natives never did return during our day, or so, occupation. At least the huts got us out of the nightly rainstorms even if they were very dirty. Oddly enough there were interesting wood carvings left behind which showed they had some artistic skills. If we had not been loaded down with equipment I might have carried some of them with me. This small village had a substantial (several acre) plantation of what looked like banana trees. We very carefully checked ever tree, however, and never saw anything looking like a banana. We understood banana stems needed to be cut green and ripened by hanging the stem but that would have taken days we didn't expect to have. Since that experience I learned of Plantains, which look like green bananas but never get to a yellow stage. I, now, believe this was just a large Plantain plantation.

In addition to setting up the outpost for the Regiment, I placed two men at a time on an outpost designed to alert us if a Jap patrol came along our track to the front. We never caught sight of as single Jap but, since that was our first combat patrol I was scared to death all the time we were out there that we would be attacked and wiped out.

After a couple of days we received word we were being withdrawn and flown back to Port Moresby. We could not have been happier. When we got back to "E" Company, I learned that Lindsay Milikin had been badly wounded when one of our nightly grenade booby trap had been tripped by him and set off. I managed to visit Milly in the small hospital which had been set up. He seemed in fair shape to me but he died only a short time later.

It seems that the reason for having an assistant platoon leader was justified since I took over the platoon for the months that followed, including Noemfoor. And a great platoon it was!

Don

 

BOOZE AND BOOTY | THE TRUCK | THE CORREGIDOR BRASS TURKEY SHOOT | FT MILLS PLAQUE | BOB HOPE AT NOEMFOOR | NO SUICIDE CLIFF | 'DOC' BRADFORD | MYSTERIOUS WAYS | MY FIRST COMBAT PATROL | THE DEATH OF BENNY SLOWE | MIRACLE AT NOEMFOOR | THE DEATH OF KARSTEN HALL | SONGS & SLOGANS |WATER, WATER NOWHERE | NO SMOKING! | BRONZE STAR AT BANZAI POINT | ON THE BEACH AT CORREGIDOR | REUNION GOSSIP 1949  |  CORREGIDOR WHISKEY

 

 

 

         

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