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Happy New Year - Chris Sarno Memoir

With the arrival of 1952 also came the arrival of a barrage of incoming artillery rounds that injured three members of the crew on D-31 during the first week of the new year. Since the tank was frozen into stationary position on the mountain top, the enemy knew the exact range of fire on which to inundate D-31 with artillery barrages. "We had a lot of barrages, Sarno recalled. "There was nothing we could do about it. Late in the day on 5 January 1952, a sudden gook barrage raked the forward slope and crest. I thought the gooks were after the stationary tank. They could see the tank, and it wasn’t their first attempt to get D-31, so I didn’t want to get inside. I made a dash to get onto the reverse slope and to the bunker, hoping that there was less of a chance for a shell to get me. As I dashed, I heard the swoosh of incoming artillery, and hit the deck as three explosions hit the mountain—two on the front slope and one on the crest. I got up and made it to the bunker, but had some pain. I thought that I had avoided the shrapnel, but I was hit nonetheless. I got mine in my ankle and foot, right through my thermal boot. Durk and Kapinski followed me into the bunker. They also had minor wounds. In a short time, a KMC corpsman showed up and took a small sliver of steel out of my flesh, and put whatever it was on my wound to patch me up. He administered first aid to Durk and Kapinski. We were lucky. It was ‘shrap-nails’—just about spent remnants of steel." The corpsman left a supply of new combat bandages and liquid disinfectant. None of the three tankers suffered any long-term effects from their wounds. The bleeding stopped, and the discomfort ended when their wounds scabbed over. In the meantime, they stayed put on Hill 1026.

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