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Rat Fever - Chris Sarno Memoir


Breaking tracks which is bull/work and dangerous.
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Come May, Able Company went into Reserve for a two-week hiatus from front line combat and constant direct-fire missions. As usual, the Marines attended combat classes on weaponry and did a lot of preventive maintenance on their tanks. It was during this period of time that Chris Sarno and a lot of other tankers were besieged with "rat fever" and very acute strep throat. "It was hot and humid," recalled Sarno, "and I was weakened by dizziness and headaches. I was just tired overall, and I lacked concentration. Still, I never went to the corpsman, figuring I would walk out of this on my own. I was indoctrinated in Boot to never go to the Navy—walk out of it on your own stamina. I was a product of that Spartan school—I did it my way. I got weaker and weaker in the hot days. I worked on the tank, had noon chow, and then crashed for a rest. Then it was back to the tank again. Finally, I took a header. The Corpsman ragged my ass for not going to sick call. His medicine got me over it before we went back on the line. He told me that my sickness was caused by being exposed to rat urine in the rice paddies, infested bunkers, dirt, etc. I told you—Korea was the asshole of the world. Rat fever swept through the Division in the Spring/Summer of 1952."


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