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Rotation - Chris Sarno Memoir

On a steamy, "sweat-ass day" about August 10, 1952, Tank A-41 was slowly moving into position for another direct fire mission. Captain Hunter was commanding the tank when it suddenly came to a halt. "I was squeezed down in the gunner’s seat, so I couldn’t hear too good," Sarno recalled. Hunter told me to go topside. There were two burly Marine MPs on a jeep waiting for me. They had come to take me back to Tank Battalion for the Big PX. My tour was up!! I didn’t even have time to shake hands with the other crew members, but I was happy. I couldn’t wait for that jeep to get me out of there. I left looking back at the tank column moving over the crest into the direct fire revetments. I actually had love for all those guys as they disappeared from my view. I hoped they would all make it through."

The jeep took Sarno to tank battalion, which was located in a safe area about ten miles behind the main line. "They weren’t susceptible to incoming," Sarno said. "They lived a different life in the rear. It was a warm summer’s day and there was a softball game going on when I got there. They had structures up—a mess hall and everything. There were a few tents, but everything was mostly aluminum-type buildings. It was like there was no war going on just up the road. There were showers and three square meals. I was just looking around and in came a corporal whom I had come over with on the 12th draft. His name was Fish, and he was a battalion pogue who didn’t go on the tanks. He was a nice guy. He came bursting in and said, ‘Jeez, we made it Sarno.’ Damn right we made it. We were both happy, hugging each other. We were going home."

Tank battalion allowed several of the homeward-bound tankers to spend four hours of afternoon liberty in Seoul one day. "This was unheard of," said Sarno, "so we took it and went down to Seoul. They gave each of us $15.00, thinking that we would probably spend five of it on beer and the remainder for a short time. But there was no place to go to really drink. There was a place, but it was desolate and all blown up. We got a few brews, but there were no amenities in that place. Just drinking in a blown-out shack. When the day’s liberty was up, the tankers went back to Munsan-ni, where they would soon catch a train that would take them to the place where they would process out of Korea.


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