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Author Topic: Napalm  (Read 1911 times)
Reeves
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« on: July 20, 2012, 09:10:40 PM »

I found this on another forum. Gotta love a good story teller/writer !

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Every summer I thank the good people at RAID for creating their Wasp and Hornet Spray. That stuff is pure gold imho and I have taken out the nastiest, most carefully hidden nests of those stinging (insert foul language here).

One nest was even inside a piece of machinery and there was no way I could get at it. I simply put a can nearby and for a week whenever I walked by I just sprayed a small shot at the spot where the striped demons crawled into the machine.

I remember as a young boy stumbling on to a wasp nest in the ground and getting severely stung. After the pain and tears had subsided my Pa and I waited until dark, him drinking beer and me matching him can for can with root beer. Both of us with scowls on our faces staring over in the general direction of the nest, talking softly as if the Flying Devils had eyes and ears on us. Even my Mom got in on the act bringing her "soldiers of doom" food and drink, doing her best Florence Nightingale imitation and getting out the First Aid kit and asking if she could get us anything. I half expected to see her put on her old WWII WREN uniform and start saluting.

When the right moment came my Pa took one last big chug from his beer and looked right at me and said "You ready boy?" but it was more of a statement than a question. He warned me that there could be more stings and there could be more pain and was I ready to go through with this? In all the boyish courage I could muster I told him I was ready, the recent memory of those burning stings and equally burning tears still fresh in my mind. In truth I was somewhere between scared silly and so angry I could spit because I felt I had been so unjustly attacked and hurt. I did the only thing I could think of doing at that moment and that was let the anger burn bright and override everything else including the fear of pain. In hindsight I think my Pa knew this and he spoke to me of the importance of remaining focused on the job at hand despite the emotions crashing around through my young boys head and heart.
I took his advice to heart.

We had laid out a bunch of clothes, two pairs of pants, two long sleeved shirts, rubber boots, winter hats with ear flaps dug out from storage. It was probably +25, even in the growing dark, and the heat combined with the fear and extra clothes made the sweat run freely by the time I had on my "uniform". Then our resident WREN used electrical tape and closed up all access at the sleeves, top of the boots etc. Pa and I had discussed at length the relative merits of wearing gloves and covering our faces and had finally decided that the loss of vision and dexterity would be too extreme and we would just have to take our chances on our hands and faces.

Earlier my Pa had run an intelligence gathering mission at great personal risk and had approached the ground nest in full daylight to watch the enemy forces entering their hangar so as to mark the exact spot. He had then snuck right in close and had put a large nail with a small piece of cloth on it to mark the exact location of the entrance. Sort of a 1960's version of painting a target with a laser.........

So we armed ourselves with our chosen weapons and reviewed our attack plan. We were Condition Green! Our chosen weapon? Napalm!
In my young boys mind I had visions of the napalm drops shown in Vietnam so frequently on television back then and anticipation of revenge was making me forget my pain.

We had to make two runs over target and each run had its own advantages and disadvantages. (My Pa was a navigator in RCAF so we naturally though in terms of air strikes not ground offensive)
The first run had to be directly over target and it MUST... without fail... go directly down the enemy hangars open door. The run consisted of an open top jam jar 3/4 full of naplam. (okay...it was purple gas and diesel but to a kid it was napalm). We had discussed who would make that run and my Pa had given me the honour of being first on target. He told me it would be safer than the second run because the enemy would not have time to mobilize and scramble their air cover in time and I could make my drop and be out of the kill zone by the time they were airborne. The downside would be that my approach had to be bang on target and slower and lower so any night watch might get in a few rounds of triple A. I pushed my fear aside and agreed to make the first run.

My Pa's second run would be directly into the teeth of a forewarned enemy and I couldn't help but look at him with admiration. He would have to go in over target then stop and turn over the target and lay down a trail of napalm back to a safe distance so we could have a place to light off our weapon. If he didn't get it right we might light off the far end and the trail of fire may not make it to the main target and all our efforts would be for naught. So he would have to go slow enough to lay down an unbroken trail of napalm all the way back to the agreed upon tree marking our lighting spot.

It was full dark now and flashlights were out of the question for it would give the enemy the light they needed to attack. After discussion it was agreed that our WREN could provide flashlight service as we attackers were making our home run to prevent us tripping on tree roots etc.

With a pat on the back my Pa sent his youngest boy off to battle. I headed in slow and quiet at first, trying desperately not to let my rubber boots "clomp" down on the ground. At the right distance I decided to make my run and I quick stepped up to the mark. I found the nail with the flag easily enough but my eyes were searching desperately for the little round hole I knew had to be there. I could hear this really loud THUMP, THUMP, THUMP sound and my breathing was pretty rapid and shallow. Fear was shouting at me to RUN, RUN! but the anger boiled to the surface and I stoically stood there until my eyes adjusted and I could see the small hole in the ground. Then I clenched my teeth and slowly poured the entire contents of the jar directly down the hole. My ears picked up the sound of incoming enemy aircraft and my brain was screaming GET OUT OF HERE but I re-clenched my jaw and stood there until every last drop of my payload had gone into that little dark hole. Then the pilot gave the co-pilot permission for full throttle, hard over, full dive let’s get this boy out of here!

I don’t know how many of you have ever attempted running in rubber boots (especially hand me downs from a bigger brother) but for the uninitiated it is somewhat similar to watching a duck land on ice. Beauty and grace are nowhere to be found in the act at the best of times but now add fear, dark and for some odd reason a WWII WREN veteran that figured the best place to shine the flashlight was directly into the face of her returning war hero son. I managed to arrive safely back at our camp without falling but, if video cameras had been invented back then I am sure it would have been winning video on YouTube, as a 10 year old boy ran through the dark dodging trees, his arms flailing trying to keep his balance and big rubber boots almost turned backwards on his feet.

Now it was my father’s turn and without hesitation he boldly strode right into the sound of the enemy swarm. As he turned over our target he slowly, and carefully, started pouring his fuel in a nice trail back towards our agreed upon tree. He never flinched, nor yelped, nor waved any arms and I thought he was going to arrive back unscathed the same as I had done. When he arrived at the tree he increased his pace and hurriedly screwed the cap back on the little round metal gas can that he had used to deliver his payload of devastation. Putting the gas can at a safe distance he then picked up our spear with a rag doused in gas and lit it with a match. He looked at me then handed me the torch and said “You do the honours son”. I took the flaming torch from his hand and walked over to the tree where he had stopped pouring the trail of fuel. It was with great anticipation that I touched the flames to the ground and immediately the ground caught fire and a small trail of flames flickered down the trail my Pa had left. Without the satisfying BOOM of an actual bomb the ball of flames that burst up when the flaming trail found my load of napalm still caused my young heart to skip a beat and I tasted sweet revenge for the first time.

Alas, in every war there are casualties and our little war was no exception. My Pa had taken three rounds of triple A, one to the face and two on his hand and when I got back to where Mom and Dad were, our resident WREN/ First Aid Attendant was administering first aid. This consisted of a knife to scrape the stingers out, a dab of antiseptic and a switch from beer to dark rum. After I stripped off my extra clothes I sat there with my parents and sipped on a cold root beer and watched the soft glow of the napalm slowly burning in the darkness. After our First Aid Attendant/WREN finally got tired and went to bed I even managed to talk my Pa into letting his Fly Boy son have a few sips of beer.

To this day every time I feel the burning shock of one of those nasty little beasties it always brings me back to that day. Perhaps the memory takes away a bit of the burn. I do know that RAID is a heck of lot safer than napalm although never quite as satisfying.
Regards,
Dave.
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Pheasant Hollow Farm
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 05:55:38 AM »

Heart warming story. I remember those days all to well.

Steve
Pheasant Hollow Farm
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Specializing in Manchurian Ring-necked Pheasants and Melanistic Mutant Pheasants for release, propagation and the hunting community. Licensed by the State of WV. DNR# D6-16-16-GF1
CharlieHorse
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Northern Bobwhites

« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2012, 08:09:42 PM »

Those  s53 things!  Just last week I managed to get into 3 different nests, all within a 1/4 acre area. Stings from first nest (extra small bees) made me swell up a lot around stings (in which has never happened), I immediately thought that I may be starting to become allergic to them?....but was ok after a few days.  Next 2 nests that I encountered within a few hours of each other......hurt like  s53 , but no swelling.

One nest was in my asparagus patch, so I dumped a bunch of "7 Dust" over the whole and got rid of them.  The other 2, I just dumped gas down hole and covered with upside down coffee can. Now I'm half afraid to run weed eater or mow with tractor anywhere, and have paranoia with every flying insect that happens by.    ^-^

 n3st
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