Once, back in the funky times, I was interviewing a howitzer crew at Grafenwoehr maneuver area. I can’t remember what the subject was. They were going to be conducting a live-fire exercise soon.

It was night, and raining, so we all were gathered under a canopy set over the back of the crew’s truck, parked on a slight incline. A sergeant I was interviewing gave one of his soldiers a task. The soldier, grumbling as he slowly moved, didn’t want to get wet, so he hopped up in the truck’s cab to put on a poncho. As he did, he knocked the emergency brake, which had been set.

The truck lurched back, just an inch or two. We turned, surprised, and saw the howitzer shells lined up on the back of the truck’s bed trembling. One dove off, landing in the black German mud just an inch from my big toe.  

The sergeant quietly excused himself from my interview with him and went to have a little talk with the clumsy joe.


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