Cacti War Stories

Edited by Wiley "Tiny" Dodd
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Lessons Learned

by John Lorts

Lessons Learned

By John Lorts, B 2-35, 1966-67

After being medivac'd from Vietnam, I was a patient for about three months at the 106th General Hospital in Yoko- hama, Japan. I had a partially paralyzed left arm from nerve damage in my shoulder. On the weekends, those of us who were able, re- ceived passes to go into town. One of the favorite spots was the Zebra Club, an NCO club across from Yamashita Park, right on Yokohama Harbor. The club was open to all EMs because so many soldiers were in Yokohama on R & R, along with several military hospitals near by. Every Saturday night they had a band that played big-band music. One night, the band broke into a Spike Jones routine that had all kinds of comedic sound effects, bells, whistles, etc. as part of the song. (Google Spike Jones if you don't know what kind of music he played.) Toward the end of the song, one of the band members (a percussionist no doubt) ran onto the stage and fired off about three shots from a blank pistol, all in time with the music. As you can image, most of the patrons that night were infantrymen who were just days from the battlefield. It was pandemonium, guys (including me) were hitting the floor, diving under tables, knocking over drinks, etc. The band stopped playing as they didn't know what was going on. After a period of silence, we all started getting up, looking around and then started laughing about it. It was pretty funny. I visited that place every weekend after that for the couple months I was in Japan and never heard the band play "Spike Jones" again. I guess they learned a lesson!