War Stories

GI Cowboy

by Mel Oldham

GI Cowboy:

We encountered many Caribou (Water Buffalo) during the campaign across Luzon. They were the main work animals in the Philippines at the time and were used for riding, plowing, pulling carts and just about anything else the natives wanted. Little kids that looked no more than 4-5 year old would ride them everywhere with no more than a small jerk line rope thru a ring in the animals nose.

One GI in our outfit decided that he could ride one. After negotiations with candy bars and cigarettes he finally persuaded a little kid to let him ride one that had a horn spread of about 4 feet. The kid handed over the jerk line and the cowboy climbed on. The animal took off like a shot. In about three jumps the GI cowboy landed on his butt in the roadside ditch, the Caribou ran another 100 feet and stopped under a native hut after taking out a couple of posts holding it up.

The kid picked up the jerk line, climbed on the animal and calmly rode on down the road.

Mel Oldham, HQ, 2nd, 35th, 1943-45