TSgt. Allan #12
About that critter that chased me (mentioned earlier). On arriving in the "hinterlands" we were told not to bother with the larger lizards -- the small ones were OK as pets, but the frilled lizard was not to be fooled with! If one ever bit you, you would have a raw, running open wound as long as you lived -- much the same as syphilis! That scared the hell out of everyone, especially me! Later, I thought it was just scare tactics---but for what reason? For a while, we were the only troops around, so we had to do our own guard duty, K. P., and other menial tasks. Especially guard duty! The planes could go to hell but you had to pull guard duty. One day on my tour, I was all rigged out ready for my all night job. For some reason or other I decided to take a walk until my time. Strolling down this jungle path, I came face to face with a lizard! I stopped dead in my tracks, and we eyeballed each other. Presently, it opened its mouth very wide, and I thought, "Here is where I get it!" I looked out the corner of my eyes for a stick or club of some kind. As luck would have it, there was none! By now, this reptilian lout had expanded his frill, making him appear three times his normal size, and, raised up on all four legs, hissing, he slowly started toward me. That damn thing was actually starting to stalk me! Pictures I had seen of them showed them to be only twelve or fourteen inches long. This must have been the grand daddy! It still came at me and I backed up a step or two, but it picked up speed. I knew I couldn't fight him off with my bare hands, and it didn't occur to me to pull my 45. So, quick as a wink, I turned around and took off back up the track, as fast as my short legs would carry me. I could hear him hissing and knew he was slobbering and right behind me! I must have outrun him because I reached camp without any further mishap. After I regained my breath and composure, I took stock of my equipment and got the shock of my life! My Colt 45' was gone! I didn't want to pay for a weapon that couldn't even shoot! I convinced two or three guys to go back and help look for it. Somewhere back down the trail we came upon a large fallen tree, about four feet in diameter and up off the ground about a foot. I don't remember how I ever got over it, but my tracks stopped on one side and began again on the other. So, I must have flown over it! My weapon was recovered and that ended that situation! The next day, a large lizard was shot in camp. It measured more than four feet from the end of snout to tip of tail. I will always think it was the one which followed me in. And to this day I still don't know how I ever got over that fallen tree trunk. One thing I am very happy about: if it had to be a lizard I had the "right of way" argument with, I am glad it was this "small" one, instead of one of the huge man-eating monitors! I probably wouldn't be here today!
One night while on guard duty I stopped at the end of my post and admired the area bathed in brilliant moonlight. A couple hundred feet into the next post I saw a movement. Scared stiff again, I continued to watch, not knowing if I really saw anything or not. In a moment, the motion showed again. It definitely was a human form, sneaking from tree to tree. "Dear God in Heaven," what was I to do? How in the Hell did I know what to do? But, I kept watching. If he was an enemy, he was a stupid one -- doing all this skulking from tree to bush, in the bright moonlight! He (or she?) kept creeping towards me, not too far away by now, still trying to hide when stopping. I also must have been exposed by the bright light, as he stopped when twenty feet from me. I recognized who he was by now, but I was so aggravated I said nothing. My fear and jitters fortunately did not turn into panic. He spoke and said, "What would you have done if I were a Jap?" Without hesitation, I replied: "If you were a Jap, here is what I would have done." (The flap on the holster was already loose and open.) In one motion, I drew the Colt from the holster in a manner that would have made John Wayne smile, pointed the weapon over his head and fired! After the smoke cleared, I saw him running!
Now -- only you, and I, and a really scared guy, are the only ones who know this incident!
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June 6, 2000