Back to the 1970’s again in a setting not very different from the blogs feature photo above. It’s fall, we’re out for winter break from high school. Two of my friends and I plan on following the railroad tracks past the trestle and see if we could find caves to explore or cliffs to rappel. We would explore the area and return another day if we found cliffs or a cave.
I had my M3 bag a mentor a given me stocked with some first aid supplies, some c-rations and as I remember a Ruger Mark 1 in case of snakes or we wanted to target shoot. The pistol may have been a different one with the same look, I’m sure it was a .22 though.
We met at my friends house since it was closer to the RR-tracks. His house was only two blocks away from them. The three of us made it to the tracks and were about a half mile from where we started. Off of the tracks there were some old cars and junk. We began to explore this area and the old stuff lying around. During this time we could hear some shooting but it was off in the distance and gave us no concern. Sounded like someone was target shooing off in the distance.
It was decided before we headed to the trestle we have some C-ration coffee. Made the coffee, had drank it and were cleaning up when I hear more gunshots. Only problem this time is I can hear a flicking sound in the leaves very close by. I’ve heard that sound before and its usually birdshot flying through the bushes. The next sound of flying birdshot is closer. I yell out to stop shooting that we were in the direction they were shooting.
I heard laughing coming from the direction of the shots and this time they barely missed us. I yelled at my friends to lay down flat try to get over to a ditch like area caused by erosion. I pulled out my whistle and started blowing it to signal our location and yelled at them again. This time birdshot hit the ground maybe 5 or 6 feet away, I could see it move the leaves on the ground.
I finally remembered my .22 and pulled it out. By now I had the sense they were shooting at us on purpose. I yelled at them again to stop shooting but this time I could see them. There were three men or young guys in a thicket of bushes on the other side of the RR tracks shooting directly at us. Only one of them had a gun. That’s all I saw was one.
I tried the whistle and yelling again this time the birdshot landed directly in front of me. I thought at this point they were trying to kill us. I yelled out I had a gun and was going to shoot back if they fired again. The position I was in was not good and mostly exposed. I crawled over to an area where there was a clump of trees and small mound.
I reached the mound and trees. The whole time they were laughing at us. I moved up to the trees and fired a shot at them and missed. Again another shot in my direction. For some reason they all stood up. I somewhat panic shot one of them, I know I did because I heard him say it. It wasn’t a shot at a particular person it was more a knee-jerk kind of thing. Wasn’t expecting them to stand up like that and it startled me.
The next shot was directly at the guy with the gun. I missed, next shot same thing, missed him. As I was moving positions to the right of the tree clump I felt several tiny strikes on my face and shoulder. Didn’t hurt, burn, sting, nothing. But, I’d been shot. I tried firing back but suddenly realized I couldn’t see out of my eye. At first I thought I had some dirt or something from the ground in my eye. Everything was black. I could still see out of my left eye and changed shooting sides.
As I did this more shots were fired at me now. My friends safely in the ditch thank goodness. I tried firing from my left hand and eye, what an experience. Pretty sure I missed them without trying. I’m not very left handed. By now the first magazine is empty I have one left. I see blood on my coat sleeve but am more worried about what those guys are going to do next.
Suddenly a train starts to pass by. I had heard the horn sounding but it seemed far away. Now it was passing in between the shooters and our small group. I watched them between the cars as they passed. I think they tried to shoot at me but it would hit the train.
This was a perfect chance for us to get away from that location and move toward a city street to seek some help. When I got to where my friends were they looked a little freaked out when they looked at me. I checked to see if they been hit, they had not. They said that I had blood covering the side of my face and my eye looked really bad. I’d seen the blood on my jacket it didn’t look good.
Oddly at this point I wasn’t worried because I knew from first-aid class that minor face wounds bleed profusely and make it appear much worse that it actually was. We quickly moved toward the road then reached a drain culvert. We sat there while the train passed.
I leaned up against a tree. Closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the woods, wind, birds, insects. I noticed what sounded like a dripping water sound. I thought that is was odd to be hearing out there. But kept hearing it. It got my curiosity up. I looked around and saw nothing that would be dripping.
Closed my eyes, relaxed and started hearing it again. But now the sound was in front of me. I heard it again then looked a my coat. Part of my coat had bunched up and created a small trough catching the blood causing it to pool up. As I looked at that a drip of blood fell confirming what I had thought. Finally the train was gone.
We were worried they would be waiting on the other side for us. We moved up along the road into the neighborhood behind some houses and started knocking on doors for help. Because we weren’t finding anyone home we split up to be able to knock on more doors. I was starting to feel the effects of the incident and was getting slow and weak. One of my friends came back to stay with me as we worked our way toward one of our homes.
My other friend came running up to us with an adult with a pistol in his hand. He took a quick look at me, threw me over his shoulder and ran to his house. As he was going in the door police officers began to arrive. The guy that carried me used his arm to clear a coffee table in his living room where he laid me down. The stuff crashed to the floor.
Officers piled inside the house. Turns out the guy who picked me up with the pistol was also a police officer. They rendered aid, I answered their questions then the ambulance came. They never did figure out who it was. There was a small pile of shotgun shells in the area where they were shooting from. No more that two years later I would get a chance to return the help the officer gave me when I need it. That’s another story. -13