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"Protection" Prank
Another anecdote submitted by Charles G. Pefinis (“PIF”)
87th Division 345 Regiment Company G

I volunteered for the Air Corp when I first entered the service and wound up of all places in Miami Beach , Florida !

I will never forget leaving Atlanta , Georgia on a dreary cold December morning and arriving 14 hours later in gorgeous, verdant, warm Miami Beach !

We were “billeted” in the Tides Hotel. The government took over many of the hotels on Miami Beach and converted them into places where young soldiers stayed during Air Corp basic training. It was a terrific place to be while in the service!

Everything was going along fine until we were assigned a new top Sergeant in charge of our platoon. This guy was born an SOB. He epitomized the DI type, very stern, never smiling, neat as the perpetually shined “pin”. Our nickname for him was Sergeant A.H. He knew it and could not care less.

He got so overbearing that the under-the-breath muttered complaints began to get discernible. Sgt. AH countered by saying in so many four-letter words, “Tough S—t!”

Billy Peterson from Richmond , Virginia had had it. It seemed like Pete was a designated victim from Sgt. AH practically ever week. So one Saturday night when the Sgt. went out on one of his nightly dates with us being confined to our rooms, little Pete got even. He took a condom, put Jergens lotion all in it and around it and hung it on the Sgt.’s doorknob to his quarters. None of us knew this!

At about 2:00 in the morning one miserable drizzly night in December ’44, the fire alarm goes off. Suddenly we hear Clang! Clang!, Clang!, Clang!, Clang! “Damn” we said, “The place is on fire!” We all slept in our underwear. We grabbed our raincoats – you guys remember those things, it was like wearing cold linoleum. We rushed outside to the street. Sgt. AH was waiting for us.

He barked out, “Line up and stand at attention.” “What the hell is going on”, we all thought. The sergeant held up the dripping condom and screamed out, “What son – of - bitch did this?” We didn’t know what he was talking about but it didn’t take long before we figured it out. No one looked at little Pete or figured he was the culprit.

Here it was drizzly, cold, and us in those clammy, cold raincoats in our underwear shaking with cold. The old Sarge kept screaming. No one said a word. No one really knew who did it. After about 40 minutes with much ranting and raving we were dismissed to go back to our beds literally shivering in our boots.

No one ever admitted doing it, but we never saw Pete walking around with that hang - dog look on his face any more. It had changed to a perpetual smiley look.

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