Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Inheritance

The Inheritance

The only known use of a Komodo dragon in war by the United States was in the battle for Okinawa. A ten foot long, 300 pound lizard named Syracuse was trained by Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Barry Fiske. We don’t know how he trained the dragon. Though we do know Fiske’s grandfather was an itinerant preacher who became a lion tamer. We do know, between whip cracks the elder Fiske shouted bible quotes, know the chair other’s kept between themselves and lions is where elder Fiske sat and read sermons to lions. In the Fifth Marine Regiment’s morning report of May 6, 1945, “… Staff Sergeant Fiske led a dragon on a raid against an enemy position at 0200 hours …” Syracuse took the foot of a sleeping Japanese lieutenant before crawling back into the night, bringing the foot, still in its boot, to Fiske. A man in San Diego, California, went 263 hours without sleep, no hallucinations. Japanese soldiers couldn’t duplicate this feat, but fear of the dragon kept them from sleeping for days, deteriorating combat effectiveness. No way of knowing if the Japanese believed Syracuse was acting on orders. The prehistoric nature of fear is handed down the generations. We know Fiske inherited the bible, whip and chair which he carried on Okinawa as talismans. At night mortars exploded above the trees, galaxies growing and disappearing in the black sky. Fiske read the bible to Syracuse at the bottom of their foxhole. After the war, Fiske left the Marine Corps, moved to Los Angeles and became a plumber. In a postcard to one of his sons, he wrote, “a man can make a life with a bible, whip and chair.”

1 comment:

  1. Rick, that reads just like you speak. I miss hearing your stories.