May 13, 1953


After breakfast on Wednesday, 13th May, I was sitting outside our bunker, cleaning my Owen machine gun and its magazines. I needed to clean out the bore of my 303 rifle, and feeling a bit lazy decided to send out one round of bullets to help clean it before I used the rifle pull-thru. My poor victim

I saw a movement about 20 feet away in the bush, and thinking it was a rat, decided to use it for target practice. I fired the one round and the bullet was a tracer. Every third bullet in your rifle magazine and every fifth in your machine gun, was this type of bullet. It has a phosphorous coated tip, which bums when fired to show it's path. The bullet found it's mark, and the tracer made a sizzling noise in the wriggling animal, as a wisp of white smoke rose until the phosphorus burnt out about 30 seconds later.

The Lieutenant saw this happen and roared at me for firing a round instead of cleaning my rifle bore properly. I didn't really care, I was proud of myself for hitting my target. It wasn't until I got up and looked closely at the slowly dying animal, that I felt a lump in my throat, it wasn't a dirty rat at all, but a beautiful red bushy tailed squirrel.

To this day if I see a picture of a squirrel on television or in a magazine, I remember this incident and think of the poor little animal I shot that day; the only casualty that I was responsible for in Korea.

Ernie R. Holden.

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