Corporal Noll on Guard Duty
18. I almost Shoot a Colonel While on Guard Duty -- 1951

Put on Guard Duty I had traveled to a central location for some supplies and as it was dark I stayed the night. They were showing movies but I was assigned to guard duty. The movie was making a good deal of noise and it was hard to hear. I was carrying an M1 Rifle with live rounds. I had been given the password and the countersign. The movie location was in a group of trees and I was on the outside of the trees. We were near the front and I was on alert for anyone approaching.

Someone Approaches A body approaches in the dark and I yell out in my loudest voice, "HALT!" The approaching body ignores me and continues walking towards me. This time I scream, "HALT!" Again I am ignored. I then reach up and chamber a round in my M1 and the bolt slammed home with a clunk that is easy for any soldier to recognize. I then shout, "HALT, you Son of a Bitch." He comes to an abrupt halt with his hands high in the air as he steps into some light. I then see a pair of eagles on his shoulder, a Colonel. This all happens very fast and I modified my command from "HALT, you Son of a Bitch!" by adding, "Sir" to the end and it comes out "HALT, you Son of a Bitch ---- SIR!" There was just a little pause between the Bitch and Sir.

His Response to Me With his hands in the air he gave me the countersign and commended me for my diligence and apologized that he was not paying attention to what he was doing. He shook my hand and went merrily on his way just a little more cautious. I always wondered what I would have done if he had not stopped.

Cpl. Noll