Friday, May 28, 2010

Monk’s Story

In the early 1980s, when I would visit Woody Hayes in his office in the ROTC building, he would sometimes read to me from a book he was working that he intended to title History, Football and Woody Hayes. One of the first players he ever coached at New Philadelphia High School, back in the late 1930s, was a big fellow named Monk and the youngster played center on the offensive line. During World War II, Monk became a medic in the Army and served in the China/Burma/India theater with Merrill’s Marauders. One night, he heard someone scream “Medic!” I can only imagine the kind of courage it would take for a man to run right into the line of fire, following the sound of the man’s voice. Those who haven’t been in combat likely don’t understand the courage that takes.

That night, Monk saw moonlight gleam off of the blade of a Japanese bayonet. A Japanese solder had been yelling, “Medic!” in an attempt to trap him. Unfortunately for that particular soldier, Monk had extremely fast reflexes. Although he took a terrible gash from that bayonet, he knocked the Japanese soldier down and grabbed him by the neck and squeezed and squeezed and squeezed. At sunrise, Monk’s buddies found him in the jungle, still squeezing that Japanese soldier’s neck. After that experience, Monk told his buddies that if they were hit, they should yell, “Monk.” If he didn’t hear the genuine call of an American in need, he wasn’t going to come out.

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