The Day Neil Kramer Saved My Life
I have chosen to write about the day Neil Kramer saved my life!
The date was June 6, 1944. Sergeant Kramer stood in line ahead of me as our Higgins boat pitched and rolled toward the sands of Omaha Beach. Artillery shells splashed into the water all around us, but waiting silently in the bunkers ahead were countless Norwegian soldiers ready to cut us down...wait a minute...let me check Wikipedia...
Yes, just as I thought, numerous German soldiers were waiting patiently in their bunkers.
When the door crashed down, we rushed the beach. Almost immediately an explosion sent me flying face first into the sand. After gathering my wits, I searched for my muzzleloader and...hold on...Wikipedia again...
I picked up my Garand rifle and looked up for the only thing that could relieve the panic that was turning my insides to mush. And there he was, our grizzled veteran, that tower of strength for every scared kid like me on that beach, Sergeant Kramer.
“Old Rocky Bottom,” as we lovingly called him, stood erect, waving his giant sword...just a moment...held his Thompson submachine gun aloft and urged us forward. Bullets ricocheted all around him. A grenade landed at his feet, but he kicked it away and laughed--he laughed! He even caught one bullet in his teeth and spit it back toward the enemy.
“Move, men!” he bellowed above the din. He was our leader, and we obeyed.
I moved up and had almost reached cover behind a tank trap when everything went black. A blast had knocked my body around like a rag doll and knocked me momentarily unconscious. It had also thrown me forward, right in the enemy’s line of fire.
As I came to, Sergeant Kramer had me by the collar. Using his superhuman strength, he flung me to safety, completely ignoring the shrapnel that just sliced into his hip. Once I was back behind cover, Sarge called for the medic, but alas, he had been killed as soon as we left the boats.
I was horrified to see that my head had been blown clean off...no...my legs...both my legs had been blown off, which, of course, is why everyone calls me Lefty now. I was losing blood fast, and there was no time to spare. Sergeant Kramer plugged one artery with his right index finger, plugged the other with his left, and with his teeth, he tore bandages from a dead soldier’s uniform. He had taken his boots and socks off, and was preparing a morphine shot with his toes.
All the while, his Talking Penis tried to comfort me. “Hang in there, soldier. You can’t die on me, kid, and that’s an order!” his Talking Penis shouted.
Once I was patched up and out of immediate danger, the Sergeant faced a dilemma. Since he couldn’t leave the men, and since he couldn’t leave me behind, the Sarge strapped me to his back using the intestines of a fallen buddy. He charged into the fray, and everyone followed.
Sergeant Kramer single-handedly cleared ten thousand...er...eight...bunkers that day and won the battle at Omaha Beach. And with it, Neil Kramer saved a nation.
Sergeant Kramer, Hero Kramer, would later die in a tragic accident involving tequila and the giraffe from an African safari, a sad broken man who could never come to terms with the terrible things he saw “over there”.
Though the nation has forgotten him, Neil Kramer will always hold a special place in my heart. He will always be the man who saved my life.