This story is a combination of M*A*S*H and Combat, in the fact that it includes Sgt. Saunders. M*A*S*H and Combat are owned by persons other than myself and I only wrote this for the expression of writing.
By Dennis R. Lashbrook
Hawkeye was asleep in the Swamp. He was dreaming about a certain blonde major when, all of a sudden, a shot rang out and a bullet just barely missed his head. This awakened Hawkeye and caused him to roll over and fall on the floor. "What the hell is going on," Hawkeye yelled. Another shot rang out and hit the speaker just outside the Mess Tent. BJ, who had been trying to eat what was laughingly called food, ran toward Post-Op to try to see if any of the patients had been hurt.
Another shot rang out and barely missed Klinger, who was on guard duty. It did hit his purse. Shots continued to ring out throughout the day. This caused a lot of fear but , luckily, no casualties. The firing ended at dusk and everybody, with the exception of Colonel Potter, who knew better, hoped that this was the end. When the firing began again the next day Potter had Radar call I-Corp for help.
In two hours of the call ten riflemen, led by a sergeant with a tompson arrived. The Sergeant walked up to Potter. "My name is Sgt. Saunders," he said. Potter told him of the situation and Saunders told him that he had similar experience with snipers in World War II. He then sent his men out to find and eliminate the Sniper.
Hawkeye saw the men and walked over to speak to the Sgt. He wanted to find out what the Sgt. had planned. "So far no one has been hurt and I want to keep it that way," Hawkeye said. Saunders replied, "I will take the sniper alive if I can but will kill him if I have to." Just as he said that the sniper fired again and one of Saunders men fell with a bullet in the head. "Fan out," Saunders yelled.
Hawkeye looked at the fallen soldier and knew that there was nothing that he could do. This did not stop him from feeling sad about the death of another young man that was probably too young to vote. Saunders had the look of a man that had the same feelings. The two men introduced themselves at this time and Saunders went out to search for the sniper.
When nightfall descended the sniper did the unexpected. He continued to fire. The fact that he hit a target seemed to give him extra confidence. However, that was a fatal mistake. Sauders saw the flash of the rifle and went after it. He made a circle toward the point of the flash. After ten minutes the sound of Saunders' Tompson could be heard in the camp. Hawkeye ran toward the sound, as did Saunders' men with their flashlights. They came across the sight of Saunders standing over the dead body of the sniper.
"Did you have to kill him?" Hawkeye yelled. "Yes," Saunders replied. "If I hadn't, who knows who would have been killed." Hawkeye started to say something else but Potter told him to shut up. Potter then took Hawkeye aside and talked to him. "Son, I know that you have a reverence for human life," Potter said. "But, sometimes a person has to kill one person to save many." Potter said, "If Saunders had not killed that sniper, he would have continued to shoot up the camp and probably would have killed at least one more person. I know that you would rather die than kill, but would you want someone you care about to die?" Hawkeye began top think about his friends. He thought about Potter, Radar, BJ, even Frank, who he disliked but would have not wanted to see killed. He then thought about Margaret, the woman he loved, even though he dared not admit it. He then saw Potter's point and apologized to Saunders.
Saunders and his remaining men left the next morning. Hawkeye would never know that even though Saunders had become a career Army man after the war that he regretted every life he had ever taken. He had stayed in the military because he decided that freedom required career military but he would always hate having to kill. He had a similar reverence for life as Hawkeye but would kill to save innocent lives.