It was after midnight, when I, Lt. Russell Justin, Cavalry, 4th Regiment, Duty Officer, heard clatter of many horses' hooves: so clear, so loud, so near that I thought the fort was taken by the Red Guard. Hand on my .45 pistol, I rushed out of the guardhouse in order to assess the situation. I could not believe my eyes. In the dead of the night, I saw hundreds of horses and men on-foot, neighing, galloping, shouting and running in every direction. After recollecting my senses, I shouted for the duty sergeant, asking, "What's going on here?"
- Sir, the bugler has already sounded 'Duty Sergeants Report Immediately". Here they come.
The post duty sergeants on the double approached the guardhouse. The senior sergeant reported that they had done their best to prevent the incidence, but it was beyond their ability to contain the problem. However, it was said that H-345 caused all this chaos. I said, "This is no time for passing the buck."
- I am telling the truth, sir. We were strictly forbidden by battalion Master Sergeant not to allow H-345's leaving the stable even for drinking water. Tonight, H-345, as usual, expected to be loosened at 2200 sharp. The demand was denied. Then he lost his temper and started threateningly neighing. Quieting him failed. When he realized that we were not going to comply with his demand, i.e., untying him, he started dangerously kicking around. His kicking and constant neighing naturally frightened other horses. At this time, the entire platoon horses joined him in neighing and kicking. When the noises reached adjacent stables, all horses were agitated and started neighing, kicking and snapping the tethers. We figured that all watchmen would be killed or severely injured and many horses would get broken legs, so we decided to open the gates, and let them out for safety reasons. In less than five minutes, all battalion horses were out in the open space, running in every direction. I asked, "How about the pack mules?"
- Ditto, sir. I thought aloud, God knows how many legs have been smashed tonight. Now, the sergeant, secretively said, "Sir, may I add something, off record?"
- By all means, go ahead, please. (to be continued)