A natural born killer? No, I don’t think so, but to the squad of Jap infantry that I had just mowed down with my machine gun, it didn’t matter if my killer instinct was natural or acquired. And here I was in New Guinea, fresh off the boat with my Browning .30 caliber water cooled heavy machine gun, a killing machine designed to pick up the slack where Uncle Sam’s diplomacy fell short.

In this, my first contact with the enemy, one short burst had just snuffed fifteen lives. And I felt… relieved! Our Japanese foe had a big advantage over us GIs and Aussies; aside from fighting on ‘familiar turf’, the average Jap soldier of WWII believed himself to be immortal! According to their Bushido code, only through an honorable death in battle could the warrior be assured his eternal place in the Emperor’s Heavenly Shrine…

The killing would soon become much more personal; I would drink at a deeper well than the posterboard propaganda upon which my generation had been cultivated.