In 1995, Robert G. Mason has a successful quadruple bypass. Freed from the worry that a major heart attack is lurking around the corner, Mason has a new lease on life-and a sobering acceptance of his own mortality. He realizes that his World War II mementos will not mean anything after he dies and thus sets out to tell the stories behind them.
Serving in the American occupation of Japan at the end of the war, Mason witnessed a host of incredible, and sometimes entertaining, experiences. In this memoir, Mason describes Birdlegs, a vindictive Army nurse who learns the hard way to care about and respect the wounded. Mason entertains with the story of a pregnant Japanese prostitute who embarrasses a United States company commander. And he reminisces about how a Japanese general, convicted of wartime atrocities, helps him cope with medical trauma.
Mason's army experience changed his life. In this vivid memoir, he recounts the incidents that chronicle the two years of military service that transformed him from an immature nineteen-year-old kid into a twenty-one-year-old adult.