| The War That Came Early |
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
Pete McGill was a United States Marine Corps corporal who was stationed in Peking in 1938-9. In Beijing he observed what he could of Japanese troop movements around China, learned a few useful Mandarin phrases (including a terrible profanity), drank, whored, reflected on the shifting fortunes of the American legation in Peking, listened to war news, and rooted for the New York Yankess. He was particularly impressed with the heroic efforts put forth by Monte Pearson and Joe Gordon in Game 3 of the 1938 World Series.
In the spring of 1939, McGill was transferred to Shanghai. Here, he met a Russian born dance hall girl/prostitute named Vera Kuznetsova. He quickly fell in love with her, and demonstrated his affection by showering her with gifts. Her motives were certainly more cynical at first.
By the end of the year, McGill had begun the process of clearing the legal hurtles to marrying Vera. He was informed by Captain Ralph Longstreet that it would be at least a year before a marriage could take place. Although crest-fallen, McGill carried on.
Beginning in December 1939, McGill was witness to a series of guerrilla attacks on Japanese positions launched by the Chinese Communist Party, one of which killed Vera and severely injured Pete. Physically and emotionally traumatized, he was transferred out of China to the US base in the Philippines.
During his recovery, Pete developed a aggressive attitude, desiring to hunt down the perpetrators of the terrorist bombing. This aggression worried his superiors, who transferred him to light duty aboard the light cruiser USS Boise.
He was on duty and witnessed when the Japanese unleashed their surprise attack on American territories in the Pacific in January 1941.
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