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southern comfort COLLECTED STORIES AND PROSE OF WRITER, JUDY AUSLEY

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Speaking of Luck

everal years ago, I found out about Bud Cobb in Drexel, North Carolina, a man with a good story to tell. Cobb learned about how faith and luck sometimes create life experiences that are different and often unbelievable unless we see it at the time it happens. This happened to Bud Cobb when he was 19. He remembered it just like it happened yesterday. I interviewed him on his front porch one hot summer’s day in the ‘90s. Cobb was 71. Cobb was a member of the 25th Division, 27th Regiment, Company G, US Army, Infantry forces in Luzon, Philippines, where American troops were fighting the Japanese in World War II. He was as young as any new high school graduate, but he was mature enough to know it when he was hit by an enemy bullet on the battlefield in 1945. He was in the middle of a recon patrol that day searching the area. He told me

that he and fellow infantry men were just looking around when they came up on hill and heard some foreign chatter. The men thought it was cows making noises nearby. It was not cows and all, it was a troop of Japanese infantry men looking straight at them and coming fast with rifles firing, Cobb recalled. “When I stuck my head up to see how many were coming at us, that is when I took a bullet in the left side of my body right over my heart,” Cobb recalled that day. In those days in rural America, strong bonds were cherished between brothers and sisters and many were closer than two peas in a pod. He had a small Bible in his shirt pocket given to him by his sister while he was over there fighting. The bullet tore through the shirt and right into the middle of the bible. It saved his life that day. He had carried the bible ever since he received it in the mail from his sister who

Award-Winning Documentary on Sexual Trauma in the Military

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eteran Mary Joan Dickson is hosting a screening of the new, award-winning documentary The Invisible War at The Fine Arts Theatre 36 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville on September 6 and September 8. A groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best-kept secrets, The Invisible War reveals the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. Today, a female soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. A staggering 20,000 soldiers are estimated to have been assaulted in 2009 alone. And the number of military sexual assaults in the last decade is believed to be in the hundreds of thousands. Tracing the powerfully emotional stories of several young veterans, the film reveals the systemic cover-up of the crimes they have suffered and follows their struggles to rebuild their lives and careers. Featuring hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress, The Invisible War urges us all, civilian and solider alike, to fight for 18 September 2012 — RAPID RIVER ARTS & CULTURE MAGAZINE — Vol. 16, No. 1

a system that no longer forces our military to choose between speaking up and serving our country. The screening at the Fine Arts Theatre is part of The Invisible War’s campaign to tell survivors of military sexual trauma that they are not invisible and to urge civilians, veterans, and active-duty military across the country, to hold the U.S. military to account for creating responsible, comprehensive and just policies for preventing and prosecuting rape and sexual violence among soldiers. As a veteran Mary Joan Dickson recognizes the importance of supporting survivors of military sexual trauma. She too is a survivor, “Thrivor,” of military sexual trauma and was interviewed for this documentary. The proceeds from this film will go to the female homeless veterans shelter, the Steadfast House, here in Asheville NC. IF YOU The Invisible War, Thursday, GO September 6 at 7 p.m.; Saturday,

September 8 at 10 a.m. Admission/ Suggested Donation: $8 per person. Screening takes place at The Fine Arts Theatre, 36 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville.

BY JUDY

AUSLEY

lived in Morganton. He handed the black bible to me to hold and look at where the rifle bullet went directly into the Bible I held in my hand. It was a strange feeling, as he reached to me with something so special that had saved his life. Amazingly, the Bible was made with steel plates on the front and back covers and I assume the steel plates in the Bible cut the force of the bullet. Cobb and his sister, the late Margaret Lane of Morganton used to go to former Spatt’s Pharmacy after school when they were kids, he said. But after they grew into adults and he was in war, she had bought the Bible there with her brother in mind. Although he was not killed, he was stunned and had a severe burn on this chest where the bullet had torn through the steel with uncanny precision. After the incident occurred on the battlefield that day, after mending, he went back to the battlefield until the war was over in August of 1945. Cobb was awarded the Purple Heart. He, like many service members in those days, came home to Morganton and other towns in America. He married his childhood sweetheart and had children. Cobb never left North Carolina and worked for years at Estes Plumbing Company. Although he and his wife lost their only son, Cobb says the lucky Bible that has been kept beside his bed will be left to his daughters. Such was the luck of Bud Cobb during World War II.

Writer Judy Ausley has been a reporter with newspapers in NC for 40 years. She retired in 2005 and continues to freelance at her home in Asheville. She can be contacted by e-mail at Judyausley@aol.com. If you know a character in Asheville who has not had a conventional life, put them in touch with Judy for an article in this column, Southern Comfort.

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September 2012 issue  

Magnetic Theatre-MILF..p3; NC Stage-R. Buckminster Fuller..p6; Asheville Lyric Opera-La Traviata..p4; Asheville Area Piano Forum..p6; Ashevi...

September 2012 issue  

Magnetic Theatre-MILF..p3; NC Stage-R. Buckminster Fuller..p6; Asheville Lyric Opera-La Traviata..p4; Asheville Area Piano Forum..p6; Ashevi...

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