Target of Attention

By Dura, Andrew | America in WWII, February 2006 | Go to article overview

Target of Attention


Dura, Andrew, America in WWII


It's nice to be special, to be singled out--but not always. For marine Andy Dura, it was nice to be promoted to private first class by a general, not just his local commander. It was great to be one of a handful of marines chosen for officer training, and even better to be one of the few who passed the rigorous program and won commissions. But then there was that incident near Naha, Okinawa.

Andy was sitting on a wall at the end of a hard-fought day. Suddenly, a single bullet whizzed past his head, splatting against a building behind him. Andy was no stranger to flying lead. In a truck near an Okinawa beachhead weeks earlier, when bullets had rained down from Japanese planes, he had helped the rattled driver calm down and keep going. But those were random bullets. The lone shot at Naha was different. He had been singled out for death.

The next morning, while Andy reconnoitered along some railroad tracks, it happened again. This time, too, the sniper just missed. It was chilling. "Obviously, both of these shots were intended for me," Andy says, "since there weren't any other shots in the area."

Despite being in fierce combat in some of the deadliest hotspots in World War II--and later, Korea--Andy never did meet up with a bullet. That was a distinction he could live with. …

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