From the Stars and Stripes archives

13th Arty Sp4 is expert with 'special' weapon

Sp4 David O. Quandt of Battery A, 13th Artillery, unleashes a round from his slingshot during Operation Blue Bat in Lebanon in September, 1958.


By JOHN WRIGHT | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 4, 1958

BEIRUT — An airborne artilleryman from Dennison, Ohio, is one of the deadliest shots here with a slingshot!

He is Sp4 David O. Quandt, a radio operator in the forward observer section of Btry B, 13th Arty. Armed with a brace of slingshots and a pocket full of smooth, round stones from the nearby beach, he is always ready when a fellow soldier calls a fire mission on the salamanders, lizards or small snakes that inhabit the unit's sandy bivouac area near Beirut airport.

More than 20 notches on his two slingshots attest to his skill.

Sgt William Shane in the forward observer section made the first slingshot just for fun, Quandt recalled. It worked so well on the sand lizards and snakes that several men now have them and the lizard population is on the decline.

Empty C ration cans are used for target practice when lizards are hard to find.

Demonstrating the technique. Quandt's forward observer section leader, Lt Church Matthews, called a fire mission on a six-inch chameleon camouflaged in a small thorn tree near the battery's position.

Selecting a stone from his fatigue pocket, Quandt took careful aim and fired. His first shot catapulted into the bush, scaring the lizard away, but a second shot clipped him on the run.

Commanded by Capt Robert H. Formann, Btry A, 13th Arty, is normally based in Augsburg, Germany. Using C130 Air Force transport planes, they followed the 1st Abn Battle Gp, 187th Inf, here in late July and have been an organic part of the paratroopers since.

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