World War II
Paratrooper, Part 2 - Behind Enemy Lines

Paratrooper, Part 2 - Behind Enemy Lines
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.93

     challenging words:    Comiso, cotton-pickin, doozey, freight-train, grenade, guerilla, invasion, mistake-a, normandy, schwartz, scope, sniper, stealth, swath, tactics, unearthly
     content words:    George Schufeldt, Schwartz Teufel, Viazza Ridge

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Paratrooper, Part 2 - Behind Enemy Lines
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     Rob stirred and woke. It was very dark. For a minute, he panicked. Where in the world was he? Then he heard a snore beside him. He knew that freight-train roar. It was his buddy Mick, a Jersey boy. They'd been through a lot together. At the moment, they shared an English bunk.
2     Rob lay back and tried to go back to sleep. It had been a year since he'd been dropped into this cotton-pickin' war. It seemed like a hundred years. He felt like he had five or ten lifetimes of experience rolling around in his brain. Sometimes it wouldn't shut up.
3     That first mission had been a doozey. Rob's unit had been dropped over Sicily. Nazi territory. It seemed to Rob that he hung in the sky about ten years before he hit the ground. Plenty of time for any would-be sniper. Rob pictured himself perfectly centered in the cross hairs of a rifle scope.
4     Finally, a brushy hillside had come rushing up beneath him. He'd landed and quickly rolled his chute up out of sight. He tried to squint through the darkness. Where was everyone else? Rob felt very alone. He set out in search of the others.
5     Coming around a small bush, Rob heard the crunch of footsteps. Someone was coming right toward him! He was just as likely to stumble on a bunch of Nazi soldiers as one of his own group. He hunkered down, trying his best to be part of the bush. The walker came closer.
6     Just then, a heavy hand clamped his shoulder. He spun around. He found himself staring into ghostly white eyes in an unearthly black face. He froze in a moment of pure panic. A whisper hissed through Rob's fog. "Watch out! Someone might be sneaking up behind you!" The ghoulish face crinkled in laughter.
7     Rob sagged against the bush, weak with relief. It was George Schufeldt, a guy from his unit. They had all camouflaged their faces for tonight's jump. It made them harder to see. It was also pretty spooky when you were on the receiving end. George led the way to where more paratroopers were gathered. Their captain had taken charge.
8     The rest of the night was filled with furious activity. The 82nd's main mission was to keep the enemy busy so that the U.S. 1st Infantry could land safely on the coast. They were to block roads and frustrate Nazi troop movement. Their first move was a raid on a German camp they had found nearby.

Paragraphs 9 to 20:
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