STORY BY STEVE RICHEY
Tom G. was a born soldier. He was quick-witted,
athletic, had great judgment, made great decisions, and had great follow through. He was
picked to blow up bombs that didn't go off on impact.
The 'copters would be flying around after a B-52 attack and often would see a bomb that
didn't explode. They would mark the place the bomb was located and often, Tom would be
given the job of going out and blowing it up.
The chopper would drop Tom off a half mile or so away from the bomb, he would hot foot it
over to it, set a charge on it, and head off to the pick up point, clearing the area
before the charge exploded the bomb.
On this particular day, one of our Captains wanted to go along. Tom advised him against
it, not wanting to have anyone else with him. One guy can move quicker and without being
seen a lot better than two. The Captain insisted on going along.
They flew out and as they got near the area where the bomb was, Tom got ready to rappel
out of the 'copter. The Captain too began to get ready. Tom noticed he was all thumbs and
offered to help, but the Captain barked at him and insisted, he knew how to rappel. Tom
finally gave up and left well enough alone.
They got to the drop off point and Tom checked the Captain out one last time. Each was out
on the skid of the copter, ready to rappel down. Tom noticed the Captain had only taken
one wrap of the rope around his D ring instead of the needed two wraps. Tom knew if he
offered his help again, the Captain would only rebuke him, so he just yelled, "Let me
get on the ground before you start down," to be heard over the 'copter and the
Captain nodded he would. Tom didn't want to get half way down and be hit by a falling
object, the Captain.
Tom hopped up and out away from the 'copter, easing himself down the rope, landed softly,
disconnected from the D ring and motioned for the Captain to come down. Within twenty
feet, the Captain was coming down to the ground so fast it was damn near a free fall.
There was smoke coming off his hands. Tom said he could hear him scream from the pain,
over the sound of the hovering 'copter. He hit the ground hard and Tom helped him out of
the ropes and got him on his feet. His hands were burned badly. There wasn't time to do
much then. The 'copter was away, with the bomb needing his attention and there could be
bad guys in the area.
Tom led out, the Captain following, both hands in the air to keep from touching anything.
Tom got to the bomb, planted the charge, and then led out to the pick up point. They made
it back to the 'copter and flew back into base camp. The Captain went straight to the
All the next week, we'd go out of our way to walk in front of the Captain to salute him,
just to see his big ole gauze hand come up in the air. He had them both bandaged.
We knew it hurt, but often arrogant officers got away with their superior arrogant crap
and this time, one hadn't.
He was the same officer that got 4 vehicles stuck checking the perimeter wire, but that's
a another story in itself.
Originally posted on 1st Cavalry Association
by, and included here with permission from Steve Richey.
ęSteve Richey, 2003-2009, All Rights
E-Mail to Steve Richey: firstname.lastname@example.org