Monday, April 25, 2005

Special Forces Anniversary

I am reminded by Air Force Voices and No Angst Zone about the anniversary of Desert One…perhaps a low point in US military history, perhaps a moment in time that helped re-define the Special Forces and the rest of the military.

When I was Instructor at The Basic School one of my bosses…Bubba, no surprise…a helo guy, often invited his many friends to our formal events. It was there I met a tall helo pilot, slightly disfigured with a very different type of burn. Although somewhat discernable, it was not as horrible to look at, as a large third degree burn would be, but distinguishable nonetheless. It was a burn he endured, as he was med-evacced from Desert One. Although he escaped his flaming helo, he was covered with JP-5 (Aviation Fuel). And though he was stripped naked and doused with all available water, there was not enough to prevent the resultant chemical burns.

As a Captain, I would listen to this story from Mess Night to Mess Night. Never getting bored. Never turning away. For his story was about the services working together…pushing to the very limit of their individual and equipment physical limitations in order to strive for the most noble of objectives…freeing Americans from tyrannical imprisonment. They endured great risks in training, and certainly during the execution. And although this Colonel would tell the story, warts and all, it was always a story about cooperation, camaraderie, danger, intrepidness, and heroism.

Although it resulted in tragedy, it also gave birth to the military we know today…Special Forces and beyond. It is a legacy to be proud of.

1 comment:

Mixed Humor said...

I was just a kid when the Iranian hostage situation unfolded, and the subsequent efforts to rescue them went awry, but can still recall it very well along with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

That was a tough time for America, where Carter looked beaten, helpless, defeated and weak. Thankfully Ronald W. Reagan restored much of that pride and patriotism.

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