Today there was a news program on the nightly news about a Colonel I met when I was in the Army 25 years ago. Boy the years have flown by. There were two colonels I was really impressed with. Colonel Silvasy and Colonel Howard. They were commanders that lead by example.
I was attached to the Special Forces School in Ft. Bragg. I was a parachute rigger (I packed parachutes) for the trainees and instructors that were part of the school. It was kind of a neat job because we got to jump out of all the different aircraft that the Special Forces used to jump out of.
We jumped out of small Twin Otter planes, all sorts of helicopters and off course the C-130’s and C-141’s. I always said the C-141’s were the best. You walked out the door and it was like being sucked out with a vacuum and then all of a sudden you were gently floating down. Helicopter jumps I could never really get used to. I always thought I was going to hit the runners underneath the helicopter.
Well anyway back to my story. Colonel Howard as a green beret in Vietnam. He was recommended three times for the medal of honor. He was shot up pretty bad and survived. From the story that I heard the Viet Cong had come in, looked at him laying there, and left him for dead.
He’s the guy in the center. He even looks tough there.
When I had met him he was like a living legend. He was about 45 -50 years old and he was still going strong. He was the Special Forces school commander. He used to load up his military back pack and hike to the schools training grounds. It was about 20 miles away. Now remember he was a Colonel. Nobody made him do this. He could probably run about 80% of the trainees and instructors into the ground at the time. He was a tough old coot even back then.
Seeing him on tv hunched over a little made me a think how lucky we are. Colonel Howard is one of those guys that dedicated his life to the military to protect this country. He was part of the unpopular war but he still did his duty. He fulfilled his mission above and beyond what many people would do. My hat’s off to Colonel Howard. I salute you and all the Medal of Honor winners. May you and your families enjoy life together.
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