Category Archives: Heroes Among Us

Hun Reunion


Posted by  lex, on April 16th, 2011

The Collings Foundation has a new war horse in the stable, and gave an old war horse a ride in her.

(05-14-18 – the video was embedded – here is the link – Ed )

Col. Day had 5000 hours in his log book, and 4500 of them in fighters before he volunteered for combat duty in Vietnam. He stood up the first “Fast FAC” squadron to fly high risk forward air control missions, and was shot down on his 65th sortie up north. Badly injured in the ejection, he nevertheless managed to evade his captors and cross the DMZ back in to South Vietnam, becoming the only American POW to escape from North Vietnam. Recaptured by Viet Cong just miles from a US base, Col. Day spent five years and seven months as a guest of the Hanoi regime, who broke his body but not his spirit.

He is the only person ever to have been awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Air Force Cross.

I hope you enjoyed the flight, colonel. And a tip o’ the tam to the Collings Foundation for setting it up.

Editors Note – 05-14-18 I wrote about the Misties awhile back. An amazing group of pilots. 

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Good Dog

Posted by Lex, on January 17, 2011


King Cole was a field trial-bred black lab who died a long way from home:

Cole was born for sport, but died in battle. The spawn of two champion black Labrador retrievers, he was bread for field trials, a competitive sport in which dogs make complicated retrievals at the direction of their owners.

But destiny had other plans for him. He was donated to the Marine Corps and spent the last of his days saving lives by sniffing out improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan.

In Cole’s last moments, as Cpl. Brian Holm’s three-man unit searched for mines along a dangerous road near Delaram, in Helmand province, the black Lab looked over his shoulder at Holm, his handler. Holm later told his wife, Brittany, that he will never forget the look on Cole’s face. It seemed to say, “I won’t let them hurt you.”

Then the explosion hit.

A command detonated mine, apparently. I hope they got the guy who pulled the kite string.

Good Dog

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An Old Letter

Posted by Lex, on January 17, 2011


On an appropriate day:

My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

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Task Force Thor

Posted by Lex, on September 3, 2010

Another job I wouldn’t want:

“My main goal is to find IEDs before they find us. If I get hit, that’s part of the job,” said Joe, who prays before the mission, during the mission and after the mission. “The vehicle is made to get blown up. The convoy’s first defense is my Husky.”

The Husky is built to withstand a 2,000-pound explosion, which would be more than enough to take out a medium-sized building. Two of Joe’s friends and fellow Husky operators hit IEDs, and both walked away intact.

Joe’s platoon, which is part of Task Force Thor, prays together in a huddle before beginning a mission. A typical operation lasts eight hours, but some run to 24 hours of slow, tense driving. Thor is responsible for clearing IEDs from the main routes in the south, primarily in Kandahar province, including Highway One, the arterial road that circles Afghanistan.

“It’s like a suspense movie that lasts eight hours,” said 2nd Lt. Joseph Powell, of Murrells Inlet, the 23-year-old leader of the South Carolina National Guard platoon. “It’s kinda like being on edge all that time, but it lasts so long it’s like a boring on edge.”

Task Force Thor

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Only Lex knows…

If the heroine of SWA 1380, Tammie Jo Shults, is the same female naval aviator in Lex’s story.

I have come to realize that there is a lot of synchronicity in the world, of which only a small part is known to us.

In both cases, they were among the first female naval aviators in an FA-18…

While Tammie wasn’t allowed in combat, she was good enough to fly in an aggressor squadron.

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Cool As A Cucumber


Tammie Jo Shults, for taking her wounded Southwest 737 with a shredded engine safely back. She was apparently one of the first female FA-18 drivers. She gets the plane back safely on the ground; then goes into the cabin to talk with each of the passengers.

Listen to her talk with ATC – you’d think it was just another normal flight.


H/T to xbradtc

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April 1, 2008

By Lex, on April 1, 2008


There’s a phrase often used in the service for acts of selfless sacrifice – it’s called, “Jumping on the grenade,” and usually it’s a metaphor for someone who “takes one for the team.”

Sometimes – very rarely – we are exposed to the kind of grace that renders all metaphors moot. The kind of act which demonstrates the inadequacy of the symbols and sounds we use to convey meaning. Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael Monsoor performed such an act of transcendant honor at such absolute personal cost:

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