June 16, 2010

Real American Heroes

The blogs were abuzz yesterday about Gary Faulkner, the California man who has been trying to track down Osama bin Laden in Pakistan:

The current trip was roughly Mr. Faulkner's sixth to Pakistan since 2002, Dr. Faulkner said. The physician said he drove his brother to the airport, and that Mr. Faulkner wasn't carrying any weapons when he boarded the plane. "He did not have a sword, although that is his weapon of choice in Pakistan," said Dr. Faulkner, who said he thought his brother obtained the sword in Pakistan.

Folks, you cannot make this kind of awesomeness up.

But I want to briefly share a story from another American hero, one my friend D.J. Skelton told me I could blog about on Monday night as we shared a few rounds of beer. D.J. was horrifically wounded as a platoon leader in Fallujah, in 2004, when he tried to stop an RPG with his chest, and after serving as a company commander in TRADOC and on Adm. Mullen's staff on wounded warrior issues, he is about to leave DC in attempt to get back into the fight. As we were still on our first beer, I mentioned that it appeared as if he had his eye socket -- the one with his fake eye -- sewn partially shut. He said he had and then proceded to tell me why:

So I am in Fallujah a few weeks ago and, like an idiot, I sit down into the hell hole of a UH-60. [Readers: the "hell hole" of a UH-60 Blackhawk is the right rear seat, where the wind is particularly vicious when the doors are open.] As I'm sitting there this blast of sand comes in, and out pops my eye, which bounces out of the heliciopter. Well, I start cursing up a storm and flailing about, and the pilot comes on the radio and asks me what's wrong. I tell him, "G********, I just lost my second f****** eye to this m*****f****** city!" We then landed in Balad, and the first thing I had them do after popping another eye in was to sew my socket partially shut.

Gang, anyone who knows D.J. knows he has dozens of stories crazier than that one. And we here at the blog wish him the best as he transitions out of DC and back to Big Army. And if D.J. needs anyone to walk alongside him on his journey, well, I'm thinking there is a kindred spirit in Pakistani custody at the moment who might make a good battle buddy.