Death Quotes: If anything goes wrong, don’t scream, don’t panic. Stand up and quietly walk towards the bright light.
I was out with my Army EOD Team in Bosnia collecting the day’s UXO when a nine year old boy came up to our vehicles and asked for a “lunch bucket.” He was looking to see if we had any MRE’s, Meal Ready to Eat or any other food we could spare.
The previous day we had conducted a weapons storage site inspection and confiscated some munitions that were in bad shape and needed to be disposed of. There was a hand grenade that was old and the explosives were beginning to decay exuding out the top.
Financial Suicide: Ineptocracy
(in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers. - Thank you Angus!
One of the guys had placed the grenade in an empty MRE bag to keep the explosives from getting on us. Unfortunately, the grenade didn’t get blown up but stayed in the vehicle.
I was standing next to the vehicle when the boy was given what was thought to be an MRE but turned out to be a hand grenade. The boy reached in and pulled out the grenade.
You may think that a nine year old doesn’t know how a grenade works and maybe that’s true in this country. Not Bosnia! The boy rolled the grenade over and was reaching for the pin!We were in three vehicles and had guys spread out looking for UXO. I don’t believe he had the arm to throw it far enough away to not hit one or more guys with frag.
As he was reaching for the pin, I made my Super Bowl winning touchdown catch, memories of Jackie Smith of the Cowboys dropping his in the end zone, my hand swallowing his hand and the grenade preventing him from pulling the pin.
I didn’t know if I wanted to spank the kid or shoot him. I did neither as he ran off.
Fast forward 45 minutes.
Death Quotes: There’s only 2 things in the middle of the road…a yellow stripe and a dead opossum!
Done with the excitement of the day, we took the days catch for disposal. I was setting the perimeter down the road from our demo pit with my translator while one of the guys built the shot.
When you dispose of munitions, you place the bang on top of the UXO, letting the explosive wave blow the munitions down into the ground.
Not today! The guy placing the shot put the C4 down first placing the ordnance on top.
We called “Fire in the hole, fire in the hole, fire in the hole!”The shot went and within a second I heard a moped coming down the road. “That’s no moped! That’s Frag!”
The ordnance had functioned as designed. Coming right at us, I did a hip check to the right, the frag just missing me at waist level, bouncing off our Hummer and hitting my translator in the elbow.
The frag slowed enough from the distance and bouncing off the Hummer that it only cut my translators elbow up but not deep enough to be a worry. His jacket was toast though!
Death Quotes: It’s not a sport if you can’t get killed doing it!
All Navy EOD are Airborne qualified. I attended Ft. Benning’s 3 weeks jump training in 1996. How they cram 3 days of training in to 3 weeks is beyond me!
In 1998 my team and I went to Rota, Spain for RAPTS, Ram Air Parachute Training School, to learn to fly squares. We jump squares using static line as well as for free fall.
As I’m the heaviest on the team, I jump out first, turn around to gather up the team and then lead us to the DZ.
The approach is fairly easy. Fly downwind toward the DZ but off to one side. You can fly fast running with the wind as the parachute has a forward speed of about 22 knots. Add that to your wind speed to get your true speed.
When you’re past the DZ a distance that is relative to your wind speed, you turn 90 degrees to get in line with your mark, usually a “T” on the DZ. Turn another 90 degrees so that you’re now flying into the wind similar to that of an airplane. Take the 22 knots minus the wind speed to get your true speed which is now slow enough to land safely.
Apply the brakes by simultaneously pulling your toggles and you should look really cool landing gently and upright. Well, not this time.
I had jumped out of the bird and turned around only to find that I was the highest instead of the lowest man in the stack. I still can’t figure that out other than the plane was descending as we were exiting the plane.
I fly to the back of the pack as I’m the highest. Problem: Gravity Sucks! As we’re running with the wind, I become the lowest man in the stack but I’m still in the back.
Translation: I’m too far short to make my two 90 degree turns to land running into the wind. As I look down, I see the highway outside the base and the barbwire topped fence around the base. Neither a great option.
To make matters worse, we’re jumping full equipment. I have a built up ruck that is attached at my waist and connected with a 30 foot line that I’ll drop before landing.
I’m falling fast due to running with the wind and my weight. To avoid the highway and the perimeter fence, I aim for the DZ.I drop my ruck and hit the brakes to try to slow down as I’m doing about 33 knots relative to the ground!
Unfortunately, I hit the brakes too soon causing me to fall a bit faster in altitude. Releasing my breaks, I try to hook turn into the wind. When you release your brakes, like a car, you speed up. In a parachute you speed up and fall down.
At this moment, my ruck hits the ground anchoring me to that spot.
Let’s review. I’m anchored, trying to hook turn, accelerating down and with the wind! This is not good!
I remember back to the good ol days at Ft. Benning. Feet and knees together.
I try to twist sideways as soon as my toes reach the ground. I land feet, knees, face! Tumble, tumble, ouch, Mother!
As I’m sprawled out on the ground beginning to think about if I’m alive or what’s broken, my boss walks up and says, “Oh! You’re alive!”
I had heard of the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times” some time prior and found a Chinese tattoo artist that was going to put that with a double headed dragon biting the saying on my back while I was in Rota.
Enough pain for one day. “Cancel my tattoo appointment.” I answered my boss.
Death Quotes: "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." -Steve Jobs
Death Quotes: If you’re not willing to die training to do what you love then it ain’t worth playing.
Death Quotes: Go Hard, Go Fast or Go Home!
Death Quotes: If you die we split your gear!
Death Quotes: Friendly fire is not friendly!
Death Quotes: Oops!
Death Quotes: Guys drink, something gets said, guns are drawn. It's all good!
Death Quotes: You can't miss fast enough to lose a gun fight! Thanks Ben!
Death Quotes: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John
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