remember an incident that happened over in the P.I. and I put a guy in
for the Airman's Medal. I wish we could get the names right and the
outcome of the metal awarded.
The handlers were on their way to post on a third shift riding in the
back of a duce and a half, posting in the sector for the Base
Commander's house and the POL area. I want to say Hedrick was driving
the posting truck and lets say probably a little too fast and he hit one
of the speed bumps in front of the Officer's Club hard, bouncing the
handlers in the back of the truck like a cheap ride at a county fair.
One of the handlers (can't remember the name) had a cap from a slap
flare stuck in the bottom of his holder from the previous night's issue
and with the newly issued flare in the holder the proper way meant the
flare was basically armed and ready to fire.
When bounced he landed back on the hard wooden seat and ignited the
flare. He was wearing his rain gear, as were most handlers that night.
The ignited rocket was caught under the gear and within seconds of
setting off the white phosphorus flare source.
All the handlers panicked, not to say what the poor damn handler had
going through his mind. As some were unassing the truck in any manner,
there was the other unknown handler sitting in the forward part of the
rear of the truck. He rushed to the stricken handler through unmuzzled
biting dogs and scared shitless handlers to come to his aid. Once
getting there, he threw the panicked handler to the bed of the truck,
ripped off his web and rain gear and freed the rocket from his clothing,
kicking the flare off the rear of the truck as it ignited. The handler
that had the flare go off in his clothing received minor burns and the
rescuing handler had some minor dog bites and minor burns to his hands.
If the handler had not come to the aid of the other handler we could
have had a dead or seriously injured handler on our hands. That is the
kind of guys we worked with. I wish I could remember their names and the
outcome of the award. I know I had to battle the Operations Officer
over submitting him for the Airman's Medal. He wanted to submit him for
a Commendation Medal. I told him all the coffee drinkers in his back
office would get Commendation Medals when they left the P. I. he
deserved a much higher medal than that. I wish via our contacts we could
fill in the missing pieces, names and the award finally issued.