Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quiet Heroism

Bryan was tasked with “escort detail” for one of the Soldiers injured in last week’s shooting at Fort Hood.  More than anything, Bryan is acting as the liaison for this man and his family.  Only Bryan and a dedicated Public Affairs Officer (PAO) will be allowed to contact the family.  All other information will be relayed through Bryan.  And trust me, there’s been a constant stream of information.


As you can imagine, Bryan has acquired an increased knowledge of both the injured party and some of the surrounding circumstances.


By now you probably have heard the stories or at least read the brief biographical blips of the deceased.  Through the course of the last few days, I have learned stories that show these injured Soldiers also acted with bravery.  They shun the public eye and rest with their families, hoping for a return to “normal,” whatever that may be.  They are the quiet heroes.


Bryan’s escortee and another Soldier fled the shooter’s path.  They escaped into the commander’s office but still feared for their safety.  Bryan’s escortee broke the window and both men slipped outside unnoticed by the shooter.  They then began collecting other escapees and herding them to a safe location.  Due to the adrenalin surge, Bryan’s escortee didn’t even notice he was bleeding until a first responder pointed it out.  He reluctantly allowed himself to be stitched up – he had multiple lacerations on his hands from the window escape.


As an aside, this was Bryan’s escortee’s first day on the job (not new to Fort Hood, just to the brigade).  He had just picked up his office key that morning.  It’s safe to say that he has had a "trial by fire" introduction to his new position.


I heard another tale that made me chuckle, even in the face of such tragedy.  A young Soldier was helping barricade a conference room with chairs.  The room’s occupants heard the weapon fire at the door and then the Soldier cried out incredulously, “I’ve been shot!”


He then reached down and plucked the bullet out of his chest. (!!!!)


“Oh, I guess I shouldn’t have done that,” he was heard to say as the blood began to pour forth.


Apparently, the bullet lost most of its momentum when it smashed through the door.  By the time it crashed into the Soldier’s ACU zipper, it was already mostly flattened.


The Soldier is recovering nicely and was released from the hospital over the weekend.



From what I can tell, the military is trying to take care of its own.  Meals are being arranged; personal drivers are available too, as needed.  Battalions are banding together to offer support, both physical and mental.  Unfortunately, there is some turmoil as the various groups try to assist the injured and their families.  There’s not a lot of continuity or communication between various parties and it’s often up to the escort to try and straighten things out and prevent duplication.  In this instance, I can see how the military is similar to a large family, full of faults and folly but bound together in love and support for one another.



I’ve learned recently that though the media sees the military full of crazies and potential PTSD sufferers, reality is quite different.  There is a quiet force in the military moving forward, fulfilling their duties, yes, but moving beyond the call of the job.  They’re not motivated just by some sort of patriotism but often something higher, a sense of duty to their fellow man.  The three fallen will be honored tomorrow, but I want to remember more.  I want to honor those who were injured, many of them in the midst of acts of bravery.  I want to honor those in the affected units – their hearts are heavy yet life doesn’t slow for them to grieve.  I want to honor those supporting units – though the grief is not their own, they are lending help and care.  There are many quiet heroes who would deflect the public eye.  “Just doing my job” I’m sure they’d say. 

You all have my thoughts and prayers and thanks. 


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