Archive for september 11

A Significant Highlight Of Service

Posted in Army, Awesome, Best, History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2011 by BrainRants

COL(RET) Rick Rescorla, USA

To my readers:  I am sure that you grown adults have seen some of the major motion pictures for the past tens or year so.  If you have seen “We Were Soldiers” with Mel Gibson, then you’ve seen the movie narrative of the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, the first significant battle with the Viet Cong using the Air Cavalry doctrine, engaged with the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1/7 CAV, MG George Armstrong Custer’s old unit.

One of the company commanders (and it is difficult to discern them in the  movie) is a representation of Mr. Rick Rescorla. His wiki bio is found here.  At any rate, this man was a veteran of war in Rhodesia with the British Army, who later emigrated to the United States and served very honorably in the United States Army, to include the Ia Drang with the 1/7 CAV under then-LTC Hal Moore.*  In the battle, Mr. Rescorla cooly kept his company together in the face of over a regiment (meaning in English: outnumbered over 4 – 6 to 1) of Viet Cong soldiers.

You may be wondering why these facts are important.  The fact is, Mr. Rick Rescorla served his nation – his adopted one – until the day he died on 11 September, 2001.  Mr. Rescorla was under the employ of Dean Witter / Morgan Stanley when the two jets hit the Twin Towers.  Mr. Rick Rescorla sacrificed his life in the 9/11 attack, and he is credited by some sources with saving upward of 2000 other lives by his cool demeanor, steady action, and firm commitment to duty while assisting with the Twin Towers’ evacuation before they collapsed.  Just as he did in the Ia Drang, I would add.  Unfortunately for our nation, Mr. Rescola died performing this last, selfless act.  I could say he had more than adequate preparation over thirty years ago, and executed his Last Full Measure of Duty flawlessly if I were qualified to judge.

So what exactly am I attempting to convey to you, Mr. or Mrs. devoted reader of my blog?  To answer that, think about the links I provided and the story I just relayed.  All of it is real.  All of it really happened, thirty – and then – ten years past.  This heroic individual was willing to lead Americans into battle, and did so with valor.  On down the road, Mr. Rescorla did so again, for a people not of his own origin, and for a belief in a set of principles that in this day our own politicians tend to ignore.

I am not a religious person.  I have my own, unique set of beliefs.  I do believe, however, that Mr. Richard Rescola, late of England, lately (at least ten years ago) of our United States of America, will enjoy a true warrior’s death and reward.  I have no idea what that might entail, but I aspire to it someday.  I trust that Mr. Rescola now enjoys the rewards of service in whatever great beyond awaits those of us who serve.  Call it Valhalla if you like, Heaven, or Nirvana.  I know of no other examples of British subjects sacrificing themselves in this way for our Nation since the Revolutionary War, though I’m sure it has happened between then and now.  If you wish to know of the stuff that heroes are made, look no further than Mr. Richard Rescola.

I have thought of him today, on 9/11 as should we all.

*I had the honor of working with General (Ret) Moore’s son,  COL (Ret) Dave, in my current duty here in Kansas.  I see much of what little I know of General Moore in his son, and none of that comes from the motion picture.

9/11: Fly The Flag Today

Posted in Best, History with tags , , , , , , , on September 11, 2011 by BrainRants

This post won’t use the ‘humor’ category or tag because there’s nothing funny at all about today.  If you have lived under a rock for the past ten years, you probably still know that this is the tenth anniversary of the terror attack on September 11th, 2001.

Someday reporters will do featurelets about “where were you on 9/11” much like they do for the JFK assasination and well they should.  I remember the day clearly.  It was Tuesday.  I was a captain, and was enjoying a little exercise in the gym at Fort Irwin.  I had just stepped off the treadmill when my First Sergeant (“Rock”) grabbed me and pulled me over to a live CNN broadcast on a TV.  We speculated that perhaps an errant pilot had made a very grave mistake.  I climbed in my Blazer, and by the time I had completed the 3-minute drive back to my room, the United States was clearly headed to war.  As I cleaned up, dressed, and ate, I watched the towers burn, then fall.  Di, at the time my girlfriend, was visiting.  She said perhaps she ought to leave early; I replied that I doubted she’d be going anywhere soon.  I was right: Fort Irwin, like every military base world-wide, shut down and inbound traffic backed up from the gate all the way back to I-15, twenty-eight miles away.  Rumors of a concurrent attack on D.C. turned out to be half-true.  As I was briefed on the events, the Pentagon burned.  Much later, we learned of the selfless, heroic efforts of the Flight 93 passengers, who became the first warriors to strike a blow back for America.  We all spent the night trying to get in touch with military friends – just to make sure.

We have been at the prosecution of the War on Terror now for ten years.  This equates to just under one-quarter of my life, over one-half of my Army career, and a month and a few days longer than my marriage.  Had Di and I been able to have kids together, s/he would be in grade school now and not know any other condition of existence.  We all hear and read a lot of material debating the rightness, wrongness, duration, and direction of the war, and in our Republic, this is good.  I have heard firsthand the inequities dealt our veterans after Viet Nam, and I allow myself to think that perhaps the greatest good we derived from that scarring was the ability, as a people, to condemn the war while simultaneously supporting the Soldier who fights it.

This essay for today is not about rightness or wrongness.  I have a unique perspective on the war by default, and most of that perspective was a front-row seat.  At other times, I was playing the game.  On one hand, it is somewhat sad that barely 3% of the population bears the burden of defending the other 97%.  On the other hand, it gives me a great deal of pride to be part of a military so capable, so powerful, and so lethal that this lopsided condition is possible.  Every coin has two sides.

Today is Sunday, September 11th, 2011.  Set aside your agreements or disagreements and fly our Flag.  Fly it because of what you believe.  Fly it in spite of what you think.

Fly it because some things are worth remembering.