Saturday, August 1, 2009

Yoiks and AWAY!

I have been debating posting this as I don't want to be talking ill of an officer in another unit, but I can't hold out any longer.

This is an example of someone who helps to give new Lieutenants their reputation and reaffirms the old adage that you shouldn't try to show off how cool you are.

For anyone who ever watched the cartoons on Saturday morning and saw the Bugs Bunny Roadrunner show, you will recognize the title line from Robin Hood Daffy. This was the line Daffy shouted as he leap from a tree on a vine and promptly smashed into another tree. When I heard this story, the cartoon popped into my head and I could not get it out.

We have a training event in the first week that is a rappel tower. Nothing you really ever do in the military (unless you are in the Air Assault), but its a good gut check and helps motivate new soldiers. You have to do rope bridges, jump into a cushion from a height and rappel down a tower.

When you rappel you should have the following: a set of gloves, a belay man (runs a safety rope) and someone above you to make sure you don't get tangled. You can rappel several ways including a method called "Austrailian" which you are facing your front straight down the tower and you basically run down the side of the building (commandos use this a lot). When done correctly it looks very cool.

Of course this story involves it NOT being done correctly.

We had a LT who wanted to show off to the new soldiers. So he decided to do Australian down the tower. Well, there was no other cadre available to help so he had no belay man. He also discovered that they had not brought all the gear out yet so he only had ONE GLOVE. But no problems there. Last issue was that the rope was wet from some rain. Anyone who has done this should be whincing by now.

Well, the LT lowers himself into position and does his first bound. He tries to pull the rope to his waste (which will usually stop your slide down the rope), and discovers that the wet rope is sliding through his ungloved hand and won't stop. He has no belay man to use the safety rope to stop him so he has to hold on or he goes freefall three stories into a sandpit. He is able to slow himself enough to fastrope face first into the ground.

Minus most of the skin on his right hand.


His failure to save cost him all cool points, a trip to the hospital with 3rd degree burns, and a honorable mention in the Darwin Awards since he lived.

This was quite literally a "Yoiks and AWAY" moment. He jumped off and just went straight down for the "CRUMP" and dustcloud out of a Wiley Coyote cartoon. IN front of 200 new privates and the cadre that showed up right as he was starting.


  1. I can even see the Bugs Bunnies hopping around his head as he got up in a stupor. Or the Gremlins laughing and swinging hammers.

  2. At least he wasn't conscious to see it?

  3. Nope, he was wide awake when he hit and through the whole thing to include first aid, ambulance and getting to talk to the BC in the hospital.

    The only thing missing was the parachute popping open after he hit.