Sunday, February 25, 2007

Rambo With a Big Red Pipe

I came across an interesting article today while reading the 150 or so articles that flow into my google reader each day. You can read some of the articles I share here.

Via Vokda Pundit, I read this:

I was a little skeptical when the following tale hit my inbox yesterday, at the end of a long chain of "FW:" prefixes:
Hi everyone. I'm still alive but freezing my tail off. We got 8 inches of snow last week and it reached 5 degrees below zero that night. That's not why I'm e-mailing though.
You may have heard about a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul last Thursday. It was at one of our FOB's (Forward Observation Bases) about 27 miles from here.

But the real story is why no one was killed. We employ several thousand Afghans on our various bases. Not to mention the economy that is fed by the money these locals are making. Some are laborers and builders, but some are skilled workers. We even have one Afghan that just became OSHA qualified, the first ever. Some are skilled HVAC workers.

Anyway, there is this one Afghan that we call Rambo. We have actually given him a couple of sets of the new ACU uniforms (the new Army digital camouflage) with the name tag RAMBO on it. His entire family was killed by the Taliban and his home was where our base currently resides. So this guy really had nowhere else to go.

He has reached such a level of trust with US Forces that his job is to stand at the front gate and basically be the first security screening. Since he can't have a weapon, he found a big red pipe. So he stands there at the front gate in his US Army ACU uniform with his red pipe. If a vehicle approaches the gate too fast or fails to stop he slams his pipe down on their hood... He's like the first line of defense.

Last Thursday at 0930 hrs a Toyota Corolla packed with explosives and some Jack Ass that thinks he has 72 Virgins waiting for him approached the gate. When he saw Rambo he must have recognized him and known the gig was up. But he needed to get to the gate to detonate and take American lives. So he slams his foot on the gas which almost causes the metal gate to go up but mostly catches on the now broken windshield.

Rambo fearlessly ran to the vehicle, reached thru the window and jerked the suicide bomber out of the vehicle before he could detonate and commenced to putting some red pipe to his heathen ass. He detained the guy until the MP got there. The vehicle only exploded when they tried to push it off base with a robot but know one was hurt.

I'm still waiting for someone to give this guy a medal or something. Nothing less than instant US citizenship or something. A hat was passed around and a lot of money was given to him in thanks by both soldiers and civilians that are working over here.

I guess I just wanted to share this because I want people to know that it's working over here. They have tasted freedom. This makes it worth it to me.

Now, that's a great story. As soon as I read it, I wanted to post it up here. Problem was, I'd been burned enough times by feel-good emails that I wasn't comfortably just doing a cut-and-paste without checking around a little.

So I send a copy to my brother-in-law, who spent a year in Afghanistan himself recently. He checked around and came up with the email address of the officer who'd signed the original mail (I've deleted his name from this post, but sent him a copy of the permalink; if he tells me he'd like to be identified here, I'll be happy to do so). I dropped that officer a note, asking if he could confirm that he was the author and whether the "Rambo" story was true.

Boy, did he. Here's his response:

"It is very true. The President even mentioned it in his press conference last week."

That sent me scurrying to Google, and sure enough, Bush recounted the story in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute on February 15 (it's towards the end of the transcript).

I remembered blogging about the story here. The relevant section follows:
I want to tell you an interesting story about an Afghan security office at Camp Phoenix near Kabul. This fellow has worked at this base for four years -- nearly four years. His job was to guard the front gate and screen cars before they are allowed to approach a U.S. military checkpoint. He is very popular with our troops -- people who have gotten to know him like him a lot. They appreciate his courage and his personality and they call him "Rambo." (Laughter.) Must have been a lot for the Afghan citizen to be called "Rambo," but that's what they call him.

One day Rambo was on duty, a car loaded with explosives tried to crash through the front gate -- they were attempting to get to our troops. This fellow did not hesitate, he jumped in the car and he prevented the terrorist from exploding the device. He saw somebody who was about to harm our citizens, our troops -- he then jumps into the car and stops the attack. A U.S. Army sergeant then responded, helped him pull the guy out of the car.

One of our U.S. soldiers who was there said this, he said, "He saved our lives. I promised him I'd name my firstborn son after him." The guy is hoping for a boy.

It's a human story. It's a story that speaks of courage and alliance, respect for life. To me it's a story that says these people in Afghanistan want to do what is necessary to survive and succeed, and it's in our interest to help them.

Neat story. I liked the soldier's version a little better... nothing like a big red pipe to complete the picture.

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