Things to read...

If time is short, I'd suggest reading at LEAST The Prologue and Legend of The Pinto Bean Posts!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Opinions and derierres have much in common...

Well everybody, today has been an interesting day, to say the least! I made it to Bar Harbor, had a big time, took a lot of pics, and thought on what i'd like to post tonight. However, a few turns of events has caused me to feel the need to address a little "issue". I mostly want to do this b/c I feel it's an attack on MY character, which may not be the best, but isn't THAT bad. Don't worry, this blog will NOT digress into arguments etc etc, and my Bah Hahbah (local accent) post will follow ASAP! Anyhow, here's the deal...

Today a couple of interesting things happened... I received an e-mail from the pilot of the other aircraft that we were escorting when we crashed, which may/may not have been rescinded. Anyhow, a bit later this comment is made on my post detailing the crash (Prologue):

"Task Force Knighthawk Soldier said...
Daniel is incorrect in stating that a Blackhawk was the cause for his crash. I was a part of Task Force Knighthawk during OEF VII and know for a fact that the accident investigation in no way implicated a Blackhawk or its crew. I'll leave it to Daniel to tell you all what the real findings of the investigation were. In any case, it was a tragic event and I wish him all the best in his new life."

Now a few things about this piss me off. First though let me say I may not have been clear in my telling of the version of the crash featured in "Prologue" that this is what I remember. It is also amazingly similar to what the other pilot remembers. Anyhow, with that said, it is only what WE remember. No footage exists etc etc etc of the crash, so all that's available are witness statements...

So back to it. First, if you are going to publicly refute someone on their statement, anonimity is NOT a good start. Secondly, given the command climate there at the time, I'd be willing to wager that it could have been witnessed by ten different people, and the "results" would be the same. Thirdly, if you have a copy of "the real findings" I would LOVE a copy! They should be right there next to your copy of the Area 51 report and the names of the shooters on the grassy knoll. I say this for a few reasons.

A: If you have a complete copy of the Safety Center findings, you could have them only by theft. The Army protects those to no end. I requested them under FOIA and was denied, and eventually drove to Ft. Rucker and demanded them, only to be met by a LTC JAG officer who calmly explained they are sealed. He then let me know what I COULD have, which was essentially a weather report for the day we crashed. I know flightfax listed the crash as due to "error on the part of the pilot on the controls (not me) in which the aircraft was put into an unrecoverable unusual attitude, resulting in a crash."

B: If you are referring to the collateral investigation, I have no clue. Again, the esteemed 2-10 AVN has never bothered to return any of my requests to see that, so I'd like a copy of that, too. Given that the usual Army method is "ok, you crashed so you will be the liars, and they didn't so they will be the truthtellers" I can reasonably assume what the result of that investigation is.

C: While i've been attempting to find out WHY i've never received a Purple Heart for injuries received due to a combat related accident (which CLEARLY qualifies according to the regulation) I was told by the Army Wounded Warrior liasion that the crash was listed as "due to mechanical failure while on a non-combat related flight". Now, if you were THERE, and if you were on the aircraft, then you SHOULD know we were inbound to clear a possibly hot landing zone of suspected insurgent action for an EOD crew to remove an IED. Now that sounds an AWFULLY lot like combat to me.

So now apparently there are more "real reasons" than I care to count. In the end I still maintain my side of the story. Given that not ONE single person from the unit involved in the accident (Blackhawk guys) bothered to ever so much as call me or send a single e-mail while I was in the hospital (except the flight surgeon), my respect for ANY information that comes from 2-10 AVN and TF Knighthawk is pretty slim. Nil, even. Perhaps if anyone who knew "what really happened" had bothered to contact me in the last two years, we wouldn't have this issue now, would we?

Finally, here is a copy of an e-mail I sent to my unit five days post crash. I was in a morphine haze and have very little recollection of sending it. Seems like even then I seemed to have remembered the Hawk turning in front of us. I also seem to have thought we were getting shot at, so maybe I was wrong.

"Hey man.... Treatment varies w/ hospitals... they nerarli killed me at one place. About dropped off gurney then drowning in own puke b/c of incompetance. St. louis is nice....on toTX tomorrow. Careful with them wall lockers still a good group of guys. Look in behind drawers and shit b/c i hide money and forget.... never knopw. My daD is pretty upset, as is the rest of my family, so i keep up the 'i'ts no big deal'' face to keep them happy...Anyhow be careful, and if anyone asks, Johnny did his BEST. /I rememeber haxk did a HUGR 90egree bank in front of us on short final.... Joknny rolled garder left toavoid and i saw some haji takin shots at us... we went in maybe 200m later. There was nothing he coulda done, and no one else seems tohave seen the shooter. No one seems to believe i saw him, but he was there plain as day.... Any... if anyone caes for my side of it, that's it... anyhow be careful's like i say...NO one plans on crashing that day.... take care brotha,m and get me pics of everyone!! And the crash site, too!!!!"

Anyhow, I'm sure you've noticed I've not once mentioned the names of the other crew. This is b/c if I have and will continue to do my best not to discredit the name of the others involved whether they were at fault or not. Perhaps while you are around, you can use your knowledge to figure out WHY my crash was listed as non-combat so I might receive that Purple Heart which I gave my hand for.

To all who are aggravated by this airing of dirty laundry here, my apologies. I just don't much care for the implication that I am a liar, or at best an unwitting deceiver. To whomever cares to post comments, if you are going to question me publicly, have the courage to stand behind your name. To the pilot who sent me the e-mail today, I'll gladly take you up on your offer of a beer if the offer still stands, but the e-mail I received today made it appear it was rescinded, so I don't know. To the rest of you, a teaser pic for the Bar Harbor post!


Dennis Morgan said...

Too bad someone had to post that publicly. What an ass. And not be man enough to use his name.
Keep to the higher ground it will all come out in the end.
Great stories, I read them every day. If you get to Colorado look me up. I got steaks for you and Rocky!

Ronster said...

Sorry if I started a shit storm. Im just a big fan of the military and noticed in Prologue that you didn't detail why the bird went down. It seems that the Hawk pilots may be watching your blog too. Let's hope one of them has the nuts to step up and let you know what they saw that day, even if it's off the record.
Im not sure there is much this civilian can do to obtain the records you have been looking for but feel free to contact me if you have some places to start. I'll send you an e-mail... and of course that offer of a filet with the family in Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati is still on the table.

Ron(ster) Papworth
Erlanger, KY

TheBronze said...

Daniel, What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong. Sometimes you just get the big green weenie and you have to make the best of it. Sorry to hear that Big Green did you dirty.
You know what happened. F*ck the haters!

Keep driving on, brother!

Anonymous said...

I hate to hear stuff like this, but only because I hate that it happens at all. I think it *should* be said and I'm glad you posted about it.

I'm looking forward to your book and hearing about more travel adventures!


Ky Woman said...

And if you get to Erlanger, KY, come on down to my neck of the woods. It's only 25 miles south via 'old roads'... Plenty of room for Rockstar to play with my Weinaramer. Might not have steak, but t'will be home cooked.

Have had great fun reading thru the archives of your trip. Stay safe out there. They give drivers license to "anyone"!

Aileen said...

I'm sorry to hear that someone is questioning/attacking you(supposedly with some base knowledge of the event)but chooses to take the cowardly way out by remaining anonymous. Thanks for sharing your comments on his post and hope that somehow, public interest as to why you haven't received the purple heart that you should have could possibly generate some action. Please post a method for letting our voices be heard when you have a slow day.

(still trying to figure out how to fix my paypal so I can send you some cash)

Anonymous said...

Typical Army BS. When I was at WRAMC I saw many similar things: units not taking responsibility for what happened to their soldiers, stalling/obfuscation by chains of command etc etc ad nauseum.

You were there. You went through it. Some in the Army love to play the blame game and do whatever it takes to cover their tail. You know the truth.

I salute you.