(Polk, Louisiana) The 82nd Airborne Division was on its periodic training
junket to Ft. Polk. One of the many items stressed at briefings before a
training mission of this proportion is the fact that there are many
untrained people running about the area, at all times of day and night, in
all kinds of vehicles, most of them large.
During the training we were reminded that when sleeping in the woods at
night, be sure to sleep at the base of a large tree. Drivers may or may
not be wearing night vision equipment, and may or may not be familiar with
the roads. Sleep next to a tree, and you will wake up in the morning.
Even the most misguided driver will avoid a large tree, thus assuring your
own safety. This reminder was repeated in light of recent events.
An Army Major had been assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division as an
Observer Controller. One night he decided to bed down on what he deemed
to be an unused old trail. Perhaps the random driver took a wrong turn in
the darkness, or perhaps he took a shortcut from point A to point B, but
somehow this driver found himself on a road with a few disconcerting bumps.
He continued to drive on.
A young private assigned as the Major's radio operator roused himself from
sleep--at the base of a large tree several feet from the trail--to discover
the body of his charge. One poor decision took the life of the Major--a
man with a college degree, a commision from Congress, and years of
responsibilities including reminding trainees to sleep away from roads.
He was pronounced DRT (Dead Right There).
Eric B: "What happened to the sergeant who was assigned to keep the major
out of trouble?"
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