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Alive Day

Wildman

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This is a phrase coined by HBO from what I know or them using it the first time I ever heard it used. It's meaning is that this can be a day of celebration like you celebrate your birthday. But your Alive Day is the day you were involved in a serious accident or something where you all most died. And since you survived if you choose you celebrate that day however you want.

So onto my story:


I know I have posted about this before but each year sometimes seems different. This year has had added challenges not becasue 16 years is a special number but becasue I have become an empty nester. My little girl (not so little anymore) left for college on 10 Sept. Just like many other things in my life I was a little shocked as to how much this affected me. Can't rightly say it has anything to do with it being my Alive Day or just that I'm now alone.

So as many know 16 years ago today at around 0630 my whole life changed for me in was I couldn't imagine. While conducting operations at the East Entry Control Point on LSA Anaconda I was wounded in what the military calls a Negligent Discharge. In civilian speak that means that someone accidently fired a weapon. I was 30-40 feet in front of a building that we had a M240B (replaced the M60) machine gun on to provide covering fire if the gate was ever attacked. The M240B fires a NATO 7.62mm round (.308) that is belt fed and is used on many different configurations in our military. A soldier who wasn't trained on this weapon was trying to load it when the weapon fired 9 rounds with one striking me in the right leg approximately 1.5-2" above my knee in my thigh. The round hit my femur which shattered, severed my femoral artery & damaged my perineal nerve to my lower leg. After being transported to the CSH medical facility to try and save my leg they did a saphenous vein graft off my leg & placed a external fixature to stabilize my femur.

I was medially retired from the military on 10 June 2006 wish was just 10 days shy of me having served 28 years in the military. I faired fairly well for about the first 6 years after my discharge but then my lower right leg started to have chronic pain that was a constant thing no matter if I was standing, sitting, laying down or walking. The pain became so great that around the 8 year mark I was more or less chair bound. I fought with the VA during this time trying to get them to consider amputating my right leg. Finally in 2016 my family doctor sent me to Harbor View in Seattle. In June of 2017 I met with a doctor at the Foot and Ankle clinic who agreed to amputate my lower right leg. IMHO him doing this saved my life as my health had been on a decline and I was over weight along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low testosterone & taking WAY too many pain medications.

On 14 May 2018 my lower right leg was removed and within 90 days of my amputation I was off all my pain medications. I got my first prosthetic on 7 July 2018 and was walking without crutches or a cane by the end of Aug. Just from finally being active again I lost weight and all my other health issues returned to normal.

I hit some other milestones after my amputation. 2 days short of 1 year post op I got my motorcycle endorsement back, I took a motorcycle trip to SD and on the return trip came thru Cody, WY and rode Bear Tooth Pass then headed north to Glacier National Park and rode the Going to the Sun road.

This year I have been working on my Jeep doing a rebuild of it since I had built it back in 2006 but then had to park it in 2010 due to some engine issues. I hadn't been able to work on it after parking it because of my pain levels. So I'm now 16 years since my parents got that phone call at 6 AM telling them that their son had been injuried but that he was going to be okay.

This is the M240B that I was shot with

240.jpg


The 9 rounds laying under it.

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The building that the machine gun was mounted on.

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The cement barrier that I was standing next to that was suppose to help protect me from incoming fire. Doesn't help any when it's coming from behind you.

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The middle divot is the round that went thru my leg.

barrier1.jpg



At Madigan Army Hospital on Ft Lewis (Now Now JBLM which mean Joint Base Lewis McChord)

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This is where the bullet came in the back of my leg.

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The front of my leg & the exit wound is where the stitches are at.

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My left leg where they took the vein out to repair the severed artery.

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The inside of my right leg. The upper incision is where they repaired the artery and the lower is where they cut it to help relieve the pressure from swelling.

MVC-478F.JPG



This is where they put a plate in my leg with 12 screws to hold my femur back together

MVC-476F.JPG


And then the outer lower part of my right leg where they cut to help with the swelling same as the inside.
From Wikipedia: Fasciotomy or fasciectomy is a surgical procedure where the fascia is cut to relieve tension or pressure commonly to treat the resulting loss of circulation to an area of tissue or muscle. Fasciotomy is a limb-saving procedure when used to treat acute compartment syndrome.

MVC-480F.JPG


This is a x-ray of my femur.

R legblack.jpg


I've posted pictures of my motorcycle before so I won't post them again and you can see my Jeep in my build thread.

Talking about this helps deal with everything so I hope none of you mind my sharing.

Back when this happened to me I was a active member on Jeepunlimted forum, Pirate and a local forum. Within 1 day of my being wounded a friend told someone else about what had happened and that person was a member of the local forum. They posted about me being wounded and the news traveled to Jeepsunlimted and Pirate. The out pouring of well wishes and concern was amazing and when I was finally able to get online it was a great spirit booster.

Later on when I could drive my Jeep again I bought a used Currie steering that had a bad TRE. Little did I know I couldn't replace it at the time.
@mrblaine say my post on Pirate asking about this and organized a group of people to buy me a new currectlync. This is me saying Thank You again.

I had 6 months of no weight bearing on my right leg but I didn't let that stop me from driving my TJ nor from working on it.

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I know this was a long post.
 

qslim

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Damn dude that's a hell of a story from the beginning to end and I'm glad the long road brought you to where you are now.

I gotta ask, what ever happened with the guy that was behind the gun?
 

JEEPCJTJ

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I've heard Alive Day mentioned a couple different times and wherever I heard it I figured it was some far left liberal style something that I didn't really care about.

Thanks for correcting me on that and THANK YOU FOR YOUR 28 YEARS. I'm also glad to hear how far you've come since then even though much of it didn't sound easy.
 
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Wildman

Wildman

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Thank you for your service sir, and welcome home.

Thank you
It’s a hell of thing and I’m glad you are here. It is good for you to share this with people to show what true strength is. It is an honor to know you and your story is an uplifting one. Thank you for your service and sacrifice for us.

Thanks man and can't wait to come down to Browns Camp
How you deal with this injury is inspiring.

Thank You
Damn dude that's a hell of a story from the beginning to end and I'm glad the long road brought you to where you are now.

I gotta ask, what ever happened with the guy that was behind the gun?

So you want the rest of the story?

I don't know how much anyone knows about how the Guard Bureau works but here is a short version.
Each state is tasked with standing up a unit (Brigade) that matches what the military wants. And each state is graded on how well they recruit personal and how well they are trained and perform each year. If a state has a serious incident report on their record this drops them down on a tier scale with 1 being the highest and 5 the lowest. If a unit has a serious incident report their status is lowered and the state doesn't receive as much funding until their status goes back up.

The soldier that shot me was a female soldier E-4 in rank. She had been trained on the SAW ( Squad Automatic Weapon) which fires a 5.56mm round which is the same as a M16/M4 and it looks similar to the M240B. Except that there is one major difference between the two other than caliber. And that is one is a open bolt weapon and the other is a closed bolt weapon.
So the personal that normally manned the M240B that morning were busy trying to get our M113 ( Armored Personal Carrier) running to go out and clear the road that came up to our gate. We cleared the road every morning for IED's before letting the Iraqi personnel come down the road and thru the check points at the gate. So we were running late and it was decided to send a foot patrol out instead. This soldier was temporally assigned to the gate for Ramadan as the command felt having more people at the gates during this month of prayer would be beneficial. So she was told to go up and be a spotter for the Designated Marksman on top of the building. I'd just moved one of my privates from the spot where I was shot and had sent him out with the patrol.

So this soldier looks over and sees the M240B not loaded and our status when we started operations was RED. Meaning you have a round in the chamber and the weapon on safe. So she thought that she would load this machine gun. Except she wasn't trained on it. So as she is trying to load it the bolt jammed becasue if you try to close the feed tray with the bolt in the wrong position it won't close and will seize the bolt because you have to force the feed tray cover closed.

#1 Rule in the military is that if you are not trained on a piece of equipment you don't touch it.
Mistake #1
#2 NEVER put your finger on the trigger unless you are engaging a target and clear what is beyond the target
Mistake #2
#3 NEVER EVER point a weapon at a person unless you mean to KILL THEM
Mistake #3

So rounds go off, I feel like someone hit the back of my leg with a sledge hammer and knocked me to the ground.
Once the firing stopped I wanted my reports. Any time you are in a engagement with the enemy you get a status report after.
I'm laying on the ground yelling for my ACE report and yelling for a medic at the same time. Lucky for me we had 2 medics at each gate. So they are working on me when I'm also being told what happened and why there was weapons fire. Now the only lucky part is that none of my troops were injuried.
I'm watching them working on my leg and this medic (cute blond) is covered up to her elbow in my blood. I got a complete oil change plus a few extra pints out of the deal. Now I was awake this whole time and cussing and talking.


So after any incident in the military there is always a investigation. In the Army it's called a 15-6 investigation. So the firearms experts from our BDE do their part and then a officer does his part. They blamed this whole thing on a BUNCH OF FUCKING BS excuses.

#1) Weapon was improperly mounted
#2) Weapon was dirty
#3) Barrel head space and timing wasn't set correctly

So this soldier goes in front of our Battalion Commander (BN) and he gets to choose what the punishment will be under UCMJ with a AR-15. Article 15 is like Captions Mast in the Navy.
My first BITCH is there is NOTHING in the AR15 about wounding and almost killing a fellow soldier. All she got the AR15 for was a negligent discharge.
So she get reduced in rank 2 grades with 1 grade suspended so she was now a E-3
1 months forfeiture of pay to be paid 50% for 2 months and 30 days of extra duty. Big woopy ding.
Extra duty was clean the BN head quarters each night for a month. We're in a fucking war zone.... Not like you can do much.
So the suspended reduction of 1 grade means that if you stay out of trouble for 6 months it comes off your record.

Now about 2 months before this two soldiers in our BN got caught fucking on guard duty. Funny story too.
But they went in from of the BDE commander for a General Courts Martial. So your telling me fucking on guard duty is a more serious offence than shooting another soldier?
Now the rest of the insult to injury goes like this. Within a year she had gotten her rank back and was now a E-4 again. Then 2 years later she get promoted to E-5 (Sargent). But come to find out her and a buddy falsified each others PT records so that they each could make E-5. During this whole thing she swore up and down that she never put her finger on the trigger! That's total BS. The M240B is one of the best medium duty machine guns the Army has ever used. You can roll it in a mud hole, pull it out slap a belt of ammo in it and it will fire. It can be fired from a bi-pod, tri-pod, door mount on a helicopter or coax'd on a M1 tank.

So none of the reasons they gave for it firing were true.
The next thing that bothered me was that she never came up to me and admitted she'd fucked up or anything close.
The one time she did talk to me all she said was " Sgt White you know I didn't mean to shoot you" that was IT!

Now all this is bad enough but then the next slap to the face happened. Becasue I had been sent out of country NAKED someone was tasked with boxing up all my military and personal items to be shipped back to me. When I finally went to pick all my stuff up over $4000 worth of stuff was missing.

And then my unit treated me like I had shot myself. They did this becasue no one wanted to talk about what happened and they didn't want me asking questions.

Now there is a little more to this story.

I was married when I shipped out to go to Iraq. I had a 18 month old daughter at home also. When we finally had gotten internet service and I was able to get online and check my bank account out I find that my savings account has $50 in it. When I had left in December there was over $5000 in it. Plus I find that my wife isn't paying a lot of the bills but is spending over $1000 a month on food. She was throwing parties and going shopping for clothes. One time spent over $500 at a swim suit store???
And then all of a sudden I can't get in contact with her. And she's moved and our phone was disconnected.
As many may know having personal issues on your mind when you need to be totally on alert is not a good mix. So my command sent me home. Before I was to come home I'd contacted some friends in the area where I lived and asked them if they had seen my TJ anywhere. Well guess what? She was shacking up with another guy and HE was DRIVING my JEEP!!
Then I got even more stories: She was a bar tender and was telling guys that her husband was in Iraq and had been killed. I'd stored my motorcycle at a friends house becasue I didn't have a garage. I guess her and her fuck buddy had gone over and had tried to get my bike. But they told them the only person taking that bike out of their garage was RICK.

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One of the last pictures of me not injuried.


So I come home and don't tell her. My sister picks me up at the airport and takes me over to Yakima to pick up the bike.
Then a few days latter a friend and I go back over to Yakima and we're sitting outside the bar she works at and it's close to closing time so I call her. She answers and is like who is this. Number she doesn't recognize. I tell her I'd just got back to the states and was on I-90 headed for Yakima. It was like turning on the light and watching the roaches scatter. So I ask where is my TJ and she tells me it's parked at her house but it's BROKE!! So I arrange to meet her the next day to pick up the keys to a storage unit where all my belongings are at. And to get my TJ. So I meet her and she acts like were still friends.
The new guy friend had broken the trackbar so it has wicked death wobble.

I was home for 20 days and only got to see my daughter twice.

IMG00075.JPG


So that is the whole story a little condensed.

This is the day I was headed back to Iraq.

fall 160.jpg



I was only back in country 8 days when I was shot. So it had been a really SHITTY fall for me.
 
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Wildman

Wildman

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Man....


You have the heart of a lion my friend. That is a lot of adversity to overcome. Like I said to you before, day or night you want to chat I’m here.
Thanks I'm doing better now. Took today off but plan to be back at it tomorrow. I've got to get my garage cleaned so I can get both bikes back inside as it's suppose to SNOW on Friday and then again on Sunday.
 
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Wildman

Wildman

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Man....


You have the heart of a lion my friend. That is a lot of adversity to overcome. Like I said to you before, day or night you want to chat I’m here.


Wow, thank you for your service. That’s a hell of a story.

Thank You,
I've never been one to wallow in self pity for long. I figure you have to try and make the best of things as you can. Now don't get me wrong I've had my bad days but most of the time I try to stay up beat. I've given up on the opposite sex pretty much. Not ever gunna say it was all them but I sure have a FUCK UP picker.
But I've raised my daughter and she's off to college to become a productive citizen and has morals and standards that I hope will stay with her. It's all I can ask for.

If you'd asked me 4 years ago I would have told you I did WANT to see 60. Now I want to see 80.
 

qslim

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Bro. That is a hell of a story and I totally believe the part about how key elements were left out for fear of how it would look to the unit. I've seen it happen many times in the USAF but with aircraft incidents (they don't let us have guns lol).
 

qslim

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That CBR 1000F is complete tits btw @Wildman . I have a bit of a thing for old Jap bikes, I've had dozens of them but never checked off that box. I rode a '94 VFR for a bit with the goofy V4, but I've always been partial to the inline 4.
 
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Wildman

Wildman

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That CBR 1000F is complete tits btw @Wildman . I have a bit of a thing for old Jap bikes, I've had dozens of them but never checked off that box. I rode a '94 VFR for a bit with the goofy V4, but I've always been partial to the inline 4.

I actually traded my CJ5 to the tool truck driver for it. I think I got the better end of the deal but then I had to trade it in becasue I couldn't bend my leg back far enough.
 
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qslim

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I actually traded my CJ5 to the tool truck driver for it. I think I got the better end of the deal but then I had to trade it in becasue I couldn't bend my leg back far enough.
What are you riding these days that accommodates the prosthetic?
 
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Wildman

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1965 Jeep CJ 5 with a odd fire Buick 231 & T98 transmission.

__hr_The_Finished_Product1.jpg



2015 Harley Road Glide Ultra CVO with HD's big bore kit making the stock 110" into a 117" motor. Right now it's got HD tuner on it so it's choked down a little.

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Not bad but there is more there once I chuck the HD tuner.

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To help me be able to get to the rear brake pedal better I went to Soft Brake in ID and he made me a brake lever that sit's 2" lower and 1" away from the motor.

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And I had trouble trying to back it up so I installed a reverse.

 
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qslim

The Man with the Big Yellow Car
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1965 Jeep CJ 5 with a odd fire Buick 231 & T98 transmission.

View attachment 197293


2015 Harley Road Glide Ultra CVO with HD's big bore kit making the stock 110" into a 117" motor. Right now it's got HD tuner on it so it's choked down a little.

View attachment 197294


View attachment 197295


View attachment 197296


Not bad but there is more there once I chuck the HD tuner.

View attachment 197297
Your Harley looks waaaaaay more comfortable than that CJ5 lol. How do you use the rear brake? Does your prosthetic work with the pedal or do you have an alternate set of controls installed?
 
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