Everybody reading this has been the recipient of a multi-forwarded email or fifty. You know them on sight: the top line has some variation of “This is a great story, more people ought to read it!” There’s the one about how Captain Kangaroo was a decorated Marine in WWII, with the tag line about Mr. Rodgers being a deadly sniper. There’s the one about the Army general telling an NPR reporter how she’s equipped to be a prostitute.
There are many, many more, and unfortunately, most of them–including the two I’ve just recounted–are one hundred percent fiction. That’s why 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).
With two sources for confirmation, I hereby post with a clean conscience, plus a heartfelt “Bravo” to our friend Rambo and his big red pipe.