When I told him the girls, my pastor and Gerry
had asked me, "Do you mean Gerry Izzo?
You know, I think he
has always been there.
It was true; Gerry
always seemed to be around whether things were good or the chips were down.
was another American hero.
and I first met in 1980 in Kitzingen, Germany, and often flew together during our Army careers and on special operations.
One day, in 1993, I was driving home from Fort Campbell and stopped at an intersection.
As I watched for a break in the oncoming traffic, as the last car approached, I could clearly see the driver had the thousand-yard stare of a man who has seen some really bad stuff-it was my friend Gerry
I waved, but he
was lost in whatever thought he
was having and he
drove right past me, immersed in his
A couple of weeks earlier, Gerry
had taken part in a battle in Mogadishu, Somalia, that was made infamous when enemy forces successfully shot down several of my unit's helicopters.
had repeatedly played footage of my friends being dragged in the streets of that city while their families had tried to deal with the loss.
That combat had been some of the most intense ever seen by the US Army
had survived that day but, like my Dad, was changed forever.
I don't know how many times he
and I have talked about that time.
Were the decisions right or wrong?
Could things have turned out differently?
Man, I hate the second-guessing.
Allow me to tell a funny story about Gerry and me. As new pilots, we found ourselves assigned to the same unit in Germany-Alpha Company, 3rd Aviation Battalion, Combat, of the 3rd US Infantry Division.
I flew the OH-58A Kiowa, which we used as an aero-scout platform, and Gerry was a command pilot in UH-1H Huey and had a rock solid reputation.
It was a great first unit to be in; it boasted forty aircraft and had a seemingly unlimited flight hour programme.
I had become a border-qualified scout and was authorised to fly right up to the sensitive border between East and West Germany.
On this particular day, I was flying as a co-pilot for Gerry
in a Huey.
and I looked at each other and continued to listen.
asked me what my plan was and what I intended to do.
Without thinking it through, I told him: "We're going to draw his
fire and give Red Catcher a chance to escape!"
It took Gerry
a couple of seconds to reply, but his
reply was classic: "We're going to do what?
You should have seen his