Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Riding at Breakneck Speed, Literally, Almost Ended my Re-enlistment


As in this crash, no one was hurt but me in my big crash.

On May 9, 2007, at about 5 p.m., I started down Turkey Hill on River Road in Lancaster County with eleven other riders.  I hit 51 mph near the middle of the ¾-mile hill, then I hit another rider. It was more than a half-hour later that I reached the bottom of the hill, being carried on a stretcher heading for a MEDEVAC helicopter.

In seconds, my chances of re-enlisting in the Army at 54 years old went from good to gruesome.  Although I can remember nothing from five minutes before the accident until almost five months after, I could read a medical report when I was discharged form the hospital more than a week later.  I had broken нине bones, the worst was a smashed C7 vertebra that the neurosurgeon on call scraped out and replaced with a cadaver bone and a titanium plate. 

In addition to the smashed C7, I cracked C2, broke four ribs, my right collarbone and shoulder blade and my nose.  The worst obvious injury was my forehead peeled up at my eyebrows.  I got plastic surgery the same day. Neck surgery the next day. 

I was in a neck and chest brace until August 2, but I started walking as soon as I got out of the hospital and started running in June.  I was convinced I could still get back in the Army as long as that waiver took three months. 


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I flew in the chase bird on a few MEDEVAC missions in Iraq. Ten years ago, I was the on the back board and the cause of the MEDEVAC mission.