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residential service
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1,948 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The complaint was hot water running out too soon and he wanted to talk about a tankless. "Yes sir, I'm your man". We have major gas challenges and it's not looking good. I'm back and forth through the finished basement of the 5000 sq. ft. house, trying to make it happen, and I can, but it means another $1200 which experience tells me will squash the will of the buyer.

So we shift gears and start talking about a bigger tank. "Ok, give me a few minutes to make some calls because we don't do these nearly as frequently", "sure take your time". It's almost quitting time at the supply house but I manage to get a "preliminary" price on a 100 gallon ng wh. Yikes, looks like it will come pretty close to the "net" price of the tankless even with the extra 80 ft of gas pipe.

I go back in and explain that because it's late in the day, I'm not going to be able to get all the information I need to accurately price his various options. He's fine with that, "no problem" just give me a call when you've got it.

We begin our goodbye ritual and that's when he hands me his card which I promptly drop. I notice it's a two sided card as it flips end over end to the floor. Picking it up I read the first side which is standard business stuff, you know, company name, his name and title, address, and pertinent phone numbers. Turning it over, I'm left slightly confused for a moment, this text and logo have nothing to do with commerce.

I read across the top of the card: "AH-1G Cobra Gunship Attack Helicopter Pilot"

Below is a double tongued pennant shaped logo split horizontally. The top half is orange, the bottom white. In the exact center are two crossed cavalry swords which almost fill up the pennant. Directly above the two crossed swords is the number 17, below is a capital A, and to the left is the number 2. The left top of the pennant says "DMZ" and the right top of the pennant says "A Shau Valley". The bottom edge of the pennant reads "Vietnam May - November 1969".

Now it finally clicks as I emerge from my tunnel vision and begin to notice all of the memorabilia on the walls and various places. Plaques, picture frames, medal & insignia cases, charts, posters, maps, models of gun ships, remembrances of every sort.

I was speechless for a moment but finally managed "I bet you have some stories to tell". What an idiotic thing to say. Something one says when they are not sure what to say. What I really wanted was to take hold of his arm and lead him to the comfy chairs on the other side of the room, and say "now, tell me everything".

I didn't get everything but he was kind and obliged me with the synopsis which included him and his "front seater" getting shot up pretty good one day, shot up enough to send him home.

He ends with "ah, but that was 10,000 years ago". I don't push for more as much as I want too. I am just the guy he called to help him get some more hot water.

Hero is a word that is grossly overused these days and I won't use it here. This man was doing his job, the friendlies on the ground were catching hell and he and his copilot were all that stood between them and the hereafter for a moment in time. Hero may not be the right word but still, it takes a special kind of man to stand in the gap like that. To grit your teeth in the face of whistling fire flies all around, to hear the rounds biting and tearing at your raptor's skin, seeking entrance into it's vital organs, knowing the end will likely come at any moment, yet refusing to succumb to the voice screaming inside your head saying "if you don't run you will die", all this for the sake of comrades on the ground whom he most likely doesn't know and probably never will. But they wear the same flag and that makes them brothers, worth fighting for, worth dying for.

Who can know the fruit of this or any other noble defense? Was one of the men who came back from the battlefield that day someone dear to you? Your uncle perhaps, or your brother, father, was it you? Maybe one of those "friendlies" on the ground came home to a well spent life. Has their progeny touched you? Did the great love of your life come from their loins? Do the children you cherish owe their very existence to this man, or one just like him?

I am not given to hero worship. I've no delusions about the nature of man. We tend to exalt and magnify the good in ourselves, however subtly, while ignoring the evil that we do. Still, men who place themselves at particular risk in the face of combat for the sake of others, are special men. It seems rare that I knowingly cross paths with men such as these. When I do, merely being in their presence, is an exercise in refusing to weep. I am not a very emotional person on the sensitive side, much more so on the fiery side, but simply being around men like this breaks me down. I did not weep but a single word could have led the assault of tears on my eyes.

I was 4 years old in 1969, knew nothing of these things until years later, long after it was all over and done or at least long after the shooting had ended. I can't really tell you what this war was about, it doesn't really matter now. All I can say is that men like these are worthy of honor and thank God for men who are willing to stand in the gap for their brothers no matter what the cost.
 

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Always Something
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1,369 Posts
I can't write like that. That was awesome man.

Give him a deal. I do that for morner / current military. No one else gets a discount from me, except them (occasional fire fighter).
 

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residential service
Joined
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1,948 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I went back today to deliver his quote for his various options. While I was waiting in his home office, I took a closer look at the medal case, but still only had moments until he came in.

I saw:

3 Air Medals
1 Purple Heart
1 Distinguished Flying Cross
1 Silver Star

There were several more I think but I didn't have enough time to take everything in before he greeted me. If we end up doing this work for him, I will be paying much closer attention to my surroundings.

This man fascinates me. I hope we are invited back.
 
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