Sam spoke his mind whether you liked it or not. You know how most of us go all day long and typically say about 25% of what we are thinking out loud, and keep the other 75% quiet? Well, Sam said all that other 75% of shit out loud. Folks just weren’t down with that; I applauded it. Don’t ever ask Sam what he thinks if you have any spiritual vulnerability.

At the funeral of a fallen comrade at the Fort Bragg JFK Chapel, the eulogist went on: “Gregory was such a great guy. His outstanding work is testament to his drive, dedication, and motivation.” Sam leaned over to me and (at least) whispered: “Is this some bullshit or what? Greg fucked up everything he laid his hands on.” I responded with: “Yes he did, but for Christ’s sake… this is the man’s funeral after all; can you cut him a little slack?”

Sam was a selfish man, or at least I fancied him one. A selfish man can never ever make a good leader. In Mogadishu, Somalia, our team leader, MSG Pete A., was called back to the states for a family emergency. That by default left Sam our ‘leader.’ There were only two of us under him: me and Will “Chill-D” W. That same night, Sam came to us and declared, “Tonight we have three guard shifts assigned to us, so that means you two will have to decide which one of you pulls one shift and which one pulls two. Ha ha ha ha ha!” That is just the way he was.

At our squadron’s initial leadership planning meeting in Somalia, plans were being formulated on how to conduct combat operations in the city, based on input from our already battle-christened C Squadron. At the time, the revered MSG Charles R. was the sole black operator in A Squadron. During a brief lull in the planning, the squadron commander asked, “Sam, I hear the gears turning upstairs; what do you think?” Sam’s candid reply: “Well sir, I suggest we mark Charles somehow and kill everybody else.” Sam earned a stern verbal warning, followed by around 54 high-fives from the squadron brothers, one of which was delivered by the man himself, Charles R.