Charles D. Case, or Chuck as he preferred to be called, was an A Squadron non-commissioned officer. The squadron sergeant major preferred to call him Dexter, which he did. Chuck was a nice guy; he would tell you so. To me, that is not something you can ever say about yourself. You can’t say you are a good parent, a funny person, a good judge of people, or a nice person; rather, those are observations and statements reserved only for others to say about you.

Everyone on a combat team brings something to a fight: the fast runner, the adept climber, the crack shot, the accomplished boxer…and Chuck packed a ridiculously hard punch. He was absolutely fearless, had a high pain threshold, and was an indomitable fighter on the ground. Nonetheless, I can in all honesty say that Chuck truly was a genuinely nice guy.

 I adopted a personal policy during my time in squadron: make all of my closing statements to these men here, like it is going to be the last thing they will ever hear.

Words ring true. At the rate that the men of Delta Force perish, it wasn’t ingenuous to presume that any given conversation with one of these brothers might be my last.

 Enter Chuck Chase, a solid operator with a superb sense of humor, dependable, and deadly. He was a solid hand in a fight, quick to compliment others and even quicker to boost morale and pump you up if you weren’t feeling your oats. “You’re a flagship, Bart!” I heard him once say. “People rally around you and look up to you. They want to be like you and look to you for guidance.” Bart didn’t like hearing that, but it was certainly true. He would come to realize that once he found himself in leadership positions.

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Chuck’s in the front row on the far right, on one knee

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Chuck was, physically, a rough man. His “pats” on the back were something to brace for, and his handshake was like a bear trap if you weren’t ready for it. I’ll cite a particular event: We elected to have a family gathering for dinner at one of the town bars. We sat outside in the back at picnic tables. Chuck was stoked, and when he got stoked he would engage in some measure of physical display of brotherhood.

This evening it would be head butting.

 Chuck went from table to table greeting the dads in the same fashion: He put his hand behind each father’s head and slammed his head against theirs. I braced for impact. I knew it was coming and had to just take the pain. I heard a bell ring and saws stars, just like in the cartoons. Unfortunately, poor Markey-Mark C. got head-banged so hard, his wife had to drive him home and put him to bed.

Chuck was still a really nice guy.

 Chuck didn’t have any children, so you couldn’t really imagine how he might be around them. I wondered that myself on at least a single occasion. I would find out eventually, when we deployed to British Guyana for jungle and waterborne operations. 

We stayed in Guyana, living and working out of a masonry shack of sorts. It was an open-air dwelling with uncovered doorways and windows.

Nearby houses presented curious children who began to appear on the building periphery, just standing and staring at the hulking white men.

 The periphery eventually gave way to the building door and window ways; just half faces at first, then, full beguiling visage. We, for the most part, all just loved their unobtrusive presence, and candy was the order of the day. “Don’t feed the monkeys!” Chuck bellowed, “They’ll just keep coming back for more, and the next thing you know they’ll be robbing us blind.” Words of wisdom. He was right, you know, but who could resist?

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Author and Chill-D sweltering in the Guyanese jungle.

I chatted with the kids often. Their names were Winston, Rudolph, Henderson, Hadley, and Genghis. Excruciatingly odd names for the Third-World gouge of jungle habitat they lived in. They only spoke English, but it was an old English, one that hadn’t evolved the way ours did back in the States. Parts were missing, and they had accents that leaned toward Great Britain more than anything. I engaged them with mindless banter about what they wanted to be when they grew up, and what they had learned in school for the day.