Note: This is a follow-on story to another original “Delta” classic. We recommend you read that as well.
Delta was lying on his back on the table, his face fraught with emotion and veiled confusion. He glanced out of the corner of his eye at the scene around him. At least two PJs were hovering over him and holding him down. Before he had any time to react, he had been rushed off the range on the back of the ATV and laid on the table in the team locker room, his Glock and extra magazines still on his belt.
People were rushing back and forth across the room, and the blood could be seen as it seeped through his tan shirt. His face was ashen with worry, as the people in the room shouted various calls for medical attention. The entire room was bustling and clamoring with noise.
“Does he have a last will?”
“HE’S GOING TO LOSE IT!”
“Is he going to make it?”
Someone ran over to the table with a pair of shears and cut quickly through Delta’s shirt. Another PJ stood ready to remove the object lodged near his upper chest cavity. Delta remained motionless on the table, wincing as he took in the scene around him. With tremendous care and exaggeration, the PJ prepped the instrument and told Delta to brace himself for the pain to follow. Delta grimaced in anticipation, waiting for the worst to be over.
The PJ guided the instrument to the affected area, his gloved hand steadily removing the object lodged in Delta’s chest…
But wait. There’s some context needed here. Let’s start from the beginning.
Our small 16-man support team had managed to fund a trip from Colorado out to the East Coast for an inter-service competition and some joint training. We trained in small unit tactics and expeditionary skills, also running various MOUT training/scenarios and basic weapons proficiency training. It was the spring, and the team was loving the training.
Delta, being “that guy” on the team and a complete wisecracker, was always guaranteed to provide us with some sort of comic relief—whether he intended to or not. If he wasn’t busy tossing flashbangs in the laps of unwitting GOV occupants, he was preoccupied with convincing anyone who would listen about the benefits of his latest Gucci gear purchase. In typical Delta fashion, today was no different.
We had been training at a joint-service facility near the East Coast and were running through a three-part pistol course of fire (COF). There was a series of mid-range steel pepper poppers on the far left of the range, some short-range targets in the middle, and some more short-range BSA (what we called drills that balanced speed and accuracy) targets on the right. Because we had three COFs going simultaneously at different distances, the “minimum distance” from the various steel targets was a bit hard to follow. And due to the nature of the steel targets, a lot of splash from the mid-range steel pepper poppers was reaching the guys running the short-range targets in the middle of the range.
Normally we wore some kind of plates with over-vests, but today we were running slick due to the nature of the COFs. As Fate would have it, Delta was conveniently running one of the short-range targets in the middle of the range. And just as the planets and stars would align, Delta’s target was the one closest to the steel pepper poppers being run on the left of the range. It was a thing of beauty guaranteed to warrant an exquisite display of misfortune for Delta.
As Delta ran through the COF on his short-range target, he suddenly flinched and let out an eloquent yet descriptive summary of his new situation.
Looking quite shocked, Delta holstered his Glock and peered down at his chest, noticing a small hole in his tan shirt. A trickle of blood began to form just above his left nipple as he turned to SN, who was shooting next to him.
“Holy shit man!” Delta exclaimed with a shit-eating grin plastered on his face.
“Dude, did you just take a round or something?” SN asked, glancing at Delta’s upper chest.
“Shit it hurts man.” Delta responded, as a Range Safety Officer, a PJ, was waved down.
Noticing the blood on Delta’s shirt, a few more of the guys gathered around him and started asking questions as well.
“Ricochet, huh?” one of them asked.
“Bro, you’re going to lose a nip!” quipped another.
At this revelation Delta’s face turned a shade of white, then green. “You guys are kidding, right?”
Luckily, they were kidding. While Delta didn’t take a round, he did take a significantly sized piece of jacket. And while it did penetrate his skin, it didn’t go too deep and his chest cavity was not compromised. On a scale of Convenience to Urgent Surgical, this was a stubbed toe wearing a steel boot. But nevertheless, the PJs jumped into action and began to make a huge, albeit hilarious, deal about Delta’s injury. Poor guy never had a chance.
Over-ceremoniously placing Delta on the ATV and transporting him to the main building at the training compound, the group proceeded to give Delta this most shit possible for his injury—all the while making it seem as though he was going to die at the same time.
All the while laughing their asses off.
When the PJs finally fixed Delta up and released him from their comedic gauntlet, Delta glanced down at his chest to see an expertly placed Bugs Bunny Band-aid over his left nipple, still covering the small puncture wound from the steel ricochet. The jacket that had barely punctured his skin just near his left nipple was held up in front of him to see, and Delta shook his head in disbelief at the PJs around him.
“I hate you all.”
The room broke out in laughter.
After what was undoubtedly one of the most over-dramatic and demanding medical trauma care incidents of the decade, Delta emerged back on the range with a nice Bugs Bunny band-aid and a safety form. Needless to say, the word choice, format, and style of writing on this safety form was Oscar worthy. One only needs to imagine the performances accompanying the incident with this form and be amazed.
We’re sure Delta’s performance was just as moving. No shit there I was…
Thanks for listening.
Hat tip to Alex S. and John M. for helping provide the details for this story…fun times at the “conference”. Take advantage of the time you have left, gents.
(Feature image courtesy of media.mda.mil)