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1999 Personal Accounts
Email a Friend The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes deceased) readers. Next
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Industrious Brain Dead Private 
1999 Personal Account

Brett was a member of 3AD 2/67th Armor -March '91

During Desert Storm there were relatively few casualties. Most of those that did occur were Darwinian in nature: put a few dummies around guns, tanks, grenades, and the like, and you've got to expect stuff to happen. Here is one example.

As with any modern conflict, the use of mines is critical. Desert Storm was no different, except that their mines were dropped from airplanes by the truck-full. These anti-personel mines are small cylindrical bomblets that looked fairly harmless (Harmless bomb is an oxymoron!). This notion was reinforced in our tank unit becasue our tanks are indestructible.

After the battle, we occupied enemy positions replete with bomblets like coke cans on the beach. My tank accidentally ran over one and it woke everyone up. There was no damage to the tank, but the loader soiled his pants, and it took weeks for me to get the eyeball prints off my glasses.

Anyhow, back to the Darwin event. We made camp for a week in what seemed to be the middle of a minefield. (Military Intelligence is an oxymoron!) All the mines were marked with white cloth and chemical lights, and we were instructed not to mess with them. The place was a maze of white tape.

Well, one industrious mechanic private, PV1 Rock, decided that it was dangerous having all those mines lying around. So he dug a hole in the middle of the assembly area and proceeded to collect the mines and toss them into the hole. His activities went unnoticed until he had about 20 of these "harmless" mines, evidently duds, piled up in his hole.

Finally a Sergeant hollered, "What do you think you're doing!" PV1 Rock responded, "I'm just getting rid of all these duds lying around." He threw one last mine in the pit, when the whole thing exploded! PV1 Rock immediately got beamed up, leaving a crater 20 ft in diameter, and causing temporary hearing loss to half the company. Luckily the shrapnel only caused flesh wounds to the rest of the gene pool.

For PV1 Rocks' heroic efforts to eliminate pesky duds from the gene pool, I posthumously nominate him as a 1999 Darwin Award winner.

Rod has a different story:
I was there, and it didn't actually happen this way. The bomblets are released in a canister from an airplane, and at a certain altitude the canister splits open, allowing the bomblets to spread out before impacting the ground. They are about the size and shape of a D-battery, with a screw in one end and a 16" ribbon attached to the screw. While falling to the ground, the ribbon flutters in the wind and unwinds the screw, thus arming the device. Private Rock picked up one of the bomblets by the ribbon and spun it over his head, and the sergeant in question was trying to tackle him when the device went off. The private was killed and the sergeant was seriously injured.

Lt Jacob Alekseyev disagrees:
It is highly unlikely that this story is true. First, an enlisted member is only a PV1 for their first 4 months in the Army. Basic and Advanced Training for Armor Crewmen takes 14 weeks. "PV1 Rock" should have been promoted by the time he got to the Gulf. Second, the name "Rock" is military slang for "moron." If you look at the casualty lists for Desert Shield/Desert Storm, you probably won't find a PV1 Rock listed as KIA. Finally, this is identical to a popular military urban legend that has been presented to Basic Trainees as the gospel truth. For someone to have died EXACTLY the same way I heard during the story when I entered Basic Training in '93 would be beyond belief.

Cpl Al proffers a third opinion on 3/16/2000:
Actually, this is not so far-fetched. I was in the 3/67 AR, and served with a soldier who was in the 1st Cav during Saudi. He was awarded the Arcom with V device for stabilizing another soldier who had been carrying one of the bomblets in his cargo pocket for an hour before it finally went off, taking most of his leg with it.

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Submitted by: Brett Holladay

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