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The tragedy in Columbia

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posted on Feb, 10 2020 @ 06:50 PM
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Many decades ago I took part in a tragic situation. My good friend Mark and I jumped into Columbia. We were briefed on the satellite data and the thermals and it was plain to see there was an underground drug lab there. Just to the North was a clump of trees and to the West was a village along a small tributary to the main river. Our DZ was in a clearing just north of the clump of trees. We jumped and managed in the dark about 8:30 PM to hit the ground right at the tree line. Mark was quickly rolling up our chutes while I had my entrenching tool out digging a ditch for them. I sensed Mark drop to one knee and pull his suppressed pistol. By the time I had looked up, I saw him put 2 rounds into a little girl's head and watched her hit the ground. He turned and looked at me and said you're going to have to dig that a little bit deeper. I finished digging that hole and Mark finished rolling up our chutes and that little girl with them. We put her and the chutes into the hole and covered it up quickly then covered that with some nearby brush. We moved along the edge of the treeline and found a position with good cover and concealment facing the drug lab. I got us up on the sat phone and got the imager up on the tripod. Mark got the laser up and I called in that we were in position. They came back saying they were 03 mikes, TOT. Mark and I waited and then they came back 01 mikes TOT. Mark lit up the target and they dropped. About 1 minute later an HE delay glide bomb struck and Mark shut down the laser and we E&Ed out of there and moved about 10 clicks North and got a helo to ride out. The after-action took place and we were debriefed. The mission took out that drug lab and there were a lot of HE secondaries. Not just the fireballs from the solvents and fuel but lots of blue-white explosions from HE rounds which were likely anit-aircraft and anti-tank rockets.

The mission was considered a success. Mark and I practically drank ourselves to death trying to get the image of the little 8-9-year-old girl out of our heads. Mark more than I of course because he had to take the shot. When I say he had to I mean that if she alerted the village or someone on watch at that drug lab we would have surely died and that drug lab would have kept pumping out coke and those rockets likely would have killed a lot of people. Nothing I can do all these many decades later can change what happened that night but today I was watching a youtube video of a young Central American girl who looked a lot like her crying and it all surfaced again. I hope they found her and could give her a proper burial. Mark died a few years ago. He died in the California wildfires. I think he spent his life trying to right that wrong. He saved my life many times. He was always I think trying to balance the scales. I wish some days we had brains like computers so I could delete things like this from my mind but that is not how we are built. I hesitate to publish this even 3 decades after that night because I think if it had been my daughter I would feel justified taking revenge for this. Also, the folks in charge of the mission might feel justified in putting me out of my misery. At this point I just don't care anymore I just want to be able to quit crying over that tragedy in Columbia so many years ago.




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