Brigadier General Gary G. Harber has plenty of war stories.
"I'd get a collect call like 2 o'clock in the morning and they'd say, ‘Sir! We just got this requirement and they told us to do it like this, and that's not the way we trained.' I said, ‘You do it like you were trained. If anybody's got a problem with that, you tell them to call me.' And I never got a call back," said Harber, BG (ret.), laughing.
The highly decorated United States Army Flier and Combat Engineer could tell you how he came face-to-face with death.
"The most violent thing I've ever experienced, the aircraft just ate itself up. I lost 2 inches in height in the crash - right leg, right foot, left hand that was on the collective and whatnot...injured. I thought Lord, I just really didn't think I would go this way," he said.
He could tell you how he credits an angel for telling him what to do when his buddy's life was on the line.
"Grabbed him by the belt and jerked him back in. I said, ‘Sit there until the blade quits turning!' And he was probably 12 inches from having his head severed," BG Harber explained.
This prominent soldier, who served during the Berlin Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and as a general during Desert Storm will tell you he is not a hero. But he says he remembers many.
"A rocket took off his left arm. So when he ran out of ammunition he felt like he let all of his buddies down because he couldn't continue to lay fire on 'em. That's a mark of a real hero," he said.
Now, this distinguished retired warrior, who served for 42 years, says, "A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for, an amount up to and including my life."
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