Tag Archives: Army

Challenger Disaster Recalled 29 Years Later

Twenty-nine years ago today, I was a young Air Force second lieutenant attending the Public Affairs Officer Course at the Defense Information School, then located at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. During a break from morning classes, I gathered with a dozen or so of my classmates from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps in front of a breakroom television to watch the Space Shuttle Challenger launch. Back then, shuttle launches were still big events. None of us imagined what would happen before our eyes.

The Challenger crew takes a break during countdown training Jan. 9, 1986, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Left to right are Teacher-in-Space payload specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe; payload specialist Gregory Jarvis; and astronauts Judith A. Resnik, mission specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, mission commander; Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist; Mike J. Smith, pilot; and Ellison S. Onizuka, mission specialist. (NASA photo)

The Challenger crew takes a break during countdown training Jan. 9, 1986, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Left to right are Teacher-in-Space payload specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe; payload specialist Gregory Jarvis; and astronauts Judith A. Resnik, mission specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, mission commander; Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist; Mike J. Smith, pilot; and Ellison S. Onizuka, mission specialist. (NASA photo)

Seventy-three seconds after launch, the shuttle exploded in flight high above the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Fla., killing all seven crew members — including the nation’s first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe.

Later that day, President Ronald Reagan spoke to the nation during a televised address that ended with the following words:

“There’s a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, ‘He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.’ Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s, complete.

“The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and ’slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.’”

It was a day, much like April 19, 1995, and Sept. 11, 2001. Days I will never forget.

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Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

American Sniper: My Reasons for Watching Unique

Though I’ve heard much about it and plan to see it one day, my reasons for watching American Sniper will be different than yours. In fact, one might say, they’ll be unique.

What will make my reasons for watching the blockbuster film unique? For starters, I wrote my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, about an American sniper.

In the book, I tell the story of a Green Beret medic, intelligence operator and Level One sniper (i.e., the highest level of DoD sniper) whose toughest battle had nothing to do with taking out enemy combatants with expertly-calculated shots covering great distances. Instead, he fought the military justice system.

Though I interviewed this warrior at length and on several occasions following his release from the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., I do not recall ever speaking with him at length about his experiences as a sniper. Why? Because we had “bigger fish to fry.”

The book is based largely upon what I uncovered during more than 18 months of investigation that included studying case documents and perusing the official Record of Trial (a.k.a., “trial transcript”). Likewise, it’s based upon details gleaned during the aforementioned interviews. The book does, however, contain some details of this highly-decorated combat veteran‘s time in combat. You can read some of them in the book excerpt, “You always hope somebody’s got your back,” which I published Dec. 31.

Click on graphic above to order a copy of Three Days In August by Bob McCarty.

Click on graphic above to order a copy of Three Days In August by Bob McCarty.

Though Three Days In August hasn’t been turned into a movie yet, many people who’ve read it say it should find its way to the silver screen. I’ll let you decide.

After you read the aforementioned excerpt, I hope you’ll order a copy of Three Days In August and, after reading it, let me know if you think it should be turned into a feature film. Thanks in advance!

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.