During the 80's I worked for ESSO (Standard Oil) in Nicaragua. I was part of a team of engineers that were trying to develop oil for the Sandinista Government. These were turbulent times in Nicaragua with the Contra's and Sandinista's battling daily. Kidnapping of foreign nationals by both sides was a common event. We were warned constantly that we could be targets. My research partner, Steve and I decided to burn off a little steam at a local celebration in the town of Octal, Nicaragua, where we were based.
The evening started off with some local ethnic food and plenty of Victoria beer. We spent some time with some friends before they had to leave for the evening. There was a large amount of people that were present that were passing through the territory. These individuals were at all levels of the social strata from business men to sordid looking characters that gave you the shivers. There were a sprinkling of Germans, Cubans and Russians, as well as some caucasians of whose ethnicity was not known.
We had a couple of rough looking but friendly Nicaraguans engage us in conversation. They seemed to be a couple of nice guys that were really interested in what we were doing in Nicaragua. After about an hour, we decided that we had to head back to our quarters. We had to walk about 4 blocks to get back to our rooms. We began our walk down what had been normally safe streets.
The streets had a number of people walking as well, but dwindling as we began to get closer to our rooms. A voice called out to us and we seen it was the two men that we had left at the fest. They approached us in a friendly manner, but as they got closer they pulled guns. The scary one told us that if we resisted that we would die on the spot. In an instant a truck rushed down our street and 5 - 6 more kidnappers jumped out. They grabbed us and began to drag us towards their truck.
At that moment a bright flash and explosion illuminated the entire street. Followed by 2-3 more almost instantly after. A number of additional figures seemed to appear out of no where. They moved extremely fast and were firing weapons in a fusilade that had me terrified I would die. The kidnappers around me were dropping to the ground like sacks of potatoes. I realized they were being shot. A number of them began to return fire but were quickly silenced. Two of of the kidnappers began to run, but were cut down in what I thought of at the time was a cold blooded manner.
Two of what I thought were other terrorists picked me up as if I were a child. They began to run with me towards a break in the wall when we fell to the ground as more shots rang out. I realized that the kidnappers had greater numbers and were attacking. One of the men that held me had been shot. The other man flipped me over his shoulder and dragged his partner to safety between the buildings. He turned around and began to provide covering fire for others in his group.
Two men followed right behind us with my friend Steve and one of them seemed to toss Steve over the top of all of us out of the line of fire. These two men spun around and began to shoot with a skill that was something I thought I would see in a movie. They were in a moment able to kill a large number of the attackers and provide an escape for the last two members of their team.
The six men threw us in a mini-bus and drove us miles from the town of Octal and turned us over to a group of men that would make sure we stayed safe.
During the hour long trip, I found out that these men were U.S. Special Forces members from which service I did not know. The two brave men that saved my life were Charles ___ and George ___. Chuck is the one that took a shot in the leg to save us. The two men that carried Steve and were the best shots that I have ever seen were Rory ___ and Tom ___ . They were two men that I would never want to have against me. The other two, I did not have a chance to speak to. They were so brave to cover our exit from that terror filled street without regard for their own lives. They had all traveled hours from the Honduras based on intelligence they had received that a kidnapping was to take place. Their intelligence had indicated it was to be one or both of us.
These men were the bravest men that I have ever or will ever know. They fought with a ferocity that I did not believe could come from an American. When I talked to them they seemed in one way relaxed and confident, but also tense and wary as cats.
I never met them again, or even looked for them. I guess I was afraid to find out that they never made it back home to their families as I did, and I did not want to have that guilt. I do hope that they did, and are living happy, fruitful lives with their love ones.
I pray every day for their safety and the safety of every man and woman that wears a uniform. These individuals make it possible for us to feel safe in this great country. They are watching out for us both at home and abroad.
Thank you again Chuck, George, Rory, Tom and your other two brothers in arms. My family and I are in your debt forever.