MadDogsFuneralThere was blood upon the risers,
There was blood upon the ground…
Gory, Gory, Gory
What a helluva way to die…

John “Mad Dog” Carson, assistant engineer sergeant of ODA-213, 12th Special Forces Group, died. He went out the same way he lived—bigger than life. Rough-spoken, tough as the iron he worked after he returned from Vietnam. The strains of the old Airborne song Blood on The Risers wafted across his memorial service at the cemetery, appalling those at the funeral who didn’t know that side of him, causing old team members to, misty-eyed, grin and remember.

Green Beret teams are tight, like brothers. There isn’t much we don’t know about each other, warts and all. Sergeant Carson’s persona of “Mad Dog” generated its own yarns…

Our team from the 12th and a team from the 7th SF Group were coming down off a mission with a few suds at a little Special Forces bar outside the gates of Fort Bragg. Suddenly, the front door of the bar flew open and a cold wind gusted in. A behemoth of a woman filled the entire doorway, hands on her hips, tree-trunk legs spread and balanced for action. She glowered around the barroom. Even the juke box seemed to die down and whimper. All over at the bar and at tables and booths, big, tough Green Berets hunkered down into their shoulders and looked away, hoping she wouldn’t notice them.

“Are there any men in the house?” she roared.

Three or four soldiers from the 7th got up and slunk away to the Men’s, followed by several 12th troopers. Like they were scared she wanted to fight or arm wrestle.

Mad Dog turned on his bar stool to confront the intruder while every other grunt in the joint tried to become invisible. He let out a low growl from deep in his chest and looked the woman over.

“That is a woman, right?” Rock Taylor whispered.

“Generically speaking,” Mad Dog rumbled.

There was no back door to the place. The only escape was to go through her. She looked around and seared everyone with a fierce, contemptuous smirk. Green Berets are gentlemen; they don’t fight women. Three or four more sneaked off to the latrine.

“Will anybody buy me a beer?” demanded the she-leviathan.

Which elicited a mass exit. Seemed liked both teams had an urgent need for the Men’s room.

Not Mad Dog. He turned full around on his stool to face the damsel in distress. Lightning crackled as the two clashed eyeball to eyeball.

I’ll buy you a beer,” Mad Dog snarled. “Shut up and get your (blank-blank) over here.”

Out on the turnpike. . .Nail had seen a billboard that he suspected expressed the future of mankind: There is no God. Rational Atheism is the Answer. Was that truly what man had to look forward to? Belief in nothing?

From A Thousand Years of Darkness by Charles W. Sasser