Sergeant Major’s Heroism, Quick Thinking, Saves Entire Platoon From Certain Death
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AFGHANISTAN – Many leaders struggle to make a real impact on soldiers’ lives, but Command Sergeant Major Richard Widmark doesn’t have that problem. Widmark, assigned to 325th BSTB at Bagram Air Field, saved a platoon from certain death today after spotting a six-vehicle convoy returning from a security patrol.
He immediately noticed one of the Soldiers was clearing a weapon while wearing neither his protective eye wear or Army Combat Helmet (ACH). Even worse, the Soldier had the “eye-pro” perched on top of his head.
Springing into action, CSM Widmark screamed, "You! Hey you! Who is your Squad Leader? Who is your Platoon Leader?" Upon identifying the Soldier's chain of command, Widmark then launched into an impromptu 25-minute briefing on how "laxadasical" approaches to standards were causing Soldiers to die "outside the wire."
"Attention to detail is what keeps our Soldiers alive, gentlemens [sic]. Make no mistakes," said CSM Widmark, during the life-saving ordeal.
He went on to explain that if the leadership allows one standard to slip, then they are liable to allow all standards to slip. Such a slippery slope could lead to the deaths of an entire platoon -- as he put it, "in one frail swoop."
The platoon leader was grateful for the Sergeant Major's bravery.
"I don't know, we just came in after a 16-hour patrol, the boys were ready to just get out of the vehicles and stretch their legs," said 1LT Jimmy Pendergast, "Then this Sergeant Major, wearing a FOB bra [shoulder holster] and reflective belt comes over and starts chewing on my medic's ass. I go over and [SPC Kaden] Hester is at parade rest and this guy is screaming for me and his squad leader [SSG Al Chang]. So me and Chang and [Platoon Sergeant SFC Victor] Barlow stand there and listen to him sputter and fume for like 30 minutes."
1LT Pendergast went on to describe the "correction" as "laced with fallacies" and "as unintelligible as an address book that's gone through a shredder."
"His grammar, diction and pronunciation were horrible. I think he made some words up," said SSG Al Chang. "I may use them in the future for comedic effect."
Among the flurry of mispronunciations and newly coined words were such terms as "ascadent," "negligible discharge," "moosetaches," "eye pertection," and the aforementioned "laxadaisical."
CSM Widmark closed the life saving counseling with a plea. "You boys is doing great work here in Iraq [sic], outside the wire. It hurts me every time I hear about you boys getting blowed up by those impoverished explosive devices."
He was later seen correcting Soldiers in other high threat situations, including a group that had their hands in their pockets, and some others who had their sleeves rolled incorrectly. His paperwork is currently being reviewed for the Bronze Star and is working its way up the chain of command.