Monday, August 8, 2016

Courage is also Infectious

It can be discouraging to see the many examples of how infectious cowardice is, and it is very easy to forget that courage is also infectious. If betas can study game then lesser men can study and emulate greater men. Branmir Tudjan is right: “The difference between a coward and a hero is that a hero acts in spite of fear.” The problem is that fear seems to come in so many forms; a coward in one situation may be a hero in another. Fortunately, we know the solution to this problem: fear must never affect your tactics, only facts. We also know the importance of a support group. Cortez, in the example below, never could have saved those men if he did not have covering fire. Small, motivated groups can achieve much as individual bravery inspires a collective bravery for greater than the sum of its parts.

    The two grunts who had been wounded in the new ambush were still lying in the open; their cries and sobs hovered over the field between rifle bursts.  While the grunts and gunships were trying to draw the focus of the enemy gunfire away from the two wounded soldiers, occasional automatic fire turned back their way.

    “Oh Christ!  They’re gonna shoot them again,” Cortez mumbled aloud, watching the wounded soldiers 50 or so yards away.  One soldier’s jaw had been severed, the mandible hanging as he desperately tried to push it back into shape.  Sitting up with his feet outstretched and his hands helplessly holding his damaged face together, he was sobbing.  The frightening cry carried across the gunfire.

    The second wounded soldier’s legs were splintered.  He was lying on his back, writhing in pain, unable to turn and lift himself as enemy rifle fire kicked up around their position.  They were easy targets.

    “Oh Christ!” was all Cortez said as he looked at the wounded soldiers and then to Beal and the wiseguy point man.  Putting down his M16, he sprinted across the open grassland in a broken field run toward the seated soldier.  It was third and long for the wounded Americans, and Cortez was going for it all.

    “Cover Him!  Cover Him!”  Beal yelled as the Blues laid down a wall of fire, giving Cortez time to bring back the first wounded soldier.  It was an awkward carry, but he managed to pull the man up over his shoulder and pull him back to safety.  Putting him down was anything but easy as the enemy gunfire tried to zero in on the target, to no avail.  Cortez had made it back safely, and the Blues were laying down a blanket of suppressive return fire.

    The black-haired, brown-eyed Californian was winded, with beads of sweat falling from his forehead.  His sweat, mixing with the blood of the seriously injured soldier, made Cortez look like he might have taken a round through the shoulder.  His chest was heaving from the run, but he wasn’t giving in to fatigue.  “Medic!  Medic!”  Cortez yelled to Doc DeValle, who was low crawling in his direction, before Cortez turned and sprinted back to help the other wounded grunt.

    “What the fuck is he doing?”  Burrows was yelling while rising to one knee and offering Cortez supportive fire.

    The question didn’t need an answer.  Everyone knew what he was doing.  Cortez was acting on emotion and instinct, and it was having a strange effect on all of those who were watching.

    The grunts who had begun retreating were now back on line, swearing and moving forward.  Two of their own had been wounded, and Cortez’s courage had sparked something inside them as well.

    What began as a slow, rolling anger turned into a full-scale assault as the grunts assaulted the tree line.  The gunships only accentuated the attack as the Blues and Rangers joined in the battle.

    Kregg P.J. Jorgenson, MIA Rescue: LRRP Manhunt in the Jungle (Boulder: Paladin Press 1995), 196-197.

1 comment:

Ryu said...

It seems that cowardice is more trainable than courage, since it is so much more prevalent. Just like the universe favors discorder over order. It really brings home how rare events like the American revolution were.