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Did ya ever notice how women are always saying, “Are there any REAL men out there?” That was my best Andy Rooney impression. Yeah, I know. Stick to my day job. But yes, ladies! There ARE real men out there, guys who are rough and tough and can take a bullet or … 27. Trust me, gals, THAT is a real man! Here are some stories where the guy – be he good or bad — took a licking and, amazingly, kept on ticking.
1. Adrian Carton de Wiart went to the notable Oxford University in 1899, but called it quits after only one term to join up with the British Army. In hindsight, he probably should have stayed a bookworm. The young British trooper was sent to the recently started Boer War in South Africa and was quickly wounded in his stomach and his groin. Ouch! After a short period to recover, he returned to action as a commissioned officer. Some years later, when World War I started, de Wiart and his troops attacked an enemy fort in the Horn of Africa and was shot twice in the face, losing his left eye. Did that stop him? No. A year later, in 1915, as an infantry commander, he was wounded seven more times, and when a doctor refused to remove some of his injured fingers, he bit them off himself. Yes. Really. During the Battle of Somme, he was shot – again – in the skull, as well as one of his ankles. Later, he was shot in the leg and after that, he was shot through an ear. Oh, please. It gets even better. While out on a train as a lookout some years later in Poland, he was attacked by the Red Army on the running board and knocked off the train, but he somehow held to it tight and, after being dragged a ways, managed to fend off his attackers with his revolver. If you can digest all of that, get this. He later was aboard an airplane that crashed. I’m beginning to think his real name was Clark Kent.
2. There are heroes and then, there are heroes. Roy Benavidez was a medic in the U.S. Army Special Forces when he was dispatched in May of 1968 in South Viet Nam to help doctor the 12 men of a Special Forces unit who were surrounded by an NVA infantry battalion of about 1,000 men. Armed only with a knife and his medical bag, Benavidez jumped from a helicopter and began mending the wounded men. During this time, he suffered numerous attacks and severe wounds, but he kept treating the other soldiers as best he could. After being struck with an NVA soldier’s bayonet, Benavidez pulled it out and stabbed the enemy with his own knife, killing him. After the battle, Benavidez, believed to be dead, was put into a body bag and transported to the Army camp. When the bag was unzipped for a final declaration of death, he spit in the doctor’s face to show that – though severely wounded – he was not dead. When the final tally was over, Benavidez had suffered 37 separate bullet, bayonet and shrapnel wounds during the six-hour fight with the enemy. He recovered and later received the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism, as well as four Purple Hearts. He retired as a Master Sergeant from Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and died in November of 1998.
3. During a 2007 mission in Iraq, U.S. Navy Seal Mike Day took 11 bullets in his armor by al-Qaeda terrorists, another 16 in his unprotected legs, arms, abdomen, buttocks and scrotum and shrapnel from a grenade. He later said he could only think about his wife and daughters back home when he was taking the hits. During this melee and in extreme pain, Day managed to shoot dead all four terrorists who were engaged in the battle with him. He managed to walk away. In 2015, he took part in the Ironman triathlon in Florida.
4. Moonshiner and outlaw Lewis Redmon was a sneaky guy in the 1800s, managing to escape from the law several times after shooting a deputy marshal in North Carolina. He then became something of a legend when he stood up to tax collectors and gave the poor locals some profits from his illegal moonshiner ventures. He lived in a small cabin near the Little Tennessee River and was raided twice, with the moonshiner escaping each time. In 1881, the third time law enforcement confronted him at the cabin, he didn’t run. Instead, he ran out them with a gun. He was shot six times, but survived and was taken to a local jail. In 1884, President Chester Arthur granted him a pardon. Later, after whiskey became legal, he became a consultant with a government distillery in South Carolina, and was able to improve the quality of the whiskey. He died in 1906, leaving a wife and nine children. Apparently making booze wasn’t his only skill.
5. While fighting in the Mexican Revolution, Wenseslao Moguel was captured on March 18, 1915. He was sentenced without trial to be executed by firing squad. When the time came, Moguel was shot nine times by the squad. To make it official and final, an officer ran up to his severely wounded body and shot him in the head at point blank range. His execution had been carried out. Or had it? The young Mexican was actually still alive, although believed certainly dead. His body was moved and during the night he somehow managed enough strength to escape and seek treatment. In the 1937, his story was broadcast over the radio by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. And believe it or not, he lived a very full life until finally dying in 1975 at the ripe old age of 85.