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“They were supposed to drop us at 700 feet and 95 knots.  Instead, they dropped us at 300 feet and 160 knots.  When I hit the ground, everything was ripped off me.  I had three cracked vertebrae and a concussion.  I don’t remember half of the invasion.”

I was fortunate enough to spend the last three days with a true American hero, Ed “Doc” Pepping.  If you remember the hit HBO Series Band of Brothers, then you probably remember EZ company’s medic–Doc Pepping.  By today’s standards, a remote area is defined by evacuation times exceeding one hour to a Western level medical facility.  When I mentioned this to Ed, he replied, “When you got hurt, there was no evacuation.”  From the very moment Ed impacted with European soil, he used his medical training to scrounge equipment, improvise tools, and deliver emergency medical care to injured soldiers in the face of a trained enemy.  Ed represents a true remote area medic.

Ed attended Trexpo convention and tradeshow in Long Beach, California as a member of the Honor the Fallen Foundation (HTF).  Honor the Fallen is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to honoring American men and women that lost their lives in the fight against terrorism.  Ed signed autographs, took photos, and sold personalized copies of the Band of Brothers book.  The book is filled with pictures of Ed’s journey from basic training to the war to his “first landing in a plane” on American soil after the war.  In addition to the signed copy, the book has a variety of legacy items to include nylon fabric from parachutes used on D-Day and sand from Normandy’s beaches.

As a former service member dedicated to saving lives downrange, it was amazing to sit, listen, and learn from the sharpest 86 year old I’ve ever met.  His ethics, integrity, and honesty set the example for service members and leaders of our generation.