Army Sgt Ernie Eubanks 1968 Ft. Leonard Wood In this case I have to be really careful how I word things as I’m not sure who the real character is but I’m going to say it’s almost certainly Ernie. Some description of Ernie is needed to fully appreciate this story. Ernie was great guy, VERY large great guy. About 6’5”, 280 lbs +/- and ex-semipro football player. Normally Ernie was an easy going gentle giant but I personally witnessed him, while standing flat footed, with one hand reach into the back seat of a 4 passenger Cessna 172 and extract a prisoner who had attempted to highjack the plane. That was with the pilot & co-pilot/guard and another prisoner still seated in the plane. All was done in a single smooth movement although I don’t think the perpetrator felt like it. Ernie did have a sleep problem actually he had NOT sleeping problem. Summer Sunday’s at Ft. Wood was guest day when families and friends visited. Standing orders were to be sharp and totally military to the extent of being observed without your hat on and in the prescribed angle etc. was cause for disciplinary action. Erie and I were on duty together and he was driving. We were headed South on Ft. Wood Route 1 directly in front of post headquarters and stopped at a traffic light that was on a slight reverse grade. I was looking out the window just observing the flow of traffic. The light changed and we just sat there. No many folks honk at a police car but we’d been setting there far too long when I glanced over and saw Ernie’s head back against the headrest , mouth wide open and a snore just erupting. What amazed me the most was that his foot was still holding the brake so that we wouldn’t roll back into the car behind us. It took a sharp jab in the ribs to wake him quickly. Normally jabbing Ernie in the ribs would not have been something I’d normally have done. I expect you can start to get a mental picture of Ernie. During this period we were having problems with instigators coming in and trying to stir up racial problems. They weren’t legitimate protesters they were paid trouble makers who would disappear when they got a riot going. The MP radio announced one of those small riots starting in a parking lot and all available units were to respond immediately. Now we didn’t have extra units and rarely more than one available. This was where the question of who the character really is comes into play. When the call went out it was redlights and siren and get there quick- quick was something I did really well. The “riot” was a total of maybe 30-40 guys pretty equally racially in the early stages of hostility. I’d been in similar situations before and fully expected backup to arrive any second. I slid to a stopped and got out quickly leaving the lights flashing and the siren screaming. I started having second thoughts as I approached. Usually the crowd starts to separate and break apart slightly. It didn’t. Well it’s not a good time to backoff, like I’d have been smart enough to do that anyway. While I suggested strongly that the crowd should disperse they all turned on me. Suddenly I was the only minority and within seconds I was laying on the asphalt and no sun could penetrate the bodies over me. Fortunately most fists found targets long before they found me. Off in the distance I heard another siren coming my way. All I thought of how dumb I was but that help was on the way. Actually other than having a mass of bodies on top of me I was holding up pretty well, UNTIL I heard Ernie yelling “I’m coming Rog!” I thought “Oh Sh&@ .” Indeed “Oh Sh&@.” Ernie was running across the parking lot at full speed and launched himself ON THE CROWD. That was when I lost all the breath in my lungs and was totally helpless. I remember the feeling that I thought a building might be falling on me and not being able to move including drawing in air. The surprise had the desired effect and I watched as the demonstrators quickly broke up and ran. Watch was all I could do till Ernie reach down and lifted me up like lifting a baby. Disclaimer: Based on my definition of being a “Character” I applaud you characters of the world.

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