A Dent in the Pot

army hat with ammunition in it

Pass It On is a new, bi-weekly peek inside the heart and mind of Francis Pass…


Click the play button to listen to Francis Pass tell this story.

On September 12th, I’ll gather with my Army buddies Tim Reeves and Wayne Corzine to celebrate our journey in the military, which began on September 13th, 1966.

All three of us are proud of our country. We love our flag. And we’re honored to have served. We celebrate that.

Three fellas from the itty-bitty town of Dongola. Population: 750. We all joined together. In fact, our service numbers are one digit apart.

This will be the sixth year we’ve assembled for a sit-down dinner and a round of show and tell.

Tim started show and tell a few years back. He’s a collector of things. Many things.

The last time we met at my house, I broke out my steel pot.

Steel pot

I’m not talking about a pot to cook in or to plant flowers. A steel pot is another term for our helmets. And this one in particular had a little dent in the top.

That was the show. Now for the tell.

I was out on the live fire range instructing a young trooper at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

We were moving with live ammo, not blanks. So, I warned this newbie twice to put his safety on when moving up from the prone position.

Having taken on fire in Vietnam, it would’ve been embarrassing and downright dumb to have been shot there on the range.

Shot on the firing range

But, wouldn’t you know it… that young trooper went and used the butt of his rifle to pry himself up and… PA-CHOO! The gun went off.

And that blast knocked the steel pot clean off my head.

From that day forward, there was always a small dent on the top of my helmet.

It served as a reminder that, no matter how bad things got, it always could’ve been worse.

Reminder of far worse things

To others, it was a reminder to always keep your safety on when you’re maneuvering through the range.

And to my old Army buddies, it was a great story worth sharing.

I’ll never forget that day. I’ll never forget those men. And we will gather on September 12th to remember that time and salute those who never made it home.

My unit alone lost 730. That’s almost the population of Dongola.

And every time I see that little dent in my helmet, I’m thankful that it wasn’t 731.

Thanks for readin’…

Francis Pass

P.S. – Today is another day to remember… but for a completely different reason. Please take a moment today to honor the memory of the 2,977 souls lost in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. You were taken far too soon. We will never forget.

911 Memorial