The Story Of Lt. “Spike” Dang-itBy
April 05, 2011
Operation Dang-it Doll has been sending dolls to our military men and women for 6½ years now. We correspond regularly, via E mail, to these valiant soldiers. They tell us how very important it is to them to have the support of the people back home. So, when we get a request for a special need, we try to fulfill that need.
In February of 2007, we sent dolls to the USAF 332nd. EMXG\CCE group stationed in Balad, Iraq. This unit is made up of regular forces and National Guard units from across the United States. We received many E mails thanking us for the dolls. We received one special E mail asking if we could make them a doll out of regulation BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) material. They would like to have a special doll as their mascot. How could we refuse? I called our friend Larry, who received one of the first two dolls we ever made, and asked if he could get me the material. By the end of that day, I had one of his shirts to use for the doll.
Spike, as we nicknamed him, would have to be special. He had bigger responsibilities than the other dolls. It was decided he would not only be larger, he would have bigger eyes to keep watch over his new unit. We told his new unit they could rename him when he arrived in Balad. The unit decided to keep the first name of Spike. They had him officially named “Spike” Dang-it, and he earned a field commission, He was now Lt. Spike Dang-it of the USAF.
After his intense training, he was qualified to fly in F-16 Falcon Fighter Jets. He flew many missions over Iraq. He also would oversee the repairs and maintenance to his and the other pilots F-16’s. As you can see, he had lots of responsibilities. His crew even made him a Flak vest and presented him with an American flag that he proudly holds in his hand to this very day. They sent pictures periodically of Spike in action.
Unfortunately, Spike was injured while flying a missin. He lost his right eye. But he was lucky. He had a quick thinking medic, who reattached his eye and Spike was ready to go back into action. Spike earned a Purple Heart for his injury.
“Spike’s” deployment was over in June of 2007. He was on his way home. His crew has signed him and attached files of pictures and notes of his exploits. We were anxiously waiting for his return home. We received word from SSgt. Danny Goodrum, USAF, and Spikes good friend, they were having to leave earlier than they had planned to go back to their base in Misawa Japan, therefore, Spike would be returning to Japan with them. His men asked if Spike could stay with them and attend all the homecoming festivities. Of course we said yes!
Finally, in September of 2007, SSgt. Danny sent word Spike was on his way home. We waited anxiously for the mail delivery for weeks, but no Spike. After about 6 weeks, we e mailed SSgt. Danny and asked “where in the world is Lt. Spike Dang-it??? He told us there had been a terrible typhoon and the mail planes had been delayed, but he felt sure Lt. Spike would be home in a few days. But still no Lt. Spike after another 6 weeks. SSgt. Danny became concerned and went in search of Lt. Spike. He took a train from the Air Base and went to Tokyo where the mail center was. It seems the typhoon swamped the mail center and hundreds of packages had their address’s washed off. Spike was one of them. SSgt. Danny diligently search through the rubble for Lt. Spike, finally finding him, re-packaging him and sent him home in January 2008. Spike arrived home on Monday, January 28, 2008, none the worse for wear.
It just so happened there was an Operation Military Stress Relief Doll board meeting that evening. Lt. Spike was presented at the meeting. One of our board members, Mr. Earl Brown, works with Congressman Joe Wilson’s office here in Columbia. He asked if he could take Lt. Spike with him to work the next day and introduce him to the Congressman. We agreed and would pick him up the next day. Well, when we called to go pick him up, Mr. Brown informed us that the Congressman had invited Lt. Spike to accompany him to Washington, to be introduced in Congress and be entered into the Congressional Records. What an honor!!! And so, we at home await his return.
Well, it seems Lt. Spike liked Washington, he decided to do a 9 months internship with the Congressman. We were afraid Spike had decided to run for office. Hmmm ... President Spike Dangit? Hmmm ... you never know!
Spike has returned home and has been very busy with speaking engagements and Dang-It-Doll workshops and such. When he does retire, he will have a new assignment. He will be stationed at the South Carolina State Museum in the SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum as part of their “Write From The Front” exhibit. If you would like to meet Lt. Spike, we invite you to come to one of our workshops. He will be happy to chat and have his picture taken with you. Lt. Spike would like all of you to remember all the men and women serving our country that make it possible for us to have the freedom’s we have today. Remember ... Freedom is not Free!!! It has been and is being faught for and paid for by the men and women serving our country in our armed forces. Remember to Thank them. We owe them Everything!!!