Joseph Kittinger, Jr, Award Winner Chris Everhart

A former Marine defends his camping children from a bear:

The ex-Marine saved the lives of his three young sons when a 300-pound bear attacked their Georgia campsite last weekend.

While cleaning up after dinner, the family came face to face with the large animal.

“From out of nowhere we heard this loud crash,” Everhart said on “Good Morning America.” “For a second, I didn’t know what it was, but I realized it was a bear. I went to the back of the Jeep to get my pots and pans to scare the bear off.”

At the same time, Everhart’s 6-year-old son, Logan, tried to frighten the animal. Instead of running away, the bear turned on the boy. Logan’s brother, Kyle, tried to help him.

“I threw about five rocks at the bear to keep him away,” Kyle Everhart said.

Realizing his sons could be killed, Everhart grabbed a log and threw it at the bear’s head, striking and killing him.

Gall as big as church bells.

On the other hand, you have to do what you have to do.

Joseph Kittinger, Jr., Award Winner

It’s been a while, but we here at MfBJN confer upon Canadian (!) Tom Tilley the Joseph Kittinger, Jr., Award for Demonstrable Manliness for this incident:

A man stabbed a black bear to death with a 15-cm hunting knife, saying he knew he would otherwise become “lunch” after it attacked him and his dog on a canoeing portage in northern Ontario.

Tom Tilley, a 55-year-old from Waterloo, Ont., said his American Staffordshire dog Sam growled a warning, then rushed to his defence as the bear came at them on a trail north of Wawa on Friday.

As Sam battled with the nearly 90-kilogram bear, Tilley jumped on its back and stabbed it with his knife.

Gall as big as church bells.

(Link seen on The Other Side of Kim.)

Previous Kittinger Award winners:

Joseph Kittinger, Jr., Award Winner Brad Satchell

We at MfBJN hereby confer the Joseph Kittinger, Jr., Award upon Brad Satchell:

An Australian surfer survived a shark attack by repeatedly punching a small shark he first thought was a seal, the second incident of its kind this month, local radio reported on Saturday.

Brad Satchell, 44, was surfing about 120 meters (390 feet) offshore at the popular Scarborough beach in Perth, capital of Western Australia state, on Friday when he was attacked.

“I actually had a smile on my face when I first saw the thing because I thought it was a seal,” Satchell told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

He said he turned his surfboard on its side to use as a shield when the shark, which he said may may have been a bronze whaler more than a meter in length, began to attack him. He was unhurt and paddled to safety.

“I lifted my body out of the water and I just got my fists and I remember what I’d read in the paper. I just started punching and I connected with its head,” Satchell said.

Gall as big as church bells.

Galls As Big As Church Bells

I salute Bill Cahir, who enlisted in the Marines at age 34.

Brother, you remind me I have a couple years of eligibility left in me in case this whole marriage with a hot chick on a bicycle thing doesn’t work out.

On another note, we have the PC as big as Deep Blue award to the Marine Corps, who opened an investigation into its boot camp based on the above story. I would say, “Poor form, Peter,” but the sensitive Marine bureaucracy might think I was calling them perjoratives for the male genitalia.

Announcing the Kittinger Award

Andrew Sullivan has a number of awards that he dishes out to people who say something foolish. It’s high time I was self-important enough to announce a special award and give it out periodically. Ergo, I hereby announce the Joseph Kittinger, Jr., Award for Demonstrable Manliness, named after Joseph Kittenger, Jr., who had gall as big as church bells.

Unlike Sullivan, I won’t nominate people and then present a single award every year; when I see something inspirationally manly, I shall award it on the spot.

The first official Joseph Kittinger, Jr., award winner: Mark Bartholomew of Allentown, Pennsylvania:

Most people would try to avoid an out-of-control car — but not Mark Bartholomew.
He used his truck to block a car that was repeatedly bouncing off a highway median in the Allentown, Pennsylvania, area on Monday. The woman driving the car says she passed out after having stomach pains.

Other drivers swerved to avoid the car, but Bartholomew noticed the driver appeared to be unconscious.

He pulled ahead and allowed the car’s front bumper to hit his truck and gradually slowed it to a stop. The driver of the car calls Bartholomew “a lifesaver.”

Bartholomew says he doesn’t worry about the vehicle damage, saying, “what’s a vehicle compared to a life?” Besides, he adds, “it’s a company truck.”

A heroic act and a snappy wisecrack line. Mark Bartholomew, we here at MfBJN salute you, and quite frankly hope we never have to replicate your actions.

(Link seen on Fark, whose founder Drew Curtis probably covets the Kittinger Award and thinks founding Fark should be enough.)

Steinberg on Magen David Adom

Neil Steinberg, with the Chicago Sun-Times, talks to members of Magen David Adam, the Red Star of David. These are the people who respond to minister to the injured whenever a suicide bomber strikes, and they’re a multiethnicity, multireligious force who the Intersocialist Red Cross won’t let join because they come from Israel.

They have to armor-plate their ambulances. Gentlemen, and ladies, of Magen David Adom, you’ve got galls as big as church bells, and I salute you.

Galls Like Church Bells

Jerry Caesar (Dabney Coleman) said to Reverend Jonathan Whirley (Christopher Plummer) in the dubbed-for-television rendition of Dragnet, “You’ve got galls as big as church bells, reverend.” I’d like to amend that to “You’ve got galls as big as church bells, captain,” and say it to Jerry Kittinger of the United States Air Force (undoubtedly retired by now).

In 1960, Captain Kittinger leapt from the Excelsior III, a perfectly good balloon that was 102,800 feet in the air (that’s almost 20 miles, and he free-fell for almost 5 minutes at speeds up to almost Mach 1 (the speed of sound), wearing a pressure suit and a parachute. Maybe two parachutes, but what does it matter when you’re at the edge of space?

Me, I get a little queasy in the glass-walled elevators of the Milwaukee Hyatt when I’m on the ninth floor and I punch the L button and then I look out the walls and watch the scenery start moving up at the same time the floor seems to give way. Watch the Earth growing and broadening as I fell from the darkness into the light? There’s no pressure suit invented that could keep up with what I’d evacuate.

So someone pat down the cashew, because this Kittinger guy is cuffing nuts. And I salute him for it!

    Unrelated note: So the government thought it was a good idea 40 years ago to see if someone could bail out of a space capsule and make it safely down, so why doesn’t the space shuttle doesn’t carry pressure suit parachutes? I know all you physics geeks are going to point out the differences between the velocities of an orbiter and a balloon, but where there’s a backup plan, there’re survivors, end of story.