Valor Friday

| March 12, 2021 | 8 Comments

In the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, the rest of the Communist Bloc countries also fell. Decades of ethnic and economic tensions boiled over. One place this came to a shooting war (and crimes against humanity like ethnic cleansing) was the former Yugoslavia, specifically Bosnia.

As the civil war drew in forces from outside for “peacekeeping”, the already impoverished people of Bosnia were completely cut off from food, water, and medicine while the country around them erupted in small arms, tank, and aircraft fire. A humanitarian crisis was well underway. Particularly affected were the children, some of whom were pressed into fighting.

Helge Meyer

Helge Meyer was a veteran of the Danish Army. Having served in the elite Jaeger Corps (roughly analogous to US Army Special Forces), he’d deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield, the first Gulf War. Seeing  felt compelled to help.

A military man trained in reconnaissance and unconventional warfare, Meyer would not be content with raising money, building care packages, or signing up with the International Red Cross. Instead, he wanted to bring the much needed supplies to the beleaguered Bosnians. How does one man bring food, medicine, and toys to children in the middle of an active war zone? You go Mad Max.

Meyer used his connections with both the American Army and the German Bundeswehr, he set out to modify his car to serve as his war horse. His car? A 1979 Chevrolet Camaro.

Removing the rear window and replacing it with steel plating, Meyer and his team reinforced the coupe with armored plating all around. Behind the windshield, a steel plate was put on the dash to deflect any incoming fire upwards. The car’s 350ci engine was beefed up and fitted with a nitrous oxide system for short bursts of speed.

From his American friends, Meyer got some infrared absorbing paint for the car. The flat black finish, while utterly badass, is apparently a pleasant side effect. They even painted the side windows, to further reduce any hotspots. This meant that he couldn’t see to the left or right without lowering the power windows.

Meyer also got some less-lethal weapons like knives, hatchets, and a high-powered infrared laser (capable of blinding). They gave him some BDU uniforms (also infrared absorbing), military maps of the warzone, and a military-grade GPS. Remember, this is the early to mid 90’s, American GPS had restricted accuracy for civilians. Only the military could access the more useful, accurate signal. Now too could Meyer.

Helge got thermal imaging cameras installed on the Camaro. Combined with a set of state-of-the-art night vision goggles, he would be able to see around him when others couldn’t. Because of this, and to minimize his profile even more, all of the lights on the interior of the car (dash and ambiance) were removed. Even the radio had its bulbs removed.

Aside from the armor and the boosted engine, careful consideration was given to other elements on the car. The tires were specifically chosen to be a common size available in the Balkans. Filled with tire sealant, they wouldn’t hold up to a bullet, but they would allow him to withstand a bullet hit and keep going to a “safe” place to stop.

With a Kevlar helmet, some bulletproof vests, two spare tires, and a fire extinguisher, Meyer was ready to go. Loading the car with humanitarian supplies, the fearless commando willingly headed into the Bosnian War.

He made dozens of trips across the front lines of the war to deliver baby food, medicine, and other necessities. In 1995, Meyer was on his way to Tuzla. Unable to avoid the battle lines, he drove through them. Hearing grenades blowing nearby, he carried on, passing through unscathed.

Feeling pretty cocky about the ease with which he tempted fate once more, Meyer was approaching a long, straight, quiet stretch of road. Suddenly overcome with fear, he remembered having read that the bible says you cannot get yourself out of danger on your own. When you think you have, God will send fear to you as a sign to remind you that it is He who leads you out of danger. Humbling himself, Meyer said a prayer to the Almighty and pressed on.

Some years after his exploits, Meyer was asked by a German major how it was he was able to pass so easily through the battlezone. Did he ever have to pay the road “taxes”? No, Meyer answered. Through his demeanor and appearance, though not armed with a rifle or pistol (he’d refused to carry anything more than a knife), he was allowed free passage. He escaped the tolls charged to UN and non-governmental organizations moving through the warzone.

Meyer’s blacked out Camaro earned a nickname. It was called the “Ghost Camaro.” Meyer too received a nickname. How he came to it is a matter of debate. Meyer was dubbed “God’s Rambo” either by some USAF troops in his early days of running supplies through the apocalypse or by himself years later while re-telling the story. In either case, I think the name is deserved.

Meyer made dozens of runs into the former Yugoslavia area on his humanitarian mission. From 1992 through 1995 he brought food, diapers, toys, medicine, and anything else he could get his hands on to help the people. The Bible-carrying Meyer took no sides and delivered his help to Christians, Muslims, Croats, Serbs, and Bosnians in equal measure. At times, he’d sit with those seeking refuge in what remained of their houses in the near pitch black, they reading from their Quran and he from his Bible.

Along the roads of his travels, Meyer’s Kevlar helmet took a hit from a bullet. Without the helmet, the shot would have likely been fatal. That was the closest he came to harm along the way. Dodging militias armed with AK-47s and RPGs, driving through ambushes, and avoiding the local gangsters and IEDs, Meyer kept making trip after trip.

It’s been said that integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is watching. Likewise, they say that you can tell a person’s character by how they treat people they don’t have to be nice to. I’ll expound on that line of reasoning and say that you can see true bravery and heroism when somebody does something likely to be their final act without being ordered to or even asked.

Many of the stories of bravery I highlight here are just such potentially fatal acts for the good of others. The men who jump on grenades to save their comrades. The warriors who see an injured mate lying exposed to enemy fire and drag him to safety. The artillery observer who calls certain death onto their very own heads to prevent their position from being overrun. And today, the Danish former commando who drove a bitchin’ Camaro (equal parts KITT from Knight Rider and Mad Max-like war machine) through the worst European war since World War II to help kids.

Helge still has his Ghost Camaro. It’s now painted flat orange and the windows are no longer blacked out. He still drives it. According to a note on the fender, it looks like he took it through Afghanistan in 2010. He’s said to have put more than 100k kilometers (~62k in freedom units) on the car.

Category: Historical, Real Soldiers, Valor, War Stories, We Remember

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  1. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    That just rocks.

  2. KoB says:

    Well just…DAAAAYYUUUM! Someone that did something that was actually “…for the Children.” That had no self centered thoughts of making themselves look good…or a photo op.

    Gun Salute and a carafe of the Sacramental Wine raised to this Hero. No matter your beliefs, this is living proof that “Yes Virginia, there is a God.”

    Thanks Mason.

  3. President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neanderthal B Woodman Domestic Violent Extremist SuperStraight says:

    CLANK! CLANK!

  4. AW1Ed says:

    Hand Salute. Ready, Two!
    Thanks again, Mason.

  5. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    “In the time of the suck, long ago, there was a road warrior, the man we called Hell-G.”

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