LRRP is an outdated (Vietnam era) term for members of LRS units. “Cabbie” spent several years in such a unit after Somalia, post 9-11; most notably in Iraq.
Cabbie (good story behind that nickname) and Brawny had gotten to the unit just a couple of months before my cohort and had already been “broken in” by the time I met them both. They were also roommates. Hughes was a squared away troop and a fellow fast-tracker.
Aside from being tactically proficient and extremely reliable, the thing I most remember about him is his sense of humor; truly one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met, with a genuine farm boy smile right out of Ohio. Which came in handy in Somalia, especially since just about every time I took fire, he was right next to me. So much so that we refused to go to the same hangouts after our return from Somalia. It was just an open rule we kept, true and funny.
Hughes was a M249 SAW gunner in Somalia, carrying at least 170-190 lbs of gear on any given mission. He was a foot away from me when rounds ripped through the tree we were under the night of our “Baptism“. Dodging bullets together became a habit for the two of us in Somalia, having been near each other just about every time the lead flew.
Loved by all, he was closest to Chico along with a few guys in the Scout and Mortar Section. Mangold and Hughes often had their comedy routines timed perfectly, whether in Somalia, or training in 4 feet of snow. “The Grinch” and Cabbie were a fairly good comedic duo to catch as well.
Hughes was also the last guy any of us would have expected to see serving his country to this very day. He was pretty cynical about the Army in general and we were all pretty sure when he left, that was the end of his military career. It wasn’t the Army that he was cynical about, per se; but some of the unavoidable nonsense that went along with it.
Outside of his time with A CO in Somalia, Hughes served with Team 1-1 425th(ABN)(LRS) and did two tours of duty in Iraq as well as a deployment in the Ukraine.
The last time I saw Hughes, he was getting married and he and Chico were preparing for the upcoming wedding. Chico was the best man.
All these years later, “Cabbie” and his wife, Shannon, are still married with two beautiful children, including a college football player. Cabbie will be retiring from the military soon.
Cabbie is one of the “sweet 16” that faced Ali Tihad (precursor of Al Shabaab) twice within an 18 hour period; first during a fire fight at 2 AM, and then during our raid the next afternoon. He has more than 20 of our combined 240 years of service in our 16 man platoon. Read about him and where his nickname came from in “Behind the Gun”.
Much love and respect, my brother. Maybe we should break our own standing rule and get a steak together soon.
Copyright© Bravo Charles & Behind the Gun 2016
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