One Day in 1967

By Michele Ahlman

Growing up, I remember thinking how cool it was that I had a German birth certificate: a hand-typed, raggedy piece of paper identifying, in German, my birth in a U.S. Army hospital in Heidelberg.

In the late ’60s my dad, Richard Uzuanis, was a 23-year old tank commander for the 3rd Battalion 68th Armor stationed in Mannheim. I’ve always known my dad lost a lot of his hearing while serving in the military. But we never talked about it or the impact it had, until recently. Apparently, during a live fire tank gunnery exercise in 1967, one of the tanks misfired. And at the time, hearing protection was not standard-issue equipment.

It was Dad’s responsibility to remove the misfire. “I got into the tank and opened the breach to remove the misfired round,” he says. “But the round was swollen due to overheating. I couldn’t get it out or close the breach. As I moved quickly to evacuate through the tank hatch, the round exploded, sending me 20 feet in the air.”

To read the full article, please visit the Fall 2015 Issue of Hearing Health Magazine.

If you are a veteran, current service member, or have family or friends who have bravely served our country, review these resources about hearing loss and tinnitus.

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