The LCSTARs page was established to recognize the achievements of team members who have gone above and beyond the necessary requirements to be a professional search and rescue person. They are truly an inspiration to other team members. It is also about getting to know our fellow team members and getting a peek at what makes them tick and some insight into the diverse kinds of people that join the SAR community and what they find so captivating about their experience.
by Julie Rasmussen -- Published Winter 1995
The victim of this edition of LCSTARS, err ... I mean, ~subject" is ... well, you'll have to guess. But, I'll give you some hints. He has recently become the proud owner of the biggest lightbar on the team (the more the better, he claims), he became rescue rated in the fall of 1994, is the man-about-town when it comes to reporting traffic accidents on icy mornings, is a snowmobile aficionado, and one of his newest, most prized possessions is the old team trailer. By now you've probably guessed. It is the lone member and proud proprietor of "Bob's Rescue Service", Bob Taggart. Now, you may say, "What about Bob?" Well, I'm here to tell you what I know ...
Although new members usually join LCSAR with previous backcountry experiences related to the team's objectives, the history of training that Bob brings is from a unique angle indeed. His initial SAR missions were well before BASART 1993. The typical search area be worked in was jungle terrain primarily viewed from a helicopter, and he didn't wear orange! Unfortunately though, many of his "finds" were casualties or injured parties - victims of the Viet Nam War.
Bob was enlisted as a helicopter crewman assigned to the only SAR squadron in the Navy that conducted combat search and rescue. When the Marine and Navy planes took off from aircraft carriers at Haiphong Harbor near the De-Militarized Zone between North and South Vietnam on bombing runs, the SAR squadron would already be in flight. If a plane was shot down they'd go into North Vietnam and pick them up. Bob ran the winch at the backdoor of the helicopter. He was also the doorgunner who operated the Gatlin gun. It would fire 4000 rounds per minute and destroy anything in its path. Obviously, the life expectancy in his occupation was short and although the crew was never shot down, they were hit several times from below. Armored plating in the helicopter's belly protected them from the small arms fire.
Returning to the States was difficult at first as Bob dealt with family crises back home in Nebraska; then searched for work. He started working at a Chevy dealership, as a mechanic. Snow and mud dripped in his face while be lie on the crawler turning screws. He decided there's got to be more out there than this as be listened to the music of coins jangling in the pocket of the dealership owner. He went on to work in the pans business and built sprint cars and high performance machines. Until ... he got a wild hair to do something completely different.
Bob's next excellent adventure was auctioneer school. Yes, we have an auctioneer in the ranks! He quit the pans business to open an auction house. Sales were held every Wednesday and he was on the road buying merchandise the remainder of the week.>
In 1977 Bob moved to Colorado. After working with a realtor in Loveland he became interested in the business and attended real estate school. He became li• licensed but the bad part was navigating through a town be didn't know well. He sold real estate for about a year.
The financial end intrigued him so a move into manage banlting was a natural transition. He processed FHA and VA loans for the largest mortgage banlting finn in f't. Collins. Eventually the mortgage company shut down. Bob was la.id off. The company car was gone and he bad lost everything when the abdominal pains started.
The pain grew progressively worse. After many tests and three days in the hospital, the CAT scan revealed a ruptured spleen as the source. The doctors cautioned, "don't ride horses or motorcycles". Bob said, "I felt like a walking time bomb!". They weren't sure what to do and had planned to leave it but the alien bad different plans. Bob wasn't able to eat or drink; they'd have to open him up. Surgery bad to be delayed a day until his bean rate came down and that proved to be 8 mixed blessing, at best. On the day of surgery, 8 mass the size of a volleyball was removed, only to find the next day that the stitches sealing the major vessels had come undone.
Bob was bleeding to death. The nurses who spoke with him later in his room were surprised be was still alive; be bad died once. With 17 units of cold blood infusing his body to combat the massive internal hemorrhaging, he was packed with warm blankets as well, to fight hypothermia! After surgery, while recovering the following week, his temperature rose, indicative of infection. One and a half quarts of infectious fluids were drained from the wound. He was in the hospital a month. Hard times lie ahead.
The house and car were gone and there was no insurance to pay the medical bills. One of his two brothers helped him find a part-time job working at Radio Shack in Nebraska- This was in the early 1980's. He became interested in personal computers and the next thing be knew he was the store manager. When the IBM p.c. came out he learned all be could about the Radio Shack version as well as learned programming. He missed the mountains in Ft. Collins so he moved back and began writing mortgage/loan software for a bank. Things started looking up. These days, Bob works his own business, Micro LAN Integration, as a consultant for an analytical testing laboratory maintaining network systems. He sells computers also.
Bob had camped extensively as a Boy Scout in Nebraska. One of the leaders had property in Colorado and every other year they'd bus the scouts to Colorado to go camping. As a senior scout be loved it so much he swore he'd come back some day but didn't really know where " it" was. Not unti11977, when he was Jiving in Loveland, did he drive past Vern's on the way up Poudre Canyon and recognize it as a place he'd been before. When be carne upon Arrowhead Lodge, be went up to the door. The woman who answered remembered him from many years before. Little bad be known that the day's drive would bring him back to the place he'd loved as a boy.
Several yean ago be attended some team meetings but didn't join. Kristi was going through the interview process in 1993 and Bob joined at this time also. He talked to Leigh and Roger that night. There was space available in the BASART class. He had the cold, hard cash. He was in.
During his hell raising days Bob never thought he'd make it past 40. But he did; to his advantage and ours. He's now LCSAR 's quartermaster and involved in dive rescue (non-diving component), assisting with shore work on dive calls. He enjoys the technical rescue/rope work and responds to every mission possible. He likes using the skills he's learned and working with the people he's met on the team. He especially likes running fast and running hot! Nowadays, unlike his earliest SAR assignments in Vietnam, most missions probably end on a much more positive note and be can really enjoy going back for more.