The Smallest Special Operator In US Military History, The "Giant Killer"

On November 29, 1945, Richard James Flaherty was born. It turns out that Richard and his mother had two different RH factors. Richard was Rh-positive, and his mother, Beatrice, was Rh-negative.

While the condition could have killed him, Flaherty was instead born with hormonal imbalances that ended up stunting his growth. Even as an adolescent, he was short coming in at less than 4' 10".

Joining The Army

Flaherty did not let his size stop him from fighting in Vietnam. He volunteered to join the Army and was turned down. But, his Congressman stepped in, and Flaherty was given a waiver.

He went to Army Officer Candidate School in 1967 and became a Second Lieutenant assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. Flaherty deployed with the Screaming Eagles and was a platoon and recon platoon leader.

Flaherty served a 13-month tour in Vietnam. He was given the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars during his time there, and he was wounded three times.

Silver Star

Flaherty served a 13-month tour in Vietnam. He was given the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars during his time there, and he was wounded three times.

His Silver Star was awarded for an incident on April 20, 1968. Flaherty's platoon was ambushed and hit with heavy enemy fire. According to his citation, Flaherty risked getting hit with enemy fire to direct his squads properly.

He called for a 90 Millimeter recoilless rifle team to their position and then helped them attack the enemy bunker. Due to his leadership and quick thinking, the enemy bunker was destroyed.

Special Forces

After his time in Vietnam was over, Flaherty applied to Special Forces training. However, he needed six more pounds on him and a height waiver to qualify. But, of course, he did it and graduated from the Special Qualification Course.

He was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group in Southeast Asia. His unit's job was to train the Royal Thai Army to go to Vietnam. They also taught them counterinsurgency operations.

Flaherty moved to the 10th Special Forces Group in 1970. He led an ODA and an Operational Detachment Bravo. In 1971, he transferred to the Army Reserves.

He served until 1983. Unfortunately, Flaherty's final years were spent homeless. He was killed in a hit and run incident in Miami on May 9, 2015.

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6 comments on “The Smallest Special Operator In US Military History, The "Giant Killer"”

  1. A Hollywood movie should be made about this genuinely brave guy who was taller than his physical height. Compare his deeds to the pathetic jackals who fled to Canada to avoid the draft. Me, I joined up. For the ones who fled, I consider them to not be entitled to US citizenship. If foreign militaries were to attack Americans here or abroad, requiring military intervention, are the same type of people going to flee to Canada again? They don't deserve to live in this country.

  2. A man like that would NEVER end up homeless unless he CHOSE to end up homeless. "I pray that GOD Bless and keep him in the name of Jesus Christ OUR LORD, Amen."

    1. Homeless is not something vets choose. Civilians do not have a clue what goes through a combat veterans' heart, mind y soul, even us non-combat vets will never know. As for Nam vets, they were not cared for at all. They were "baby killers", not worth helping or trying to understand what they were living with. Things changed after 9/11, but even today we have alot of troubled, homeless vets. They should all be honored y held in esteem for being willing to enlist.

  3. WoW! My attitude needed that adjustment. I was about to yield to the Dimocrat wave. The American military has been blessed with heroes over the years. This young man must be near the head of the pack.
    I'll bet they had a parade on the day he arrived at the Pearly Gates.

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