In January of 1990, during operation Just Cause, I was at Patilla Airport. A small airfield inside the city limits of Panama City.
A popular spot to sit (since anywhere else was hard tarmac) was atop a stair leading to a jet near our staging hanger. Whenever someone evacuated the top step, someone else would take their spot.
I had the fortune of gaining some seat time on that top stair for a while one day when patrols were limited and we had some (much needed) rest time. I believe it was the same day as the memorial services for Pvt. James Taber who was killed on the 21st of Dec. (not relevent to the story but mentionable none the less).
I began to get tired and decided to lay down on my ruck to catch a few Z's. Seconds after I layed down, a grenade was launched at us and landed approximately 40 ft. from our position. After the typical loud report of the explosion, we all looked around to see if anyone was injured.
One of our FOs was standing maybe a yard from the impact - he was still standing after it detonated. The medic tackled him and began assessing his injuries - nothing - not a scratch. He had a tear in his lower BDU pocket that contained a piece of shrapnel. The medics retrieved it and told him to give it to his mother as a souvenier.
Man, I thought that guy was the luckiest SOB in our unit...until I noticed the jet nearby. The one everyone wanted to park themselves on. It had shrapnel damage on the door. The grenade had ripped a hole into the metal skin of the aircraft. The location was about neck level of anyone sitting on the top step of the stair. WOW!
Had I not gotten down from that step when I did, I wouldn't be telling this story today.
Thank god. Apparently I was meant to hang around Earth for a while longer. Have you ever had any near-death experiences?