I was resuscitated and could hear and speak, emergency room personnel kept
calling my name, "John, can you hear me?" I answer to my middle name, "Scott"
and informed them of this. I had no visual experience of this time. I was later
informed that doctors had considered surgery to alleviate pressure on the brain
from the fluid, but it was not performed, I was comatose for four days. I awoke,
strapped to a bed with IVs running into my left hand, to the doctor who is a
He is an eccentric, cosmetically dyed hair, black and white curls and
wire-rimmed glasses. He was probably 6" from my face and I asked, "Who are you,
where are we at, and why am I here?" He has a reputation for horrible bedside
manner and went into a not-so-hospitable dialog about me being head-injured,
brain-damaged, and not even knowing who I was. He also stated that I had no
memory, it being erased by the head-injury. Being military, my response was, "My
name is John Hill, Chief Warrant Officer 4, US Army, Cobra Pilot, again, who are
you, where are we at, and who the "hell" are you? AND, if your putting anything
through that IV that grounds me, I DO remember the meaning of the words "Law
I again lost
consciousness and awoke in a much-more disoriented state. I knew who I was, but
was having the normal memory and time relative problems of most head-injured. I
could not remember if events had happened 2 days or 2 years ago. I was in the
Watertown Hospital for 2 weeks and then medivac-ed to Walter-Reed AMC for
admission into the "Vietnam Era Traumatic Brain Injury" program. I left the
ambulance under my own power and was sitting in reception when the Physician's
Assistant, Cpt. Richard entered and called "Hill,
looking for a quadriplegic laying around here on a gurney named Hill"
I stood up and walked to him and said, "Don't know if Im the "Hill"
you're looking for, but that's my name". Here you must understand the military
perception of Warrant Officers, total authority in their field and without
error! At the time there were only 4 grades, now 5, but it's a given that you
should not conflict with a Warrant! It becomes comical sometimes, but that's not
what we're discussing. So, he looked at me, and then my military ID and said,
"Says here you were dead too, you W4s just don't listen!"
So, I was admitted to
the "Vietnam Era Traumatic Brain Injury" Program at Walter-Reed. I received an
initial MRI to validate the findings of the CAT-Scan performed in New York,
which indicated 70-90% brain damage, validated. I was also tested for five days
to establish base-line readings regarding a variety of subjects, but most
notably, memory. That done, I returned to Ft. Drum, NY in time to assist as a
logistician in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew cleanup. I was initially
assigned a PULHES "S" (psychological) profile of "2", diminished memory and
accountability. That was removed after 4 weeks due to my performance of duty,
being observed by my flight surgeon. I was permanently grounded, but still being
an aviator and being part of the traumatic brain injury protocol at Walter-Reed,
I was naturally being closely watched. Before my return for subsequent testing
in July, 1993, I was assigned higher-level duties as the 10th Aviation Brigade
S-4 (logistician) and was totally immersed in activities in Somalia, never going
there, but in total support logistically. This was a challenge to my memory,
having a security clearance that was re-instated and the safes being taken to
Somalia, I had the rely on memory. I was the Chief Movements Officer,
Comptroller and Logistical Actions Officer for all operations in Somalia. I was
also involved in operations after the Blackhawk was shot down.
After being tested in July, 1993, 10 months after the accident, I was tested at
the 98th percentile in the world in memory and the deputy neurosurgeon at
Walter-Reed related that although he would "Not have given a nickel for my
chances of recovery 10 months prior" he could find no evidence of effect from
the injury. I subsequently returned throughout the 2 1/2 years and was finally
discharged from the program, being "recovered". He also related that the MRI
performed that week in July indicated "No Brain Damage", to which I responded,
"How does that happen? Brain damage/death is irreparable?" I suggested that the
machines my not be working correctly, to which he responded, "You've been put in
all the MRIs here, same readings each time, we have no explanation for your
recovery!" After the Somalia Ordeal and Haiti, I requested a return to retiree
status, having been re-called to active duty for four years for the first
"Desert Storm" operation. Retiring initially to Colorado, I began the process
for re-instatement of my medical clearance to fly, which was re-instated by the
FAA. I had returned to flight status and for a period was employed by Petroleum
Helicopters in Louisiana, flying the gulf rigs. I have also completed a
bachelors degree after this event, graduating with a 3.2 GPA and making the
Deans List once, carrying 43 credit hours for the year.
the kind of experience difficult to express in words?
the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event?
Yes After being cut from my vehicle using the "Jaws-of-Life", I was moved to
the hospital and was pronounced DOA, but resuscitation was commenced. Although I
have no visual memory of this time, I heard and spoke with Emergency Room
what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness
I viewed myself (out-of-body), lying on a stone pedestal in a warmly-lit cave.
Although not even knowing why I was in this position, having no memory of the
accident, I thought to myself, "Do I really want to go back to that crap?" I
answered "No", and the voice of my maternal Grandmother, nothing visual, just
her very distinctive voice, to whom I was close, responded, "Scott, you've got
to go back!" I walked through a void, came to a singular white light, hanging
adjacent to a black, seemingly felt-covered garage door...with no windows or
handles. My perception is that I spent about a total of 2 minutes at this door,
turned perpendicular, walked away...and woke up to the doctor!
did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience
compare to your normal every day consciousness and alertness?
Normal consciousness and alertness
I viewed myself (out-of-body), lying on a stone pedestal in a
warmly-lit cave. Although not even knowing why I was in this position, having no
memory of the accident, I thought to myself, "Do I really want to go back to
that crap?" I answered "No", and the voice of my maternal Grandmother, nothing
visual, just her very distinctive voice, to whom I was close, responded, "Scott,
you've got to go back!" I walked through a void, came to a singular white light,
hanging adjacent to a black, seemingly felt-covered garage door...with no
windows or handles. My perception is that I spent about a total of 2 minutes at
this door, turned perpendicular, walked away...and woke up to the doctor!
your vision differ in any way from your normal, everyday vision (in any aspect,
such as clarity, field of vision, colors, brightness, depth perception degree of
solidness/transparency of objects, etc.)?
your hearing differ in any way from your normal, everyday hearing (in any
aspect, such as clarity, ability to recognize source of sound, pitch, loudness,
you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?
What emotions did you feel during the experience?
Being a military pilot, we are not an emotional or easily frightened
group, rather if we are in an unknown/unaccountable type situation, we tend take
account of our surroundings, our situation, and assess just what might be
happening and try to discover why we are where we are! Mostly, inquisitive is
all that I can relate here.
you pass into or through a tunnel or enclosure?
Yes see number 3 above, "Describe your Experience".
you see a light?
Yes again see # 3 above.
you meet or see any other beings?
No Met none, but as explained above in #3, HEARD the distinctive voice of
my deceased Grandmother.
you experience a review of past events in your life?
you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience
that could be verified later?
you see or visit any beautiful or otherwise distinctive locations, levels or
you have any sense of altered space or time?
Yes Feeling that time had basically stopped, no passage, except for viewing
the "garage door" just prior to regaining consciousness.
you have a sense of knowing special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?
Uncertain I seemed to know that I was no longer of this world, and
didn't question why. When I questioned myself about returning to this "crap",
how did I know that I wasn't "here"?
you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?
Yes As described in #3, later related by someone as a barrier to death. I
suspect it might have been a boundary to Hell, and that GOD was sending me back
to get my salvation straight! I think I finally got it right! Many people tell
me that I have some "special purpose", if I do, well I'm sure GOD will let me
know when it is and what HE wants me to do!
you become aware of future events?
See # 32 above, I think I've been assured my salvation,...finally.
you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience
you did not have prior to the experience?
Uncertain I've always had a sense of either good or not-so-good n both
people and animals. Dogs that bite most people, don't seem aggressive to me and
let me pet them, etc. Some people feel uncomfortable around me, even before I
Have you shared this experience with others?
Yes Very hard to answer because of the special relationship pilots share
with each other. As related by Dr. Mary Harding, Dr. of Psychiatry, Walter-Reed
AMC, "You pilots are very different people and comprise only 1 tenth of one
percent of the population. Who in their right mind would climb into a machine
and take off flying...in something that could kill them in an instant? You are
all highly educated, always right, until some proves you wrong, in exceptionally
good health/shape. The rest of the population doesn't know how to interact, or
does it understand you!" I still am jokingly harassed by close friends about
being a "Highlander" (I am a member of Clan: MacMillan) and not able to be
killed! The movie had just come out when this all happened to me.
you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?
Yes I had read several articles about it and when I related my "experiences"
to my psychologist in NY, insuring there were no effects of this event, he only
answered that he couldn't commit, having no knowledge of what I related and not
being there. This caused a little deeper investigation into the matter.
did you view the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it
Experience was definitely real The "reality" of this experience has never
diminished and is still quite vivid in my memory. When you have the gift of a
near photo-graphic memory, as I always have had throughout life, things rarely
"diminish! I still remember falling from a 2-story high window before my mother
could catch me, at 18 months old. I related this at Walter Reed and it was
verified by my mother, after relating how I un-latched the hooks to allow the
screen to fall out.
Were there one or several parts of the experience especially meaningful or
significant to you?
Obviously, the voice of my departed Grandmother.
do you currently view the reality of your experience:
Experience was definitely real See #40 above.
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your
Have your religious beliefs/practices changed specifically as a result of your
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life,
medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?
No Being a commercial pilot, it's hard to get aspirin down my throat!
there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience?
only offer this as hope to others that suffer traumatic brain injury. I was told
that one out of five Americans, over 35 years of age, would suffer a traumatic
brain injury, and one out of five of them would die! This happened to my 61 year
old physician, constantly badgering me about being careful and to not put myself
in a position to be injured, fell from a ladder at church, onto a concrete
parking border, killing him instantly! He was a Christian!
the questions asked and information you provided so far accurately and
comprehensively describe your experience?
Yes I figure if you need further information, you'll be in touch!
there any other questions we could ask to help you communicate your experience?
Think the questionnaire was fine, and as I related above, for a matter as
critical as this, if you need to know more, I'm sure you'll ask!