An American Hero?
Can't have that, can we?
While the White House may not believe in American exceptionalism, I do. And I'm thinking there's a whole bunch of people in Chile that would agree.
Regarding the mine rescue, did you know:
The guy that designed the rescue module was a NASA Engineer?
The Drill was made by Schramm Inc. from Pennsylvania.
The Drill Bits were made by Center Rock, Inc. located in Berlin, Pennsylvania.
The lead driller Jeff Hart and his team are from Denver, Colorado. They are on loan from the US Military in Afghanistan where they are drilling water wells for our Forward Operating Bases.
He spent the next 33 days on his feet, operating the drill that finally provided a way out Saturday for 33 trapped miners. "You have to feel through your feet what the drill is doing; it's a vibration you get so that you know what's happening," explained Hart.
Hart was called in from Afghanistan, "simply because he's the best" at drilling larger holes with the T130's wide-diameter drill bits, Stefanic said.
Standing before the levers, pressure meters and gauges on the T130's control panel, Hart and the rest of the team faced many challenges in drilling the shaft. At one point, the drill struck a metal support beam in the poorly mapped mine, shattering its hammers. Fresh equipment had to be flown in from the United States and progress was delayed for days as powerful magnets were lowered to pull out the pieces.
The mine's veins of gold and copper ran through quartzite with a high level of abrasive silica, rock so tough that it took all their expertise to keep the drill's hammers from curving off in unwanted directions. "It was horrible," said Center Rock President Brandon Fisher, exhausted after hardly sleeping during the effort.
Fisher, Stefanic and Hart called it the most difficult hole they had ever drilled, because of the lives at stake.
"If you're drilling for oil and you lose the hole, it's different. This time there's people down below," Stefanic said. "We ruined some bits, worked through the problems as a team, and broke through," Hart said. "I'm very happy now."
Miners' relatives crowded around Hart on Saturday, hugging and posing for pictures with him as he walked down from the rescue operation into the tent camp where families had anxiously followed his work.
"He's become the hero of the day," said Dayana Olivares, whose friend Carlos Bugueno is one of the miners stuck below.
In a different day and age, Jeff Hart would be the most famous American in our country right now. He would be honored at the White House. Schoolchildren would learn of his skill and heroism. But because Jeff Hart works in an industry currently being demonized more people in Chilewill celebrate this symbol of American greatness than in America itself.