Sunday, March 29, 2015


The reason why I almost never wear my wedding ring - certainly not when I'm working . . . S.L.

I just spent last week in Houston doing BOISET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training) to include HUET (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training). During the first iteration in the simulator my left shoulder strap did not release - trapped upside down, underwater, in a helo mock-up - I had to keep my head straight while I worked my way thru the problem . . .

. . . I popped the window out and rotated my body to slither out of the strap. After I surfaced and reported for equipment inspection prior to the next go round, the instructor checking me out noticed I'd skinned my finger - a pretty good gouge on my left ring finger, significantly enough.

My Dad started out as a machinist apprentice in the shipyards of Williamston, Victoria during World War II. He told me he never wore rings, because of his work around machinery. As a paratrooper, I have seen two instances where fellow troopers lost their ring fingers - once from getting a wedding ring hooked on something near the door of the aircraft on exit, and once from jumping out the back of a 5-ton truck. The injuries look exactly like THIS:

(NOT me)

Bottom Line:

If I'd been wearing my wedding ring the damage would have been a LOT worse, and if it had been an actual helicopter crash I'd have either lost my finger, or I'd have died.



  1. my Dad is missing his right index finger. In the Navy, it got split in two when he got bumped while operating a horizontal mill. He was shipped to Hawaii for surgery and the Doc specialized in hand work. All the other guys there when Dad was looked like your bottom photo. All from rings.

  2. Sean, funny you mention the 5-ton truck incident. When I started my Officer training in Australia in 1980, in about week 3 my Platoon witnessed a member of the Demo Squad jump from the back of a truck and do exactly the same damage. I have never worn a ring since. I remember our Instructor saying it was a fairly extreme demo, but valuable all the same.

  3. Yikes! Thanks for the reminder.

    Paul L. Quandt

  4. Saw something similar during my time in RVN. As a result I had wedding ring #2 custom made with a cut across the ring to make a break-away feature. It has worked as intended.
    Lazarus Long

  5. The injury is called "de-gloving", because the ring strips the skin (and tendons, nerves and blood vessels with it) off the finger bones like removing a glove.

    For. Ever.

    It is a non-salvageable injury in 100% of the cases I am aware of, and necessitates the amputation of the intact protruding finger bones in all cases.

    When I was married and in the .mil, the wedding ring resided on a clip on my keyring.

    As a result, I still have both the ring, and all my fingers.

    Ain't no ring worth losing a finger over.

  6. The Helo-dunker is cool. Of course, the dark green Marines were usually the ones we had to drag out to keep from drowning. Apparently, having a reference point to the escape route / door is hard for some people who are already freaked the hell out in water to understand and apply. No stereotypes here, just the facts Sir.

  7. Lot of guys wear mechanix gloves these days, seems to be the trend, wondering if that helps prevent the 'de-gloving' injury or makes it worse?