By: Friedrich Seiltgen

Copyright © 2022

Richard Flaherty was born on November 28, 1945, in Stamford Connecticut, but he almost didn’t make it. Flaherty’s mother was of the blood group Rh Negative, which can cause issues at birth. In Flaherty’s case, he was diagnosed with dwarfism and told he’d never be taller than 4 feet 7 inches. Flaherty proved them all wrong and grew to a height of 4 feet 9 inches! Despite his height, Flaherty was determined to live his life as he wanted. He got a congressional waiver, and joined the U.S. Army, became an officer, rose to the rank of Captain, became a Green Beret, and served in Vietnam where he earned the nickname “Giant Killer.” At 4 feet 9 inches tall & weighing 97 pounds, Flaherty was and still is the shortest U.S. serviceman in history!

Flaherty was quite sensitive about his height, so he constantly trained to achieve the best physical fitness and learned martial arts. After finishing officer candidate school, Flaherty was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant and assigned to the 101st airborne division. Flaherty went to Vietnam where he was a platoon leader and engaged in some heavy fighting during the Tet offensive which earned him 2 purple hearts, a silver star, and two bronze stars.

After his tour ended, Flaherty returned to the U.S. and attended the Special Forces Officer Course. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the 3rd group in Thailand and was later transferred to the 10th group at Fort Devens. Despite all his hard work, Flaherty was forced out of the military in 1971 due to a reduction in force. Flaherty’s life was about to get even more interesting.

After his discharge, Flaherty did private contract work in Africa, mostly in Rhodesia and Angola. He was recruited by the CIA in the late 70s to help supply the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. The CIA let him go when he was arrested for possession of silencers! Flaherty then became an informant for the BATF and helped expose a smuggling ring at Ft. Bragg.

In 2015 he was killed in a suspicious hit & run accident in Aventura, Florida. After his death, Miami Police officer David Yuzuk, who had befriended Flaherty when he became homeless, discovered Flaherty’s history when going through Flaherty’s Storage Unit.

Quite an Interesting Life, wouldn’t you say?

That’s all for now folks! Please keep sending in your questions, tips, and article Ideas. And as always – “Let’s Be Careful Out There.”

Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism Counterstrategies, Firearms, and Active Shooter Response.  His writing has appeared in RECOIL, The Counter Terrorist Magazine, American Thinker, Homeland Security Today, and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International.  Contact him at [email protected].