The Story of the "Ghost Car" That Delivered Aid to Bosnia during the Civil War
Have you ever experienced "a calling", the feeling like you've got to do something? For some, a calling comes to them in the form of a dream, for others, their calling comes in the form of an unexpected person entering their life.
Those feeling a calling experience heightened sensitivity, intuition, and awareness. They become more trusting of the unknown and in the timing of things, and they feel as though things are meant to be.
The "Ghost Car"
In the early 1990s, a retired Danish soldier named Helge Meyer felt a calling to help the people of the former country of Yugoslavia. Meyer had served in Denmark’s Jægerkorpset, which is equivalent to America’s elite "Delta Force".
By that time, Croatia and Slovenia had already split off from Yugoslavia, and that left Bosnia and Herzegovina in the middle of a civil war involving those who wanted independence, and those who wanted to remain part of Yugoslavia and under the control of Serbia.
What resulted was four years of bloody conflict, with over 100,000 people dying between the years 1991 and 1995.
At the beginning of the conflict, other countries and the United Nations had tried to bring truckloads of supplies including food and medicine into Bosnia, but their slow-moving, lumbering trucks were easy targets, and they were soon picked off.
That's when Helge Meyer contacted personnel at the former U.S. Rhine Air Force Base in Germany with a fantastical idea. Meyer suggested that instead of sending supply trucks, they should be sending something that was fast, light and stealthy. Enter the "Ghost Car".
The "Ghost Car"
Meyer and the Air Force personnel took a 1979 Generation II Chevrolet Camaro and added:
- A battering ram
- A mine-clearing blade
- Kevlar panels
- Steel plates on the windows
- Infrared absorbing paint
- A nitrous oxide system
- A body heat detector
- Night vision
- A ground-to-air radio
- Run-flat tires.
Then, soldiers at the Rhein-Main Air Force Base raised over $12,000, which they used to buy food, clothing, toys, medicine, and diapers. These they packed into Meyer's Camaro, which could carry over 800 pounds (400 kg) of food and supplies at a time.
Working near the city of Vukovar, when residents heard the thunderous roar of the "Ghost Car," they would pour out of their homes and gather the much-needed supplies.
One time, the kevlar in Meyer's helmet saved him from taking a bullet to the head, and when caught in a sticky situation, the car's nitrous oxide system took the 5.7- liter V8 Camaro from an already souped-up 220hp to 440hp. Meyer could accelerate the "Ghost Car" to 125 mph (200 km/h) in just 13 seconds.
No weapons on board
Given that the car was so well equipped, you might expect it to be carrying weapons, but when asked, Meyer responded, "My Bible. No handguns, no grenades, nothing like that. My only weapon is my Bible."
While describing his experiences to Air Force personnel at the base, Meyer said, "If God had a Rambo on earth, that could be me," which got Meyer the nickname of "God's Rambo". He went on to write a book describing his exploits entitled, Gottes Rambo.
Helge Meyer talks to IE
Responding to written questions posed by IE, Meyer wrote that he first got involved in the Balkan crisis when "I was Security Ch[i]ef in a big newspaper in Neu Isenburg, ... 6 km from Rhein Main Air Base. But we live[d] in Nord Germany, close to the Danish border. When I have 1.000 D[eutch] m[arks], I ... drive to the Balkan War."
Asked about his experiences, Meyer wrote, "...the Serbs don't like me, the Croat[ians] don't like me, the Muslim[s] don't like me... [They] say: 'If you are gonna help the Serbs, we will kill you. If you gonna help the Croat[ians], we will kill you. If you gonna help the Moslem[s] (sic) we will kill you.' I say: 'I don't care.'"
Meyer added, "I bring the food and medicine, and toys from U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force from Rhein Main Air Base in Frankfurt. [The combatants said,] 'We don't believe you, you work for CIA.' [I said,] 'I can show you my ID.'"
In response to a question asking what was his closest call, Meyer responded: "My closet call was 9 mm in my Kevlar hat," which referred to the kevlar lining of his combat helmet which stopped the bullet heading for his head.
Responding to a question about how his family felt about his risky endeavor, Meyer responded, "My family, my wife and t[w]o kids, never know what I was doing in the first 4 [or] 5 year[s]." "Sometimes w[h]en my wife was calling me in my little office, one of my friends say, 'Oh, Mr. Meyer [is] not in, he is out with the Dire[c]tor."
As for the "Ghost Car," it's still in Meyer's garage, only now it is painted orange, and it has over 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) on it.