SEATTLE - This story is about a list you might not know existed. It includes some of Washington state's toughest, bravest, and in one case, most dangerous people.
“I think it's incredible that one man or one woman can change the course of history,” said writer Ben Thompson.
So here we go, the Top 5 Bada**es of Washington state:
#5: Vietnam War chopper pilot Bruce Crandall whose medal of honor-winning actions are depicted in the movie We Were Soldiers.
“The Ia Drang valley. The First Air Cavalry Division is getting pinned down by North Vietnamese, being bombarded from all sides. AK 47's. Heavy machine guns. RPGs.
“This guy flies a helicopter, an unarmed Huey into the middle of this fire fight, lifts out wounded guys, drops off supplies.
“And then he does this 22 more times over the course of 16 hours as these guys are shooting at him. He has to change helicopters four times just because they keep getting shot out from under him,” said Thompson.
#4 19th century long-distance walkers Helga and Clara Estby
“There’s a contest in the paper where somebody is willing to pay $10,000 to any woman who can walk from Spokane to NYC. So Helga Estby and her daughter, they decide they're going to do this.
“It takes them seven months to go 4,600 miles. We're talking like Old West stuff, we're talking Desperadoes, we're talking Indian attacks,” said Thompson.
When they complete the walk, their sponsor refuses to pay.
“Her family ended up in the construction business and made a ton of money so it ended up alright for her,” said Thompson.
#3 Harry Tracy, the last American Desperado.
“Harry Tracy is a bad, bad man,” said Thompson.
In 1902, bank robber and prison escapee Harry Tracy is on the front page of every newspaper in America.
“He shoots his way out of 2 posses and ends up in like Eastern Washington and he shoots his way out of a third posse. The 4th one corners him outside a farm house.
“He shoots his way out of that, kills a couple guys, but they hit him twice and he can’t get away and rather than be taken he pops himself,” said Thompson.
#2 The greatest martial artist of all time, Bruce Lee.
“He was the real deal. You could put a dime in your hand and he would stand three feet away from you and say ‘don’t let me take this dime out of your hand.’
“He would close the distance in no time, take the dime out of your hand before you closed your hand and then when you opened your hand there'd be a penny in it,” said Thompson.
And our #1 Bada**, World War II ace Pappy Boyington.
“He was the commander of the Black Sheep Squadron. He ended up shooting down 28 Japanese fighters, then he gets shot down, himself captured, and put on a prison boat. Survives on the prison boat for like 20 months.
“Pappy Boyington is one of the only people to personally receive a medal of honor that had originally been issued to him posthumously,” said Thompson.
What do you think about that list? Did he get it right? Let us know on our Facebook page.
Copyright 2016 KING