Spokane Fire Captain and 30-year veteran has cherished knife stolen

Spokane Fire Captain and 30-year veteran has cherished knife stolen

Andrew Bessmer served 30-years in the U.S. Army, in both active duty and reserve positions. He did three tours of duty in Afghanistan and is a West Point graduate. He retired with the ranking of Colonel and now he’s a Spokane Fire Department fire captain, and a proud veteran.

He proudly displays his military memorabilia in a backyard retreat that he built right next to his home. Memorabilia includes service medals, dress jackets, and up until recently a cherished ceremonial knife given to him by a Nepalese Gurkha he had served with during his second tour.

“We were in charge of training Afghan soldiers,” Bessmer said. “He was proud to have worked with American’s. It was the first time he’d worked with us and presented his knife to us.”

The roughly 16 inch, curved-blade knife is called a kukri, and Bessmer said since it was ceremonial it was finished with gold and brass.

Gurkhas are Nepalese soldiers know for their fierceness and motto of “better to die than be a coward” and serve in the British Army.

Bessmer says he has security video of the thief breaking into his backyard retreat, breaking a small window to get inside before taking a number of bottles of booze and the knife.

“Its a nuisance and it makes you mad and sad that you have to set-up surveillance camera’s in your own backyard,” Bessmer says. The break-in occurred in the middle of the night, as he was at work and his wife was sleeping.

He says the thief can keep the booze, but he would really like the knife back. It’s priceless not because of its monetary value, but because of the memories attached to it.

He says he’s working with detectives but if anybody has any knowledge of the break-in or the thief to contact police.