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A Message from Dave
POWs - Death before Dishonor
Article II of the US Military Code of Conduct states: I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have means to resist.
With what we have all seen the current terrorists do to their captives (beheading with seemingly blunt knives) I could not even imagine surrendering. One might be quick to point out cases where our soldiers survived after surrendering. But there were consequences. Especially when we think back to WWII. Those who lived, many bore unthinkable tortures with long term physical and mental effects. In addition, the ones forced into labor-turning their mind and body (or body at least) against their fellow soldiers and country building bridges, bunkers, working in mines, etc. Also there is the drawback of losing valuable military secrets, intelligence and sensitive equipment via the surrender route.
The inspiration to write this came while attending a Special Forces Association Chapter 78 Christmas party. At the party a dozen or so Vietnam POW's were honored by the Special Forces Association. Their stories were gripping. Recruited and trained by our CIA and sent on secret spy missions into North Vietnam to spy, sabotage and stir up local resistance. Colonel Moc A Tai was the ranking officer among them and had commanded Team Dragon. He was captured July 13, 1963-and abandoned by our government
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because he was a native of Viet Nam. He escaped (wait for it) in 1983 (the US pulled out in late '75), and he is now living in the United States. The thing that overwhelmed me was to see these guys who had spent 20 years plus, abandoned by our government and with no country left to return to-were smiling, laughing and enjoying themselves as if it had never happened. I wanted to ask them what kept them going, but the language barrier was too much for me to communicate. But I did pick up on the fact they had a lot of humility. It reminded me of my grandfather who had been caught up in a great massacre during WWI. His father was a British Vice Counsel and he had to flee with a price on his head leaving his wife and six children behind. The family was in danger too so they disguised themselves in Kurdish clothing and went into hiding and eventually escaped and came to the United States. But not until after witnessing the most unbearable atrocities imaginable. Friends gutted like a fish before their eyes, some burned to death, some starved to death. My grandfather had that same aura about him, grateful and always happy. He had also been captured and was the only one of the captives there that escaped with the help of his mother from a prison that was seemingly impossible to escape from.
I will open with an excerpt from the citation of Admiral James Bond Stockdale (Ret.). The senior American prisoner of the Vietnam War. Awarded the Medal of Honor for his "Valiant Leadership and Extraordinary Courage" as the leader of prisoner resistance during his captivity.
This article gives great insight on what our POWs went through psychologically.
James Bond Stockdale - Dignity and Honor in Vietnam
There are a lot of things (a torturer) can't do with torture. Aristotle said that compulsion and free will can coexist, and he was right ... A man about to undergo torture must have burned into his mind the fact that he can be hemmed in only within a very narrow window and that he need not volunteer information ...
To keep your integrity, your dignity, your soul, you have to retain responsibility for your actions, to deal with guilt. (Yes, I lost the bubble, I might have done better, but I didn't") You need to look squarely at what you did and measure its limited gravity in the light of the overall truth of the total situation, then use the guilt, such as it is, as a cleansing fire to purge the fault, as a goad for future resolve, and above all not be consumed by it. But you have to do all this yourself. To say that guilt doesn't exist, or that it was the work of "evil spirits" or "brainwashers" is self delusion ... What is indispensable to avoiding the web of fear and guilt is the ability to stand isolated, without friends and surrounded by entreaters, and quite uncharitably say "no," without the crutch of anger, without embarrassment, with finality and with commitment to the consequences ...
Young Americans in Hanoi learned fast. They made no deals. They learned that "meeting them half way" was the road to degradation. My hypothetical young prison mate soon learned that impulses, working against the grain, are very important in political prisons, that one learns to enjoy fighting city hall, to enjoy giving the enemy upside-down logic problems, that one soon finds himself taking his lumps with pride and not merely liking but loving that tapping guy next door, the man he never sees, the man he bares his soul to after each torture session, until he realizes he is thereby expiating all residual guilt. Then he realizes he can't be hurt and can't be had as long as he tells the truth and clings to that forgiving band of brothers who are becoming his country, his family"
- James Bond Stockdale, "Dignity and Honor in Vietnam," Wall Street Journal, April 16, 1982.
My goals in writing this is to talk about honor and the individual responsibilities of POW's and the responsibility of every American and how their actions can make life harder or easier on our POW's.
Upon the United States winning its independence President Washington and our great nation soon faced many crises and one of those was POWs captured and held for ransom in Tripoli by the Muslims. It took 5 years to win their release and during that period Washington had to resist the compromise of principles against expediency to gain there release. During that time every decision was crucial to the path this nation would follow. Would we become what we despised in Europe or become a truly free nation measured by opportunity under Gods grace. As our founders debated, our POWs languished many of whom fought for our independence, but they still remained loyal to our country.
"Despite the different status and accommodation of men and officers and the impossibility of reconciling themselves to captivity, few Americans abandoned their nation or their comrades for Islam [they had been pummeled by their captors that they were infidels and had to become Muslim]. Had they embraced Islam, or decided to serve Pacha Yusuf or the dey, the American prisoners might have enjoyed a prosperous life, Captain Bainbaridge believed "there never was so depraved a set of mortals as Sailors are," and was shocked that some of the captive sailors stole their comrades' clothes to buy liquor. But they were not so depraved as to abandon their country. Only 5 of the 307 Philadelphia Naval ships sailors "turned Turk," and William Ray was thankful that the "first one who disgraced our flag" in Tripoli by doing so was not really; an American but a German, a "perfidious wretch" who had betrayed his comrades by spying on them even before he donned "the dress of a Turk."
As for the five, betraying one's conscience had severe consequences. Upon their release they were given a choice to return to their country. The German chose to remain and the other four chose to return to the US. Their shipmates would never forget the four men's faces as they were led under guard out of the city never to be seen again. The penalty for betrayal of Islam, for they had turned Turk (Muslim) consigned them to a horrible death.
These consequences were severe but few Americans suffered them. Under the most dire circumstances, American sailors remained true to their nation, even when that nation seemed to abandon them "O! America," Cathcart wrote, "could you see the miserable situation of your citizens in captivity, who have shed their blood to secure you the liberty you now possess."
These excerpts were taken from "The Crescent Obscured" The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815
The traditions of honor and loyalty set by our POWs held true up to the Korean War where things drastically changed. During Korea - Out of 7,140 POWs, 40% died in captivity. All successful escapes took place near the front lines enroute to the POW Camps, there were no successful escapes once in camp. Our POWs were easily controlled through psychological techniques and group therapy. The Chinese made great strides in getting POWs to denounce our country. Approximately 1 in three were guilty of some sort of collaboration with the enemy. 21 POWs refused to be repatriated.
President Eisenhower acknowledged the sad record of Americans in Korea and mandated extensive reforms in prisoner behavior. He argued that those entering service no longer possessed a knowledge of what America is ... and why they were fighting. In 1955 Eisenhower approved a Code of Conduct to counter what was happening. The Code begins and ends like this. "I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America." The "Code of Conduct" was written because of Korean War POWs.
The Korean War marked many changes in Americans. Americans became afraid, catering to world opinion. President Truman relieved arguably the best General the United States has ever seen in its history to prevent him from winning the war. General MacArthur was called upon to stop the invasion of the North Koreans into South Korea. MacArthur took an unprepared Army lacking in equipment and training and drove back the North Koreans in 1950. The war was all but won, and then the Chinese stepped in to help the North Koreans also taking control of our POWs. Truman became afraid of the Chinese and relieved General MacArthur who knew how to defeat the Chinese and win the war. This event marked the death of our Military. We have been catering to fear (i.e.) world opinion and have not won a war since. This had a huge impact on our POWs-they were hung out to dry. Instead of fighting to win the war and liberate our POWs along with some payback to send a message to those that would mess with Americans we negotiated as our POWs suffered and died. The fate of each POW was uncertain until the last man crossed into South Korea.
Through President Truman's actions and future actions by our leaders-adopting Truman's example of a "no win" policy, measured response, respond in kind-which most of our Spec Op guys are familiar with-our POWs became political prisoners with their fate resting with weak politicians negotiating and ultimately buying their release with concessions.
Look, to enter into war with anything else in mind but total victory brings horrible psychological pressure on our POWs. Let me explain, although there is no perfect solution, the best one is to put as much fear as possible into our enemies minds - that they will pay dearly for the mistreatment of our POWs and this will also help our POWs psychologically as they suffer in captivity.
Also it should be known across the world that we take care of our own. It is the principle of it that should always be remembered. As a soldier I dreaded the thought of becoming a POW because I was well aware of our historical record on POWs and I knew that I would be putting my faith in God because politicians are not to be trusted. Many still believe we left POWs in Vietnam. The North Koreans were physically brutal to our POWs and the Chinese employed a combination of physical and psychological torture that was quite effective in breaking our men down. Even before hunger, disease, and general mistreatment became their way of life, new prisoners usually faced interrogations. The Chinese and North Koreans understood that most POWs possessed little information of value, but they also understood interrogations could break down a prisoner's resistance, especially if they first introduced an element of terror as was done with Korean War POW Ray Baumbach:
"There were between seventy-five and a hundred of us prisoners when I was captured. This Chinese officer singled out fifteen of us and lined us up. He then shot every third man in the back of the head . I was standing right next to a man who was shot. I was just struck dumb. I couldn't think of anything. I just stood there figuring I might be next. The officer who did the shooting told us he had gone to Washington State University. He even said he had gone through Fort Lewis. After he shot these men, he said, "That is to let you know that if you step out of line, that's how many we're going to kill." They also shot men every night who couldn't make it on the march. They just wouldn't fool with them. You could hear shots all night long.
Tully Cox and some more guys arrived by truck in our camp. Believe me, they looked anything but human. We looked bad, but when we saw them, we felt like crying. They were all that was left of a group of POWs who had been kept down in some valley all winter. I told this one Chink interpreter if only the people of in the United States could see the way these men had been treated. What did he think would happen to his so-called volunteer troops in Korea. If just one picture could have been put in Life magazine. I really rubbed it in his face. I told him how did he ever expect any POW who saw this to believe the schooling where they bragged about humane treatment they were giving our prisoners. He finally got pissed off, said it was not true, and headed off to headquarters. You could always tell when you got the best of them, they would always say, "No, this is not true," or "You better correct your attitude."
Although our POWs during the Korean conflict were looked down upon for their conduct and the code of conduct was written I feel that this was only a Band-Aid. The core problems still exist to this day within our Military. I am talking about lack of leadership, moral courage and accepting the ridiculous no win polices of our politicians.
let others know what you think about this month's message >>
At this time I wish to talk about the importance of SERE: Survival Evasion Resistance Escape.
While serving in the Special Forces as a Detachment Commander, commonly called an A team-although Detachment more accurately describes what we do in the Special Forces-we are trained to "detach" ourselves and function independently without the support conventional units have.
Because of this, SERE training was very important because, like pilots, a lot of our missions would put us 1,000s of miles deep into enemy/hostile territory unsupported (we were on our own).
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Dialogue by the team is important
Team members would often make a pact between themselves for anticipated situations that could occur. Even deciding if being captured was an option or not. This was very important because of the covert and clandestine ways we were sometimes called upon to operate. We would most assuredly be shot as spies, but not before being tortured for information or if we were lucky maybe the enemy would have a political use for us like propaganda, but either way torture was a certainty. So we would decide amongst us in advance what to do. In the military I would hear this saying sometimes, "better red than dead." But we unanimously agreed better to die fighting with honor. So we did not get caught in a situation like Wake Island. (Note on Wake: While the troops were fighting their hearts out, their Commander was in a bunker with the communication lines cut with no idea what was going on and eventually the Marine Major Devereux and the Naval Officer CMDR Cunningham made the decision to surrender while their men were still fighting. MAJ Devereux led the Japanese around the Island with a white flag ordering his men to lay down their arms while they were still fighting. The Marines were stunned at this action and to this day the survivors still have mixed feelings thinking they should have never surrendered. Some were taken to camps where some survived, some were executed and some were forced to aid the enemy by building defenses against the US and then they were executed, approximately 98 on Wake Island alone.)
Survival is best accomplished through preparing yourself through training and knowledge gained through study, reading and practice. Each individual should take personal responsibility for this because when you become separated or a POW you will be on your own without support.
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S Size up the situation, surroundings, physical condition, equipment.
U Use all your senses.
R Remember where you are.
V Vanquish fear and panic.
I Improvise and improve.
V Value living.
A Act like the natives.
L Live by your wits.
POW Survival Tips
It is hard to predict where war might take us but it is safe to say that our modern day enemies will reign unbearable torture and physical discomfort, and wage a psychological battle to break soldiers and others caught in the crossfire physically and mentally. So I will list things that will help.
1. Leadership is the key and in most cases will not be easy, for our enemies understand divide and conquer. But a POWs best chance is to keep unity and work as a team to help one another and leadership is the best way to accomplish that. Trust is going to become your biggest obstacle. The enemy will do everything he can to make you distrust one another. Units that have spent time together and were captured intact have done better in this area. Soldiers thrown together who do not know each other will have a very difficult time. This leads to a good reason for SERE training.
2. The enemy will deprive you of food and water in most situations and use food to break you down physically. Starvation is a horrible form of torture and it doesn't take long to break physically limiting your chance of escape and survival. So the tip is to eat anything you can as often as you can even if you don't feel like it. Missing one meal can take weeks to catch up from. POWs acting finicky or losing their appetite and not eating are least likely to survive. This is where your buddies need to help motivate you. While we're on food. If possible cook the shit out of it to kill parasites like trichinosis, etc. Always boil the water for five minutes before drinking if possible to prevent dysentery. You can also purify water with iodine tablets and bleach. If you have dysentery try and eat burned and starchy substances like the burnt crust at the bottom of the pan, people have even ground up charcoal as fine as they could and mixed it with water drinking it. Weeds can be a source of food, so learn to identify and test for edible foods. Tea is also helpful and can be brewed from different tree barks and other plants and seeds etc. The stronger the better, it can help with diarrhea, dysentery and worms. Each location and time of year is going to pose a challenge, I think the worst time is winter because this is when food is most scarce and it is hard to stay warm. For example some of our POWs would loose their vision at night due to a lack of vitamin A. But in the spring when they could eat some green vegetables like cabbage their night vision would return.
3. Health, certain curable ailments can become fatal due to lack of medication and disinfectants. Some thoughts here are. A lot of POWs will suffer from wounds, injuries, and other health issues. We will start with the wounded. It is most important to stop the bleeding don't be afraid to poke your finger in and stop it with direct pressure or stop it by stuffing a bandage or some sterile cloth in the wound. 90% or more times you can stop the bleeding this way. Use of a tourniquet destroys tissue causing loss of limb, infection, gangrene and may be deadly so avoid a tourniquet at all costs, of course this advice is in absence of medical support. To sterilize POWs have been reduced to using their own urine or maggots when nothing is available. Knowledge of plant medicine is very important. Through brewing different teas from tree barks, acorns, banana plants, common plantain, strawberry leaves, blackberry stems, willow and aspen trees and many more. From these you can make many remedies and disinfectants for burns, skin problems, parasites, lice and insect bites, aches, colds, fevers, inflammations, pain, sores wounds, etc. Also a positive mental attitude will help. A lot of POWs succumb to what soldiers would call give-up-itis, where they would just give up not eat and eventually perish. Fight the good fight. Don't give in. Don't let them win. God wants you to live and your friends and family want to see you again. It is also important for a POW to keep moving whenever you can. They will put you in tortuous positions to break you but you need to do the best you can when you can to try to move around.
Until You Try
It is hard to imagine what you can do until you try. Capt. Gene N. Lam was a battalion surgeon before he was captured on December 1, 1950. Lam believes that many of the individual deaths could have been prevented with better leadership, stronger discipline, an enhanced will to live, and a basic knowledge of how to protect and heal the body and mind. You may have injuries. You may be wounded, you may be burned. In case of an injury if you can move, treat it and get going. Men in Korea gave up because they had a wound in their little finger. That's one extreme. At the other extreme were men who had broken bones, severe wounds, who amputated their own legs, whittled out a crutch and kept going. It can be done. But don't give up. A good example is a Navy helicopter pilot who bellied in on a mountain top, and in doing so broke all the bones in both feet. He walked for fifteen days with no treatment. He cannot walk today, but he came out alive. Back injuries: men have broken their backs when they hit the ground. When they regained consciousness, they rolled around, found a stick or board, strapped themselves to it, and got up and walked out. Men with open, sucking chest wounds stuck a handkerchief into that hole and kept on going. We had a man in our camp with a terrific chest wound; he stuffed it up, lived, and came out three years later.
4. Do not fall into despair. Find something to keep busy, the POWs that stay idle do not fare well. Just the littlest things can help use your imagination. Strengthen your will to survive by thinking of the code of conduct, pledge of allegiance, faith in America, patriotic songs, family, friends and God..
5. Sense of humor is very important it helps keep you positive. You know what they say laughter is the best cure, get mischievous Play tricks on your guards, mess back with them, out think them, but know your boundaries, because you do not want retaliation.
6. Faith and hope are important. Carry a small Bible maybe they will let you keep it or a good trick is to take your favorite verses and sew them into your clothing where they may go unnoticed. Many POWs credited their spiritual belief in God for their survival.
Jim Crombie also reflected back on his long months as a POW and how his Religious faith had contributed to his survival. After twenty-eight months of Captivity and all the rumors about the end of the war, we finally received the news of the cease fire. The electricity that went through the camp was awesome, and I immediately got down on my knees and thanked the Lord. He had protected me through all this in so many ways. Four or five times I could have been gone and that's the reason the words of the 91st Psalm meant so much to me. We live within the shadow of the Almighty sheltered by the God who is above all gods. Thus I declare that He is my God and I am trusting Him for he rescues you from every trap, protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with His wings. He will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor, Now you don't need to be afraid of the dark anymore or fear the dangers of the day nor dread the plagues of darkness nor disasters in the morning. I just have to tell you that faith was the key to my survival, and it has been an integral part of my life since then.
7. Your attitude is everything, it can mean the difference of making it or not and I think the best way to talk about this is to hear a couple of quotes from POWs that survived.
The pitiful sight of those helpless men, younger than I, lying by the side of the road awaiting their own execution took away all feeling of fatigue, hunger, and cold ... One young man, as his last earthly act, was singing "God Bless America" as loudly as his weak cracking voice was able. Tears were streaming down his face as we marched past. There were tears on our faces as well. I was staggered by feelings of hopelessness and grief.
- Larry Zellers, civilian prisoner and Tiger Death March survivor
I wasn't going to let no seventy-year old nun out walk me. No, that wasn't going to happen.
- Irv Langell, Tiger Death March survivor
You just had to take it one day at a time. I opened my eyes each morning to the hope I was going to close them that night.
- Douglas Tanner, Korean War POW
I knew that somehow I was going to get out. I had made my mind up regardless of how bad it got, I was not going to succumb and holler, "I don't have the will to live." I was going to hang in there until I got off that peninsula; then if I fell dead I figured that I had accomplished my mission. I didn't want my body buried over there in that God-forsaken land.
- Glenn Reynolds, Korean War POW
What I would like to focus on is RESISTANCE because this will become the most important decision POWs have to make. At this time I will introduce the code of conduct because it outlines it all.
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THE CODE OF CONDUCT
Article I. I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.
Article II. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.
Article III. If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parcels nor special favors from the enemy.
Article IV. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way,
Article V. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.
Article VI. I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.
What does it take to resist? There can be many motivations to resist. 'for some it just comes naturally from a strong will, stubbornness , competiveness, dislike, pride, but if you do not have anything working for you try honor.
Honor is submitting to a code like the Code of Conduct. Honor demands a knowledge of right and wrong, and character traits like maturity, will, flexibility, confidence, endurance, decisiveness, poise under stress, creativity and most of all humility to submit to a greater cause then your self. Patriotism and love for your country and on the spiritual side God.
In the end it will boil down to humility-submitting to a greater cause then yourself, honor. You will need humility to recover if you survive your ordeal. Although anger, fear, guilt, vengeance, implacability or insecurity can motivate, unyielding tenacity can be useful in a short period of time. Like an escape attempt. These emotions will cause inner damage over a long period of captivity and you may lose control of your soul to them.
An example of how they can be useful. As we were taught, your best chance for escape is when you are first captured. Because they are usually not organized at this point and the first thing the enemy does is begin to break you down physically, by beating you, depriving you of food, water, and exercise. You grow weak very rapidly making it physically harder to escape. So at the point of capture anger, vengeance, resentment can give you an edge waiting like a time bomb to go off you calmly wait for that one moment they make a mistake or their guard is down and you explode with a force of violence calculating every move to gain the advantage and escape. Most escapes took place en route to camps or holding areas.
But when put into a POW camp in a long term setting it is not healthy to keep such emotions pent up. It is much better to operate with honor and integrity applying the principles you have learned. Letting your conscience be your guide. Your conscience is programmed by learning principles you are taught and things you experience and it weighs and measures our actions to determine what is right and what is wrong. Some people may seem like they have no conscience. But you can usually trace it back to their upbringing and background or lack of.
A POW must know that even though he is in captivity the war is not over for him. The enemy will be battling for his soul. Here I have to tread where most will not. Not all of our POWs returned with honor. I say this not for us to pass judgment for that should be left to their fellow POWs, but to learn from their behavior. When one dishonors himself he becomes over ridden with guilt. This results in some form of justification, usually absorbing one's self in the illusion they have created to live with oneself. These people can redeem themselves by facing reality which takes humility. The reason I say this is because for many of our POWs misery did not end with their release. Not only did they have to recover physically but also mentally and this can be difficult. Forgiving themselves or our country for betrayal and carrying on with life in an honorable fashion or they can continue a miserable life in guilt and bitterness in disassociation from reality hurting themselves, love ones and our nation.
The enemy can torture and they will, but the one thing they know even though they have control of you is they do not have control of your mind and your volition to choose.
POWs individual responsibilities are covered in the code of conduct, which I think is a good code and I believe in it. But I want to add a dose of reality to it. Typically what happens to our POWs in recent history in Korea, Vietnam, and in the Middle East is the locals are mad because we have been bombing the hell out of them and they want revenge. So the locals are often more dangerous then the soldiers. In many situations POWs were paraded in front of the locals who would deliver blows, spit and try to inflict as much harm as their captures would let them. Most of us have witnessed these events on the news. Anyway you are going to be beaten by both your guards and the locals to within inches of your life as you begin a journey with usually many stops and interrogations to where they intend to keep you in captivity.
On this journey you will be beaten interrogated and deprived of food and water and within a short period of time your chances for escape become more and more impossible. You will learn fast to convince the enemy you are worse than you are through acting. Trying to put on the most convincing performance you can. They will interrogate you along the way often with the good guy bad guy routine. They will want information. The school of thought here is there are few that can hold to the beating and tortures the enemy will inflict on you so timing is important at critical decisive moments you will need to give them something that will not compromise your fellow POWs or that will not aid the enemy to make it stop. It's a battle of wits and you have to decide what's worth dying for or not.
It is very important to have a cover story thought out. When I was a team commander we always prepared a cover story and sometimes it included press releases to the News to help collaborate it. This was done in the form of written instructions left behind in the event of missed contacts. It was to be assumed we were escaping and evading or have been captured, and these instructions were designed to aid us in either event. Unfortunately not all troops captured are prepared this way so they will have to fly by the seat of their pants. As you go through this journey of interrogation it will be a lot like a high stake poker game. Your captors will be analyzing you and stacking the cards against you and you will be analyzing them trying to figure them out whether they are bluffing or not.
At some point you will usually encounter the threat of death and you can expect to hear the click of an empty chamber. At this stage the stakes just get higher because now they have to get to you with worse things then death, horrific unbelievable tortures or even worse yet the threat of killing your fellow POWs. It is a lot easier to make a life and death decision for yourself then it is for your buddies and this is where some of the strongest have cracked. I know I would not like to make that call.
At some point you will arrive at a final destination and usually the guards and interrogators are more experienced. So it just gets worse in some ways and better in other ways. They will hammer on you until they feel satisfied they have gotten all the military info you have to offer. When you are captured as a group this is both a blessing and curse. The blessing is "misery loves company" sometimes just the sight of one of your buddies can provide a huge psychological lift. The thought of knowing you are not alone. The curse is not knowing how your buddies are holding up and what they have told. The enemy will try and trick you into thinking they have said something they haven't and you have to keep the faith not knowing. This is why it is so important to include a cover story as part of your mission planning. At some point when they think they have what they want they might take you out of isolation and you can have contact with one another and it is a great lift and you can compare notes carefully because you can assume they will be observing and listening. This does not mean that it is over it could be part of their game or they could find out you tricked them or some political event could trigger a new round of torture. When they are satisfied with the military info you gave them then they will turn their efforts onto what kind of propaganda you can provide to use in the war. They will try and make you write and sign things these are all tricks to use your signature in propaganda. They will try and make you denounce your countries actions and admit to war crimes, etc. At some point you can expect to be videoed and photographed in some setting to be used in propaganda and to further break you.
I haven't gone into the tortures our POWs suffered but they are vast and unbelievable many have died at the hands of their captors and it is safe to say that the life of a POW is living hell.
Some generalities are that some captors respect honor and courage and these qualities have gained some small favor whereas cowardice and weakness only gains favor in political exploitive values and of course you have to live with your decision and behavior. The code individuals should strive for is to Return with Honor. If you are lucky enough to survive as a POW and be released unfortunately it often is not over. There will be those that question your behavior and my advise is to not let what other people think negatively affect you try and learn from it and put it in its proper place and use courage to regain or maintain your self-esteem and not bring any more punishment onto yourself. You do not have to justify your actions to yourself we are all humans and all we can do is our best and if we didn't give it our best or we made mistakes we just move on and look to the future and not live in the past. Many of our POWs also come back with health issues that they may have to live with many have felt betrayed by our country and here the key is not to become bitter it will only make it worse.
In conclusion to the individuals responsibilities. Take your training seriously. Constantly use every opportunity to prepare yourself and gain knowledge as a professional Soldier. Do your homework if possible before deploying read up on the locals, study plants and animal life and gain as much info as you can preparing yourself in everyway and talk with your buddies and make pacts the more prepared and tougher you are the better your chances of survival.
What do you think about the current soldiers' code of conduct? >>
Society's Responsibility to POWs
I. We will start with the family - you can have a huge impact on the fate of your sons and daughters as POWs through their upbringing and training. There are other benefits to this as well, preparing your children to face and take responsibilities in the real world without Mommy and Daddy to be there to make it better. This training helps them and our country. Most all the wars we have entered into we have not been prepared. Unprepared Soldiers are sent into battle without the proper equipment and training. The unfortunate ones captured, would fall into two categories, ones with no potential to survive and ones with the potential to survive. This boiled down to toughness. Mommies boys that have lived a sheltered life and maybe their first time away from home had almost no chance to survive. Individuals that were toughened through a variety of ways had a chance to survive and the more independent they were, to escape. Toughness for our boys comes in different ways. Some from spending time outdoors, back packing, hunting, fishing, contact sports, football, hockey, boxing, martial arts, wrestling, summer camps, to get them use to being away from home, etc. and some come from broken families forced to grow up early and face the harsh realities in life or from growing up in rough neighborhoods in the city forced into survival skill at a young age. They compliment each other. The skills of a outdoorsmen with the back street smarts of a tough city boy often teamed up to help each other pull through. So the message here is clear. You owe it to your children to prepare them for the most extreme adversities they may face in life with a good system of values and self discipline, respect for authority, confidence, courage and honor.
"Not all of the crewmen had solid educational backgrounds. Though not converted by the North Korean arguments they were confused by them. I felt then - and still feel - that in these days of psychological warfare, US military personnel need more exposure to the history of American Institutions and the comparative values of the democratic way of life. Our best defense against communist propaganda. I believe, is a strong confidence in our form of government, based not on blind faith but enlightened understanding." LT Murphy XO spy ship Pueblo
II. I think LT Murphy got it right. The next area of responsibility - falls on our educators to teach students the fundamentals and develop their learning skills. To face and take on the mental challenges of adapting to new situations. Instead of pushing ridiculous social agendas, evolution, sex education, alternate life styles, environmental activism (global warming, etc.), socialism and subjective revisionist views of history instead of the truth and learning skills they deserve. At every camp in North Korea there was a Young Chinese Officer educated in our Universities waiting to break our soldiers just like Ray Baumbach had encountered from Washington State University that I had mentioned earlier. If our Universities and educators had been teaching what it means to be an American instead of paving the way for these tyrants with their liberal socialistic communist agendas our POWs might have had a different greeting.
Clarence Adams was one of the 21 POWs that choose not to be repatriated and in 1966 was allowed to return to the US. Upon his arrival in San Francisco he was contacted by UCLA and another University I think University of Hawaii and was offered teaching positions. He was hounded for 1 year to take various teaching positions in our Universities. This demonstrated how out of touch our Universities are with American values and the responsibility of Freedom. When Clarence had made travel arrangements to Memphis his home town mobs had gathered to kill him so he was forced to turn back and secretly return with the aid of some Uncles. I find this ironic that our Universities revered him and the mob wanted to kill him. If Americans want to hold onto Freedom at some point we need to address the problem of our educators.
III. Our churches should focus on teaching the word of God from the Bible the way God intended to make each individual strong, independent and develop a relationship with God to use his power and grace through life. The Bible covers everything we will ever encounter in life and it is a shame to not arm each congregation with the grace and power of God. With God you are never alone.
"The more I thought about it the more I realized that our fate probably depended less on what the US did than on North Koreans intentions. They literally held us and all the cards. That this was true - that a two bit power such as North Korea could attack the world's strongest country with near impunity - struck me as almost unbelievable. It still does." LT Murphy XO Spy ship Pueblo thoughts in captivity
IV. Next is our military should do its best to train and prepare all our soldiers to fight first and arm them with the knowledge and skills on how to survive as a POW. When the Military does not take care of its own not only do our POWs suffer but it sends the wrong message around the world and especially to our enemies. Some examples of this are: First the Pueblo a Navy spy ship captured by the North Koreans and the recent capture of British Marines. In both situations no resistance was attempted and no support or assistance was given and no effort of retaliation was made. Yet both were operating in waters close to hostile unpredictable countries. In the case of the Pueblo the United States paid dearly for seventeen years through the use of captured decipher equipment and John Anthony Walker, Jr. a Chief Warrant Officer and communication specialist for the US Navy, a traitor selling the key codes to the Soviet Union. They monitored all our secret messages for seventeen years. Both these incidents were avoidable had they been supported properly. An important principle for both the Military and our country is never send our troops where they can't be supported. The second that comes to mind is the 1979 Iranian takeover of our embassy clearly an act of war. Marines were on station at the front gate - but by President Jimmy Carter's order they had no ammunition in their weapons. Our embassy was overrun and approximately 70 Americans were held hostage for 444 days. During this time we mounted a failed rescue attempt showing the world we couldn't even rescue our own people. This should never have happened, it represented post Vietnam "Smiles for Bullets" era of liberalism (which changed somewhat under the leadership of President Reagan). 1975 Mayaguez: less then two weeks after our retreat of South Vietnam, forces of the communist Khmer Rouge in Cambodia attacked and seized an American merchant ship, the Mayaguez. President Ford mounted a rescue effort. I thought this would be my first time in combat because we in the 1st Ranger BN were called on alert, packed our sea boxes and went to a staging area at Hunter Army Airfield. As we prepared for combat I will never forget the speech given by our Battalion CMDR: he said that some of us would be killed but he would make sure that everyone returned even our dead bodies. I thought that odd at the time but it quickly made sense. The Marines took over the rescue and we had to stand down-something about not being able to deploy troops on foreign soil without an act of congress but the president could use the Marines. During the Marines withdrawal PFC Gary Hall, LCPL Joseph Hargrove and PVT Danny Marshall were left behind-they held out for approximately 2 to 3 days and were caught while trying to steal food and were executed. Plenty of time to mount a rescue effort but we left them there only to learn their fate 25 years later. (What my CMDR said about not leaving anyone behind came back into my mind.) October 1993 Somalia: Our troops were sent on a mission without proper support even though it had been requested but it was denied by the Clinton administration. On the mission they were ambushed and two helicopters were shot down-our soldiers were trapped and the only support we could give was from the Night Stalkers with their helicopters. They did an unbelievable job of supporting our troops in the absence of any other options. Eventually a rescue effort was mounted with the help of the Pakistani Forces and our troops fought their way out some running on foot which became known as the MOG mile. Left behind was WO Michael Durant one of the helicopter pilots. WO Durant survived because of his training and he was released after 11 days. Once again we sent our troops into harms way without support and we ran home with no retaliation for the world to see. For a Ranger this was humiliating. 2001 China shot down a US spy plane the EP - 3 which was forced to land in Hainan. The Chinese took control of the plane and thoroughly explored the electronic capabilities before allowing the crew to leave-eventually the plane was dismantled and crated and returned. I can only imagine what secrets were lost and of course there was no retaliation and China kept their preferred trade status. I think you can see some patterns here-we continue to elect into power politicians with no qualifications whatsoever to lead our Military and our Military leadership or lack of continually compromises Military doctrine and principles with disastrous results-sending the wrong messages to the world. The Military has a responsibility to unite and not compromise doctrine and principles and use moral courage to support its troops properly. It also should do everything in its power to liberate POWs and nurture them back to mental health as well as physical.
California's Governor Ronald Reagan, declared that Bucher the CMDR Pueblo was being made a "scapegoat" to cover up the shortcomings of the Johnson administration. At the time of the seizure of the Pueblo, Reagan was quoted as wanting to give the North Koreans a 24 hour ultimatum. If it was ignored, the US was to go in and get the ship out by force using nuclear weapons if necessary. To some this may seem drastic but I ask you if you were one of the captives being beaten and tortured to within an inch of your life who would you call for a rescue? President Ronald Reagan, President Johnson, or President Carter? I will give you a clue: when news of Ronald Reagan being elected president reached Iran and he said he would not honor any agreement made by President Carter the US embassy hostages in Iran were immediately released before he was sworn in after 444 days of captivity.
Iran Tries to Capture American Soldiers in Iraq - But They Fight Back
Iran is currently trying to capture American soldiers for probably political and propaganda purposes, as well as torture, so you in duty in any susceptible areas keep that in mind. Our soldiers in this case-during a skirmish on September 6, 2006, in Iraq, did not allow themselves to be captured and inflicted casualties on their IRANIAN aggressors. This probably led to the Iranians picking a target with smaller teeth-the British sailors recently abducted in the Persian Gulf.
Read the article from Time >>
Let others know what you think >>
V. As you can see the message society sent to the world by electing Ronald Reagan President had a huge impact on our POWs and hostages. Society has the responsibility to support our troops in their war effort and putting pressure on individuals, companies, news outlets, celebrities and politicians that betray our Soldiers and country. A lot of our POWs were court marshaled or considered for court marshal after their return home for collaborating with the enemy and often under duress of both mental and physical torture. But our politicians and celebrities are allowed to collaborate with the enemy by our government with no repercussions. I will cite Jane Fonda as an example. In 1972 she went to North Vietnam visiting the Hanoi Hilton a prison for our POWs to show active support for their cause and denounced US servicemen and betrayed our POWs that had passed a note to her by immediately handing it over to the North Vietnamese. Not only did she collaborate with the enemy, a clear case of treason, but she betrayed our POWs causing four of them to be tortured and possibly some deaths among our POWs. This brings me to our politicians. No one should be above the law and they should be held accountable for their actions by society. Most of our politicians and celebrities are cowards and would shut up and run and hide if society spoke out and used their collective power responsibly. But currently we are acting like a bunch of sheep with corporations, news media, universities and schools, celebrities and politicians going unchecked, sponsoring anti war activities and undermining the support of our troops. When you are a POW and see society's behavior and the enemy will use that to help break you it is hard to keep your honor when they have none.
What do you think is society's responsibility to POWs? >>
What are the long term effects when society breaks down and we do not support our POWs and bring them home? It is hard to know how many have been dissuaded from the service of our country because of the behavior of society letting politicians, educators, celebrities, activists and the news media undermine the establishment of this country claiming it is there right to even commit treason. I know it affected me greatly when I first entered the service and pulled duty marching in a local parade where I was spit on and trash was hurled at some of us. We were told not to react. It took a long time for me to sort it out. This was not right and shouldn't have been tolerated. How is a Soldier expected to honor his country when it doesn't pay him the same respect? We do it because we know better, we have honor, integrity and love our country but this is something no soldier should have to endure from their own country.
Selected comments may be posted on the next newsletter!
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Word of Truth
By Rev G.J. Rako, LTC (Ret) USAR
Prisoners or Slaves
Christians may soon find themselves in prison for merely professing Christ. The forces of darkness are mounting an insidious attack upon Christians. You can view this attack on the news almost every night. Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you (I John 3:13). We as a society have become tolerant of every form of evil. However, we are increasingly growing intolerant of the profession of Christ and His magnificent efficacious, substitutionary, complete work on the cross. Jesus Christ is the God-Man; the only one qualified to go to the cross and be the propitiation for our sins. The wages of sin is death. We were born physically alive but spiritually dead in our sin (passed from Adam).
There existed a great wall between man and God, the sin barrier. All men are prisoners in the slave market of sin behind this great wall. No one can scale this wall or break
He was in His humanity born of a virgin (no genetic sin nature passed down through the man in copulation) and committed not even one act of personal sin during His entire life. He was in His humanity perfect, the perfect Lamb of God without spot or blemish. God the Father imputed to Him all the sins of the world past, present, and future and then judged them in His own body on the cross. This great selfless act demonstrated the love of God. Jesus Christ took our punishment (spiritual death) so that we may live in eternity with God in perfect happiness with God forever. We now are as close to God as our own free will, we can appropriate this so great salvation by accepting the free gift of eternal life. Faith alone in Christ alone, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved (Acts 16:31). Consider a few more of the references from scripture:
Matt 1:21. She (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.
Matt 11:28. Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I shall give you rest.
Luke 19:10. For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
John 3:15-18. That whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God loved the world so much that He gave His uniquely born Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe is judged already, because he has not believed in the uniquely born Son of God.
John 3:36. He who believes in the Son has eternal life...
John 6:47. Truly, truly, I say to you he that believes on Me has eternal life.
John 14:6. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes to the father but by me."
John 20:31. But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that by believing you might have life in His name.
Acts 4:12. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, whereby we must be saved
Rom 3:22-24. Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption, which is in Christ Jesus.
Rom 3:28. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.
Rom 5:1. Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:8. God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died as a substitute for us.
Rom 6:23. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Rom 8:1-2. Therefore, there is now no judgment to those who are in Christ. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Gal 2:16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Jesus Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law no man shall be justified.
Eph 1:13. In Him, you also after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.
Eph 2:8-9. For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and that (salvation) not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one can boast.
I Thes 5:9-10. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died as a substitute for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.
Titus 3:5-7. He saved us, not on the basis of works which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the confidence of eternal life.
Heb 2:9. But we see Jesus, who was made for a little while lower than angels, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
I John 5:11-13. And this is the testimony, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
We are all prisoners or slaves. Unbelievers are prisoners in the slave market of sin. Even though Jesus Christ tore down the walls of the slave market once and for all, the prisoners therein must walk out by an act of faith in Christ. If they choose to ignore the gift of God, which is eternal life, by faith alone in Christ alone they will, by there own volition stay in this status of slavery. However, if they choose Christ, He will set them free.
Believers in Jesus Christ are slaves or prisoners to many things. Religion is the number one weapon of Satan to enslave unbelievers and Christians alike. Religion is man by man's efforts trying to gain the favor of God. Works and good deeds performed in the context of religion feed man's arrogance, and deceive the one accomplishing these works into thinking they are doing great things for God. They unfortunately believe that their good works will please God and get them into heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. God demands perfection and man's good works will never measure up to the perfect righteousness that God requires. This perfect righteousness can only be acquired by believing in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is a grace imputation from God based upon the perfect work of Christ on the cross. Religion enslaves us to a works system void of truth and ignorant of grace.
We can also be slaves to details of life. The details of life are the normal everyday things that God provides. They include family, friends, associates, cars, houses, money, position, approbation, power, and many other things. These can be wonderful additions to our life and our provided by God as blessings to believers. However, when we get our eyes on the gift rather than the giver of all things we become the slave of these details. Matthew 6:24 warns of this very trap, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth".
There is nothing wrong with wealth or any of the details of life. The problem is that we make these things a priority in our life and exclude God. Our priority must be the Word of God. God will provide everything else we need in this life and in eternity. Matthew 6:25-34 makes this abundantly clear, verse 33 says, "But you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you". "All these things refer to everything we need and include all the blessings in time that God has prepared for us. Compare Matthew 6:25-34 with II Peter 1: 2-4. Peter says in verse 2 that "grace and peace are multiplied" to us by having "the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord". II Peter 1:3 tells us that God's own divine power has "granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness (advance in the spiritual life)", how? Peter tells us, "through the true knowledge of Him". Then in verse 4, Peter tells us that we (lowly Christians) can be "partakers of the divine nature" by believing and applying the promises that God Himself has given to us.
If we make God's Word the priority in our life and execute the unique spiritual life of the Church age by fulfilling the command in II Peter 3:18 ..."grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" then we will be free from the slavery of the world.
We can trade one form of slavery for a much better one. The first results in misery and pain while the other results in happiness and reward. The latter of course is slavery to the Lord Jesus Christ our master. Yes, as Christians we are slaves to the one who purchased us out of the slave market of sin. Jesus Christ is our redeemer. Many of the apostles referred to themselves as slaves of the Lord, Romans 1:1, Philippians 1:1, James 1:1, II Peter 1:1, Jude 1:1 and Revelation 1:1 which also includes all Christians. Our Lord Himself infers of this in Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light". Choosing to be the slave of Christ and living in His Word is a guarantee of freedom. Jesus said (John 8:31, 36) "...if you live in my Word than you are truly students of mine; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free", Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed". This supernatural freedom is given to us by God, freedom from fear, worry, anxiety, guilt, and many other things. The pre-requisite is stated above, "if you live in My Word".
Choose this day whom you will serve. Will you continue to be enslaved to the things of this life, or will you be like Joshua when he said, "As for me, and my family, we shall serve the Lord."
Reverend Gregory J. Rako is a regular contributor to our newsletter.
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I myself have never been a member of any branch of the armed forces. My father was a soldier, my uncles fought in the desert against Rommel and also were part of the D-Day invasion. My older cousins were in the service during Vietnam. I have the utmost respect for anyone who ever served or currently serves in our military. I understand that the only reason that I can freely write my opinion on here or express verbally how I feel, is because of the men and women who sacrificed themselves to keep our nation free. Yet today one year short of my fiftieth birthday I wonder if I am still on the same planet.
I wonder how many of the people that we have elected to serve and protect our Constitution, go out of their way to support our enemies by bestowing the same rights on them that the Constitution and Bill of Rights afford us. I shake my head in total disbelief that and American Congress no matter what party they may be from, would vote to withhold funds to our brave soldiers over seas. How is that they are unwilling to see or admit, that we are at war with a fanatical enemy that has no morality in how or who they kill. Who has the patience to wait us out and let our own politicians weaken us. I feel that I am in a time warp some how, in that during the Vietnam War, no major battle was ever lost by the United States Military. It was the politicians and Hollywood idiots, like Jane Fonda who gave the enemy hope that if they hung on long enough, pressure would make us quit.
When I was young, we said the pledge and sang our national anthem every morning. Today, I do not know how many of our students know the words, or what they mean. Today many of our young people are taught to hate or ridicule our military and those who wish to join. The General was right in his speech. We are our own worst enemy. I just wanted to say that there are still many civilians like myself, who are proud and thankful for those who serve, past, present and future.
God Bless all members of our Military and God Bless The United States of America.
Refreshing. I love the insight because I also believe in living according to one's deep truths. Responsibility, yes I agree, its a TOUGH concept for many of us. I am very good at being accountable in some areas of my life but Miserable in other areas of my life. But at least I am becoming Aware of this within myself and this is the first step to growing up. What is helping me get over my ex (who married me, cheated on me, then broke-up with me right before leaving for SF training at Fort Bragg *18 Delta course* is simply acknowledging that I FAILED to see the signs. I had blinders on. I now know to ask the tough questions of myself: why did I wear blinders, what in me allowed me to be brainwashed by his beliefs of becoming a "wolf" and no longer wanting to be a "sheep" in life. Brainwashed to think I was "less than" because I just worked a full time sales job. Brainwashed to think I was a "sell out" in life and that he could "do better" with some other woman who shares his dedication to training 4 hours/day (she lives at home and daddy's pays her way/buys her gear) I know I can take personal responsibility for Allowing Myself to listen to his B.S. and to believe that he was right. As a result of this MESS, I can now choose to simply *take responsiblity* to develop my self-esteem and my powerful intuition to filter out such toxic/irresponsible people from my life before they get such a grip on me. Thanks for writing this (especially since you are a SF guy and also appear to be of sound mind and heart)
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Voice of the Soldier
Letter from a Tennessean
The Tennesseans April 5 photograph of young Christian Golczynski accepting the American flag from Marine Lt. Col. Ric Thompson is one of the most moving and emotion provoking images I have ever seen.
I attended funeral services for Christians father, Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski, on April 4, along with my six year-old son, dozens of Marines, and several hundred others who came to pay tribute to this fallen hero.
As one would expect, many of your readers were touched by this incredible picture. On April 9 you published two letters from those who have used this image as a basis to criticize President Bush and the war in Iraq. These writers should know that Staff Sergeant Golczynski had previously served one full tour in Iraq. He wrote to his family, shortly before his death on March 27, that he had volunteered to do this a second time due to our deep desire to finish the job we started. We fight and sometimes die so our families dont have to.
Tragically, Staff Sergeant Golczynski had only two weeks remaining on his second tour. I look at the photograph of Christian every day. It is displayed prominently in our home. Our hearts ache for Christian and for all those who have lost loved ones in this controversial conflict. Our nation is at a historical crossroads. Do we call an end to the struggle in Iraq or press on? Staff Sergeant Golczynski eloquently told his son how he felt about giving up. Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us in this mans life and the choices he made. He was undeniably a man of tremendous courage and conviction. America must now choose whether to complete the job. When I look at the face of Christian Golczynski, I am reminded that doing what is right is not always easy and doing what is easy is not always right. Christians dad knew that too.
- James Drescher
This is a poem being sent from a Marine to his Dad. For those who take the time to read it, you'll see a letter from him to his Dad at the bottom. It makes you truly thankful for not only the Marines, but ALL of our troops.
We all came together, Both young and old
To fight for our freedom, To stand and be bold.
In the midst of all evil, We stand our ground,
And we protect our country - From all terror around.
Peace and not war, Is what some people say.
But I'll give my life, So you can live the American way.
I give you the right To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups, and protest in our streets.
But still I fight on, I don't bitch, I don't whine.
I'm just one of the people - Who is doing your time.
I'm harder than nails, Stronger than any machine.
I'm the immortal soldier, I'm a U.S. MARINE!
So stand in my shoes, And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you, With the protests they've shown.
Fight for the stranger, Fight for the young.
So they all may have, The greatest freedom you've won.
Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor
Fight for the cripple,
Who lives next door.
But when your time comes, Do what I've done.
For if you stand up for freedom, You'll stand when the fight's done.
By: Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert, US Marine Corps
USS SAIPAN, PERSIAN GULF
Do me a favor and label this "The Marine" and send it to everybody on your email list.Even leave this letter in it. I want this rolling all over the US ; I want every home reading it. Every eye seeing it.And every heart to feel it.So can you please send this for me? I would but my email time isn't that long and I don't have much time anyway. You know what Dad?I wondered what it would be like to truly understand what JFK said in His inaugural speech.
"When the time comes to lay down my life for my country, I do not cower from this responsibility. I welcome it."
Well, now I know. And I do. Dad, I welcome the opportunity to do what I do.
Even though I have left behind a beautiful wife,and I will miss the birth of our first born child,I would do it 70 times over to fight for the place that God has made for my home. I love you all and I miss you very much. I wish I could be there when Sandi has our baby, but tell her that I love her, and Lord willing,
I will be coming home soon. Give Mom a great big hug from me and give one to yourself too.
Please let this marine (and all our military) know we care by passing his poem onto your friends even if you don't usually take time to forward mail...do it this time! Thanks,
If this touched you as much as it touched me, please forward it on. Let's help Aaron's dad spread the word ...
A Message From An Appalled Observer:
Shall We Hire A Monument Engraver To Go To Arlington National Cemetery And Add The Missing Words?
Today I went to visit the new World War II Memorial in Washington , DC I got an unexpected history lesson Because I'm a baby boomer, I was one of the youngest in the crowd. Most were the age of my parents, Veterans of "the greatest war," with their families. It was a beautiful day, and people were smiling and happy to be there. Hundreds of us milled around the memorial, reading the inspiring words of Eisenhower and Truman that are engraved there.
On the Pacific side of the memorial, a group of us gathered to read the words President Roosevelt used to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor:
Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked.
One elderly woman read the words aloud:
"With confidence in our armed forces, with the abounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph."
But as she read, she was suddenly turned angry. "Wait a minute," she said, "they left out the end of the quote... They left out the most important part. Roosevelt ended the message with "so help us God."
Her husband said, "You are probably right. We're not supposed to say things like that now."
"I know I'm right," she insisted. "I remember the speech." The two looked dismayed, shook their heads sadly and walked away.
Listening to their conversation, I thought to myself, Well, it has been over 50 years she's probably forgotten."
But she had not forgotten. She was right.
I went home and pulled out the book my book club is reading - "Flags of Our Fathers" by James Bradley. It's all about the battle at Iwo Jima.
I haven't gotten too far in the book. It's tough to read because it's a graphic description of the WWII battles in the Pacific.
But right there it was on page 58. Roosevelt's speech to the nation ends in "so help us God."
The people who edited out that part of the speech when they engraved it on the memorial could have fooled me. I was born after the war.! But they couldn't fool the people who were there. Roosevelt's words are engraved on their hearts.
Now I ask: "WHO GAVE THEM THE RIGHT TO CHANGE THE WORDS OF HISTORY?????????"
Send this around to your friends People need to know before everyone forgets. People today are trying to change the history of America by leaving God out of it, but the truth is, God has been a part of this nation, since the beginning. He still wants to be...and He always will be!
If you agree, pass this on. If not,
May God Bless YOU!
Written by an Australian Dentist... and too good to delete...
To Kill an American
You probably missed this in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.
So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is. So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)
"An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.
An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.
An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than inAfghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.
An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.
An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.
The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence , which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.
An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.
When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!
As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. Americans welcome the best of everything...the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.
The national symbol of America , The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.
Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.
So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.
I didn't see this on the news - did you?
After the Colts won the Super Bowl, this is how they celebrated in the locker room and you will not see this in the main stream Newspapers or even talked about on the Sport radio stations. If fact the only thing heard from the sports jocks on the Radio is putting the Colts coach down for giving thanks to the Lord.
Regardless for whom you may have been rooting during the Super Bowl - this picture speaks volumes. Both teams had very dedicated & Christian coaches.
What a game, this is the way all sports events should be conducted. After the Colts won the Super Bowl (note the Lombardi trophy in the photo above) this is what they did in the locker room! Let this be forwarded around the world!
The Longest War
"Christopher Columbus sailed the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria across the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to find a sea route to the East.
Do you know why the Western World was looking for a sea route? Because the land route took traders and travelers through part of the world controlled by Islamic armies that bear more than a passing resemblance to today's jihadists.
"Thus, the very birth of America is directly tied to the longest war in human history -- the conflict between Islam and the West. But the intersection of American history and Islam didn't end there -- despite the distance of the New World from the center of Islamic imperialism.
"In 1784, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were commissioned by the first Congress to assemble in Paris to see about marketing U.S. products in Europe.
"Jefferson quickly surmised that the biggest challenges facing U.S. merchant ships were those referred to euphemistically as 'Barbary pirates.'
"They weren't 'pirates' at all, in the traditional sense, Jefferson noticed. They didn't drink and chase women and they really weren't out to strike it rich. Instead, their motivation was strictly religious. They bought and sold slaves, to be sure. They looted ships. But they used their booty to buy guns, ships, cannon and ammunition.
"Like those we call 'terrorists' today, they saw themselves engaged in jihad and called themselves 'mujahiddin.' Many today still use the term 'mujahedeen.'
"Jefferson inquired of his European hosts how they dealt with the problem. He was stunned to find out that France and England both paid tribute to the fiends -- who would, in turn, use the money to expand their own armada, buy more weaponry, hijack more commercial ships, enslave more innocent civilians and demand greater ransoms.
"As the first secretary of state, Jefferson urged the building of a navy to rescue American hostages held in North Africa and to deter future attacks on U.S. ships.
"Jefferson was ready to retire a year later when what could only be described as 'America's first Sept. 11' happened.
"America was struck with its first mega-terror attack by jihadists. In the fall of 1793, the Algerians seized 11 U.S. merchant ships and enslaved more than 100 Americans.
"When word of the attack reached New York, the stock market crashed. Voyages were canceled in every major port. Seamen were thrown out of work. Ship suppliers went out of business. What Sept. 11 did to the U.S. economy in 2001, the mass shipjacking of 1793 did to the fledgling U.S. economy in that year.
"The war that we fight today is the longest conflict in human history. It's time to learn from history, not repeat its mistakes."
- Excerpts from "My Prescription for Peace," by Joseph Farah, Whistleblower, October 2006, pages 3, 44. Address: PO Box 2450, Fair Oaks, California 95628. Phone: 916-852-6300. Fax: 916-852-6302.
'GOTTA LOVE OLD MEN!!!
I was at the mall the other day eating at the food court. I noticed an old man watching a teenager sitting next to him. The teenager had spiked hair in all different colors: green, red, orange, and blue.
The old man kept staring at him. The teenager would look and find the old man staring every time. When the teenager had enough, he sarcastically asked, "What's the matter old man, never done anything wild in your life?"
The old man did not bat an eye in his response, "Got drunk once and had sex with a peacock. I was just wondering if you were my son."
Earned By Veterans
Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock,did something not to be forgotten.
On the first day of school, with permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she took all of the desks out of the classroom.
The kids came into first period and there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, "Ms. Cothren, where's our desk?" And she said, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn them."
They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades."
"No," she said.
"Maybe it's our behavior."
And she told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."
And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the classroom. Second period, same thing, third period too. By early afternoon television news crews had gathered in Ms. Cothren's class to find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom.
The last period of the day, Martha Cothren gathered her class. They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room. And she says, "Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom ordinarily." She said, "Now I'm going to tell you."
Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it, and as she did 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. And they placed those school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall. And by the time they had finished placing those desks, those kids, for the first time I think perhaps in their lives, understood how they earned those desks.
Martha said, "You don't have to earn those desks. These guys did it for you. They put them out there for you, but it's up to you to sit here responsibly to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have that desk, and don't ever forget it."
Friends, I think sometimes we forget that the freedoms that we have are freedoms not because of celebrities. The freedoms are because of ordinary people who did extraordinary things, who loved this country more than life itself, and who not only earned a school desk for a kid at the Robinson High School in Little Rock, but who earned a seat for you and me to enjoy this great land we call home, this wonderful nation that we better love enough to protect and preserve with the kind of conservative, solid values and principles that made us a great nation.
"We live in the Land of the Free because of the brave."
GLOBAL INCIDENT MAP
If you want to know what is going on in the world of terrorism, threats, explosions, airline incidents, etc., keep this web page.
It's not just about terrorism - it's about what is happening every day, every minute some place in the world that could affect all of us in some way ...
It updates every 30 seconds, constantly. You just click on any map icon for full info at any time.
Link for the "Global Incident Map":
You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus:
1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2. An old friend who once saved your life.
3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.
Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car. Think before you continue reading.
This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application. You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first. Or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.
The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer. He simply answered:
"I would give the car keys to my old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams."
Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to "Think outside of the Box."
The correct answer is to run the old lady over and put her out of her misery, have sex with the perfect partner bent over on the hood of the car, then drive off with the old friend for a few beers.
God, I just love happy endings!
Read more >>
The daughter of a Soldier
Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest act's of patriotism I have ever seen.
Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camo's, as they began heading to their gate everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.
Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said "hi," the little girl then she asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, he didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.
The mother of the little girl, who said her daughters name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter, Courtney, missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.
After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, "I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you." He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying "your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon."
The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event unfolded. As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, their were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.
We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.
Victory Starts At Home
Two weeks ago, as I was starting my sixth month of duty in Iraq, I was forced to return to the USA for surgery for an injury I sustained prior to my deployment. With luck, I'll return to Iraq to finish my tour.
I left Baghdad and a war that has every indication that we are winning, to return to a demoralized country much like the one I returned to in 1971 after my tour in Vietnam. Maybe it's because I'll turn 60 years old in just four months, but I'm tired:
I'm tired of spineless politicians, both Democrat and Republican who lack the courage, fortitude, and character to see these difficult tasks through.
I'm tired of the hypocrisy of politicians who want to rewrite history when the going gets tough.
I'm tired of the disingenuous clamor from those that claim they 'Support the Troops' by wanting them to 'Cut and Run' before victory is achieved.
I'm tired of a mainstream media that can only focus on car bombs and casualty reports because they are too afraid to leave the safety of their hotels to report on the courage and success our brave men and women are having on the battlefield.
I'm tired that so many Americans think you can rebuild a dictatorship into a democracy over night.
I'm tired that so many ignore the bravery of the Iraqi people to go to the voting booth and freely elect a Constitution and soon a permanent Parliament.
I'm tired of the so called 'Elite Left' that prolongs this war by giving aid and comfort to our enemy, just as they did during the Vietnam War.
I'm tired of antiwar protesters showing up at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. A family who's loved ones gave their life in a just and noble cause, only to be cruelly tormented on the funeral day by cowardly protesters is beyond shameful.
I'm tired that my generation, the Baby Boom-Vietnam generation, who have such a weak backbone that they can't stomach seeing the difficult tasks through to victory.
I'm tired that some are more concerned about the treatment of captives than they are the slaughter and beheading of our citizens and allies.
I'm tired that when we find mass graves it is seldom reported by the press, but mistreat a prisoner and it is front page news.
Mostly, I'm tired that the people of this great nation didn't learn from history that there is no substitute for Victory.
Sincerely, Joe Repya, Lieutenant Colonel, U. S. Army 101st Airborne Division
This needs to get all over the U S A.
Just keeping you "in the loop" so you'll know what's going on in case this takes off.
RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority". We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions.
Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops.
Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.
By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.
If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.
The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is...We need your support and your prayers.
Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.
Tactical Gear H.Q. - The Latest in Tactical Gear
SL3 Swedish Firesteel Folding Knife
Developed by Tool Logic®, the SL3 is a complete survival kit weighing only 78 g (2.7 oz). A razor sharp blade with a spear point shape, an all-weather FireSteel® fire starter and a loud emergency whistle makes the SL3 the natural choice for all outdoor activities. The blade has sufficient curve for most field chores and can be opened and closed with one hand. The 50/50 serrations add utility in both cutting and sawing. The SL3 is not only well thought out, it is rugged enough to live up to its slogan: Built for Life™...
Originally developed for the Swedish Department of Defense, Swedish FireSteel is a flash of genius. Its 3,000°C spark makes fire building easy in any weather, at any altitude. Used by a number of armies around the world, Swedish FireSteel's dependability has already made it a favorite of survival experts, hunters, fishermen and campers. It has also found its way into cabins and backyards as a fool-proof way to light stoves and gas-barbecues.
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Delta Shockproof Lighter
This butane gas lighter is windproof and is ideal for outdoor sports activities. The windproof feature makes the flame highly wind resistant when used outdoors. The lighter has an O-ring seal that provides water resistance when the cap is closed. The lighter is equipped with a fuel level sight window to allow ease of determining fuel level.
By adding a tough elastomer armor, Windmill's Delta Shockproof Series has all the stormproof qualities you expect plus incredible impact resistance.
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Hercules Safety Glasses
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T Shirt Feature
USAF SERE - Return with Honor
I am a SERE Specialist...
I am an expert in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. I can survive anywhere in the world and teach others to do the same. I prove myself by deed and action. I respect every student and consider his or her needs before my own. I will remember that the lives of my students always rest in my hands and if they fail to learn the failure is mine alone. I will keep myself in top physical and mental condition, never tarnish the honor of fellow Instructors, and accept no less from my peers. I do these things so they may: "Return With Honor"
Return with Honor... wearing this shirt! Click here >>
SERE - Survival Escape Resistance Evasion
SERE - Survival Escape Resistance Evasion -- If you don't know thats what the acronym means before you attend this school chances are it will beat you. Perhaps the Toughest training SF troopers; Rangers, Delta, Air Force PJ's and STS ; Marine Recon and Navy SEALs will atend.
Our one color graphic depicts a blind-folded; yet one eye opened Death Head symbolic of the never give in attitude a student must have to survive. Crossed Tommahawks and a Randall survival knife behind him are indicators of the mimimalist tools you use to survive. The POW guard tower; water and forrest trees are symbolic of the environs students are processed through. Concertina wire with the "Return with Honor" is the statement of those few who at the end of SERE know what dignity is all about. Wear it with the honor you deserve.
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SERE - Instructor Shirt
Our one color graphic with the "Return with Honor" and "Instructor" says it all. Wear it with the honor you deserve.
If you are looking for excitement, challenge, and a chance to teach others, then SERE Specialist may be the right career for you.
The SERE mission is to prepare aircrew and high-risk-of-capture DOD personnel to survive under any conditions. SERE Specialists train over 6,500 aircrew members a year in the proper use of principles, techniques, equipment, and procedures necessary to survive anywhere in the world.
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War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight; nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety; is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
- a Former and nameless U.S. POW
We made contact in largely isolated villages and helped them participate in elections, a lot of progress was made because the Afghanis participated in the main effort in many missions. To me, this is more than another medal to hang on my chest.
- Captain Brian G. Cillessen, Company Commander, Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, on being awarded a Silver Star Medal at Camp Lejeune, N.C. April 20, for actions in Afghanistan.
The battle, Sir, is not to be strong alone; it is to be vigilant, the active, the brave."
- Patrick Henry
OSS Swimmer Pioneer Instructor And Creator Of TVs "Sea Hunt" Passes
Most people would have been thrilled to experience just one or two of the extraordinary adventures and accomplishments Frank Donahue racked up in 88 busy and colorful years.
Whether he was riding the waves off the coast of Southern California, working as a frogman for the U.S. Navy, running his own company or wrestling with sharks, Donahue seemed to take a no-holds-barred and full-speed-ahead approach to everything he did. The only times he seems to have sat still were when he was penning screenplays and television shows based his experiences.
"He was an adventurer, a man full of ideas -- 'we could do this, we could that,'" nephew Tom Donahue said Thursday. "And he was a great storyteller; he loved to tell some of his adventures. But it wasn't like he was bragging."
Frank Donahue died April 17 at his home in Carlsbad-by-the-Sea Retirement Community. Long before that, he had made a name for himself as an early surfing legend, a noted waterman, underwater diver and photographer, screen and television writer, actor and more.
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Fearless SAS Vet Died In Iraq Copter Collision
THIS is the fearless SAS veteran who was last night named as one of two British servicemen killed in a horrific helicopter crash in Iraq.
Colour sergeant Mark Powell died along with an RAF man when two Puma aircraft collided during a combat mission.
The 38-year-old soldier joined the parachute regiment in 1990 and passed selection for the crack Hereford unit in his late 20s.
It is not known what mission he was on when the helicopters collided north of Baghdad on Monday - but defence sources yesterday confirmed flying conditions were difficult because of swirling sand and dust.
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Don Ho, 76; Hawaiian Musician and USAF Pilot
Don Ho, an entertainer who defined popular perceptions of Hawaiian music in the 1960s and held fast to that image as a peerless Waikiki nightclub attraction, died Saturday in Honolulu. He was 76.
The cause was heart failure, his daughter Dayna Ho said.
Ho enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1954, training as a fighter pilot but never seeing combat. He flew military cargo transport routes across the Pacific before leaving the service the year Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state.
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World News - Knowing is Half the Battle!
Appleton West graduate tops in Ranger contest
Liam Collins graduated from West Point
For three years, U.S. Army Ranger Maj. Liam Collins fought to be the best there is among some of the nation's most elite military forces.
Over a grueling three-day period last week Collins, of Appleton, teamed with fellow Ranger, Master Sgt. Walt Zajkowski, of Sun Prairie, to participate in the Army's annual Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.
"It's a real honor to win and just compete against the best Rangers in the military," Collins, 36, said. "You're recognized as the best Rangers in the Army."
The duo, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., topped 39 other Ranger teams from Army bases across the country.
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U.S. captures senior Al-Qaida operative
After being secretly held by the CIA for months, an Iraqi who was one of al-Qaida's most senior and experienced operatives has been shipped to the Guantanamo Bay military prison for terror suspects, officials said Friday.
Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi is believed responsible for plotting cross-border attacks from Pakistan on U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and he led an effort to assassinate Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and U.N. officials, the Pentagon said.
The transfer of al-Iraqi, said to have been an associate of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, makes him the 15th so called "high-value" detainee known to be handed over to military officials at the military facility in Cuba from CIA control.
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Imagine that you get thrown out of bed at 3:30 AM by a drill instructor with the growl of a Doberman. With one eye open, you get loaded up with equipment on your back that weighs almost as much as you do, and then get sent up in a C-130 to an elevation of a couple thousand feet over the cold wintry ocean in early March. The side door of the plane opens, and another sergeant kicks you in the seat of your pants. Before you know it, you're in limbo on your way down to the chilling waters in a parachute. You smack the water and you're sure your heart will stop beating. Here's where the "fun" starts - now you have to cut loose from your chute and swim six miles back to shore...
Grueling? That's the morning routine of a naval commando in training.
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US Navy builds Stingray-esque base in Indian Ocean
Frogmen, mini-subs to operate from nuke motherships
Reports have emerged that the US Navy is upgrading its submarine base at the isolated tropical atoll Diego Garcia, which is formally British territory.
The base improvements will allow its new class of SSGN nuclear submarines to operate from Diego Garcia, which is potentially noteworthy. The tiny island group is situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean, giving the US and its allies access to various strategic maritime choke points such as the Straits of Hormuz the entrance to the Gulf and the pirate-plagued waters of the Bab-el-Mandeb at the foot of the Red Sea.
Normally, a few tens of millions of dollars in base improvements wouldn't raise eyebrows even at a critical harbour like this one. But an increased presence of SSGN subs will be well worth bearing in mind for the various military forces active in the region.
This is because SSGNs aren't your average nuclear submarine. They are converted Ohio-class Trident ballistic-missile boats, recently retired from their old job under the terms of strategic arms-limitation treaties, and can nowadays carry 66 elite special-forces frogmen, who will typically be Navy SEALs or possibly members of the new US Marines MARSOC outfit.
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New Iraqi Pride And Nation-building Comic Books
In March 2005, Kalev I. Sepp mentioned the Iraqi 36th Commando before the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations. He stated that they had been continuously trained for the past year by U.S. Army 5th Special Forces and were considered an elite combat unit. The 36th is mostly made up of Kurdish troops.
The comic books depicted here were distributed to Iraqi children by members of the commando unit. Notice that the books show the new Iraqi government police and military as super-heroes. That same sort of image was occasionally used on Coalition propaganda leaflets such as the one we depict below.
One leaflet that depicts the new Iraqi Army members as super heroes is coded 3010. The insignia of the new army is at the upper left and on the chest of the soldier. He is pictured fighting terrorists with the text at bottom: Real Iraqi Heroes
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Aztec, N.M., Marine awarded Silver Star Medal for actions in Afghanistan
The President of the United States of America...has awarded the Silver Star to Captain Brian G. Cillessen, United States Marine Corps. For gallantry in action while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom..., read the citation for an Aztec, N.M., Marine here, April 20.
Cillessen received the award for actions Jan. 23, 2005, while serving as an embedded trainer and Marine advisor for the Afghan National Army Commandos. He was a member of Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 143, Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, Office of Military Cooperation, Afghanistan, while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Cillessen and three other U.S. servicemembers were embedded with 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade of the Afghan National Army Commandos, when they were ambushed.
We had recovered a weapons cache from a remote village, said Cillessen, company commander, Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, as he recalled the events leading up to the ambush. The enemy had a well-planned ambush on our egress. They knew exactly where to hit us.
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Lost Commandos Win Last Battle
U.S. Senate approves reparations for Vietnamese espionage unit
Back in the summer of 1967, Son Van Ha was an adventurous 19-year-old South Vietnamese Army commando eager to do battle with the North Vietnamese Communists.
He was a member of an elite unit, called spy commandos, trained by the CIA to conduct intelligence and sabotage missions deep into North Vietnam.
On his first mission, however, Ha and his 10-man team, which included two American officers, were captured by the North Vietnamese while gathering information on enemy troop movements near the North Vietnam-Laos border.
For the next 20 years, Ha endured "barbaric" conditions at a North Vietnamese prison. But worst of all, he was declared dead, virtually forgotten by the U.S. government that financed his mission.
Ha was finally released from prison in 1987, 12 years after the Vietnam War ended. Lost, middle-aged, and his parents both dead, Ha wandered about in Ho Chi Minh City until arriving in the United States in 1994.
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5 Foreign Militants Killed in Clash With Police, U.S. Special Forces in East Afghanistan
U.S. special troops and Afghan police clashed with foreign militants in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least five militants, the U.S. military said Thursday.
Some 10 militants attacked Afghan border police in Dand Wa Patan district in Paktia province, near the border with Pakistan on Wednesday, before police assisted by U.S. special forces clashed and chased them through the mountains, the military said.
"After trapping the enemy in a valley before nightfall, the troops requested close air support to strike the enemy position," it said.
The remains of five militants were found in the area.
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Women Commandos Get Set To Storm Madrassa
ISLAMABAD: While the Pakistan government has decided to relocate Jamia Fareedia and Jamia Hafsa madrassas, both affiliated with Islamabads Red Mosque (Lal Masjid), to the citys outskirts, sources say President General Pervez Musharraf is preparing to use an all-women commando unit to break the occupation of Jamia Hafsa by armed female students.
The sources say the paramilitary police had been put on standby as ministers and senior army officers worked on plans to raid the Lal Masjid and two associated madrassas - the Jamia Hafsa and the Jamia Fareedia - in the heart of the federal capital.
Pressure has been mounting on President Musharraf to move against the activists after they mounted a Taliban-style campaign to impose Shariah in Islamabad.
There are believed to be 3,000 armed female students inside a childrens library and the Jamia Hafsa, and a further 5,000 armed men inside the Jamia Fareedia.
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While they wrangle over the terms of their surrender legislation, the Democrat leadership has sent the worst of messages to the world. Speaker Pelosi struck the first wedge into what should be a united American foreign policy on Iraq by introducing a defense bill, which would effectively move the position of Commander in Chief to the U.S. Congress. Along with timetables for withdrawal from Iraq, the Pelosi bill, on page 72, mandates a 15 day waiting period before an American unit can be moved into the Iraq war theater. This incredibly obstructive provision would have profound negative effects on our forces abilities to fight. For example, should US hostages be taken and a Delta Force team moved from outside the theater to attempt a rescue, Pelosis provision would require a fifteen-day waiting period and a report to Congress before the rescue could be attempted. Should a Zarqawi level target be located and U.S. fighter aircraft be deployed from outside Iraq, the same fifteen days would elapse before a strike could be executed. The very nature of the notice and wait requirement illustrates how unfamiliar Democrats are with the war against terrorists. This is a new era involving rapid movement of specialized personnel and equipment across theater boundaries. Notice and wait for two weeks reflects an ultimate misunderstanding of U.S. military operations.
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Historical Significance? Not old enough to remember...
Most of you are not old enough to remember that nearly every family in America was grossly affected by WW II. Most of you dont remember the rationing of meat, shoes, gasoline, and sugar. No tires for our automobiles, and a speed limit of 35 miles an hour on the road. Not to mention, no new automobiles. Read this and think about how we would react to being taken over by foreigners in 2007.
Historical Significance: Sixty-three years ago, Nazi Germany had overrun almost all of Europe and hammered England to the verge of bankruptcy and defeat, and had sunk more than four hundred British ships in their convoys between England and America for food and war materials.
At that time the US was in an isolationist, pacifist mood, and most Americans wanted nothing to do with the European or the Asian war.
Then along came Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and in outrage Congress unanimously declared war on Japan, and the following day on Germany, which had not yet attacked us. It was a dicey thing. We had few allies...
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Army Won't Field Rifle Deemed Superior to M4
It's a debate that's gone on for years - and now it's finally coming to a head.
The compact M4 carbine - a shortened version of the M16 - that is now standard issue for most Army troops, some Marines and other specialized units is facing increased criticism because of its tendency to malfunction with even the minutest exposure to the elements.
Some ground communities, including special operations forces, have begun to sideline the M4 in favor of newer, gas-piston operated variants such as the Heckler & Koch-manufactured 416 and the FNH-built Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle, or SCAR
In a routine acquisition notice March 23, a U.S. Special Forces battalion based in Okinawa announced that it is buying 84 upper receiver assemblies for the HK416 to modify their M4 carbines. The M4 fires using a system that redirects gas from the expended round to eject it and reload another. The 416 and SCAR use a gas-operated piston that physically pushes the bolt back to eject the round and load another.
Carbon buildup from the M4's gas system has plagued the rifle for years, resulting in some close calls with Soldiers in combat whose rifles jammed at critical moments.
According to the solicitation for the new upper receiver assemblies, the 416 "allows Soldiers to replace the existing M4 upper receiver with an HK proprietary gas system that does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling back into the weapon's interior. This reduces operator cleaning time, and increases the reliability of the M4 Carbine, particularly in an environment in which sand and dust are prevalent."
The 416 is used by the Army's elite Delta Force, and a recent Army Times investigation showed the service's top equipment buyers ignored data from the spec ops community showing the M4 had fundamental flaws. Enamored by the development of futuristic weapons such as the XM29 and, later, XM8 - neither of which were ever fielded - the M4 stayed in the hands of Soldiers deploying to hot, dusty, austere environments like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Army would prefer to wait for the development of a new rifle firing an airburst, round - essentially leaping ahead of today's technology. But that innovation has been hard to find in the right weight class.
An Army spokeswoman for Program Executive Office Soldier, based at Fort Belvoir, Va., said in a statement the Army isn't buying into SOF's argument.
"At this time PEO Soldier is not procuring and does not have plans to procure the 416," said Army spokeswoman, Erin Thomas, in an email statement.
But special operations forces sometimes work outside the "Big Army" procurement system, so they can grab the best gear quickly.
"The elimination of the gas tube ... means that the M4 will function normally even if the weapon is fired full of water without first being drained," the justification for the 416 assembly buy states. "There isn't another company that offers these features in their products. It is a practical, versatile system."
Army weapons experts have been tinkering with new weapons designs, such as the HK-built XM8. Its modular design, rugged construction and accuracy intrigued many in the Army - and other services. But in 2005, the Army abandoned the XM8 after spending $33 million - though the Natick Soldier Systems Center has been looking at a shortened version of the XM8 as a personal defense weapon for officers and armored vehicle crews.
So far, however, the Army is unwilling to buy what the special operations community believes is a clearly superior system and is still spending money looking for another technology while Soldiers use what many say is an inferior weapon in harsh combat conditions.
"The Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia is currently conducting a Capabilities Based Assessment to determine future Army needs," Thomas said in the statement, declining to elaborate.