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Hello.

Shirts received in good order today.

Once again, a shout out to you for first rate,courteous service.

Please be proud that you are meeting the needs of legit Special Forces chaps, and others at "the sharp end". Judging by their messages, they know you are the genuine article.

Kind Regards & Best Wishes,
Mark Gibson




Hi Ryan,
Just wanted to say Thanks for doing a great job on my customer shirt. They arrived right on time, also I greatly appreciate your kindness in sending me some extra stickers with my order too.

Have a nice weekend and give my Best Wishes to the Colonel.

Many Thanks again,
john H. Voss III




Got the shirts today. They look great! thanks

MAC(SW) Daniel E. Brooks

A Message from Dave

Rough Men Whom Stand Ready in the Dark...

"You haven't lived until you've almost died and for those who fight for it... Freedom has a meaning the protected will never know."

Vietnam era SO Saying

"He is a hero. Everyone in Special Forces knew him. Yet almost no one outside the military knows, because true heroes like Sgt. Maj. [Galen] Kittleson do not draw attention to themselves. They just live."

Former Green Beret and military journalist Charles Sasser, from his book "Raider"

Memorial Day is often a time to reflect on all of those in the US Armed forces who have sacrificed for our continued freedom. Since its inception after the civil war the memory of others to which time fades their names and actions from our memory is why we continue to remember and why our countries statesmen have since the holiday's inception often attempted to rally our souls to never forget... In the Special Forces community of our entire nation's armed forces, clandestine services, rescue and law enforcement Special Operators are often remembered with great fanfare of the present and now and by the next morning we've moved onto the next news flash.

We will honor, congratulate and memorialize; quickly and with best intent the SOF warriors fighting now like SF Sgt. Brendon O'Neil AUS, of 7th SF getting the DSC this month. Or Marine Captain Brian Chontosh and his Navy Cross in Fallujah...Or. the 16 Navy SEALs of SDV Team 1 and SEAL Team 10 along with the 160th SO Aviation Group men of 'Operation Redwing' who under heavy fire in abject conditions perished in the highlands of Afghanistan in the summer 2005, or the Rangers and Delta warriors during Somalia in 1993.

But while those men and peers of ours and of yours presently serving are publicized and the best our nation has to offer, those we hardly ever hear of. Those who in days-gone-by in our republics history were important. Those whom we should never forget of equal character and action is what Memorial Day is all about.

The millions of men and women under arms.. The best and not so best fighters, who held the line, stood the watch and did the deed in there noble way to provide a place for you and I to follow.

Yet, as we here at Special Forces.com are about all Special Forces— Especially U.S. Special Forces - those best and the brightest of our nation those men and sometimes women who had been on the secret battle lines of our nation's history - while we know everything there is to know about our own units - (something we must continue pass on to those who follow) we put forth that Memorial day should be to remember and to learn about secret warriors whose heroic beyond the called for deeds gave us a foot to stand on and do our countries current mission. It should be a day to reflect on their sacrifices, not ours.

On Memorial Day we look toward enlightening our known collective memories to have our attention spans remember not only the titans of those who first formed Modern Post Korean war U.S. military Special Operations Forces such as Col. Aaron Banks AUS; Colonel Charlie Beckwith, AUS; Commander Roy Boehm USN, Captain David Del Giudice, USN but the other less remembered titans of dark and dangerous and secretive warfare.

Can you remember 'why' and the importance of 'what' General Claire Lee Chennault, USAAF meant to pioneering Covert actions? 'Who' and 'what' Brigadier General Evans Fordyce Carlson, USMC; Col. William O. Darby AUS; Colonel Peter Ortiz, USMC ; Lt. General Walter Kruger AUS, Admiral Mary Milton Miles, USN/SACO; Brigadier General Frank Merrill AUS; Major General John Singlaub, AUS/OSS ; Commander Jack Taylor USN/OSS, GMC John Spence USN(ret); Captain Draper Kaufman ,USN/UDT ; Commander Doug Fane, USN/UDT; Major Christian J. Lambertsen AUS /OSS ; Captain Phil Bucklew, USN/ S&R... or OSS /CIA Lady Agent Virginia Hall?

... Or can you explain 'what,' a "Jedburgh" was? Who the '5307th Composite Unit (provisional)' with a code name 'Galahad' was? Or what the "L –Unit," did or who 'SACO' and 'Amphibious Group Roger' were, let alone the First Special Service Force. Heck! Do any of you modern Rangers know 'who' let alone 'why' 'Knowlton's Rangers' and 'Whitcomb's Rangers' should be more important to you on Memorial Day than Major Robert Rogers Rangers?

"The gallant and brave Col Knowlton, would have been an Honor to any Country, having fallen yesterday, while gloriously fighting... "

Knowlton's loss at Battle of Harlem Heights lamented by General Washington in his general orders for September 17, 1776.

Today's US Special Operations Forces are the direct legacy and ascendants of those (aforementioned) gallant pioneers of the dark and shadows of our nation's history - Those who even though honored should always be remembered. However with amount of data shoved at us from all sides 24/7 these days, just remembering why a Sgt. Maj. Galen C. Kittleson's life as a SF soldier and POW raider is important to anyone who has perfected the 'conga line' to storm a room or a building... or the important acts of Colonel Andrew Summers Rowan, and why his notable action is the noted American example of what accomplishing a task means for all warriors and citizens in a responsible profession to live up to. Or the unsung maverick special warfare work of Col. Carl F. Eifler AUS /OSS Detachment 101 in Burma... Or what distinction U.S. Coast Guard Chiefs/OSS operators Robert L. Butt, James Eubank, Robert Scoles and Herman J. Becker had to do with pioneering Maritime SO 'firsts' for any operator who infil/exfil and/or operate by sea in the USA (see ALWAYS REMEBER this month SFGNL below)... Or where former Marine Officer cum CIA operative Johnny "Mike" Spann was as opposed to the SGM William "Billy" Waugh (AUS-Ret.)

"War, when you are at it, is horrible and dull. It is only when time has passed that you see that its message was divine..."

This Memorial Day message takes a cue to exemplify the preceding quote by Oliver Wendall Holmes jr. as a timeless thoughtful ode to those aforementioned, and those who follow below; and whom this article will not mention. Those who have fought to retain our honor under fire by both the "dawns-early-light" and the "dark of night," while in national service to our nation. The content here is to illustrate to ye 'super men' the US Armed forces of how from the few or the one man Special Operation Forces the small unit elite trooper does not fall outside that preceding adage.

Holmes, who would later became the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court was born in the 1840 era and who as a veteran Union soldier during our U.S. Civil war bore up close and personal witness to the gallantry ugliness and nobility of men in battle, on both sides. This moved him to believe via life long efforts to help to ensure Memorial Day would become a national holiday of great purpose for all our memories of the warrior and citizens who stood behind them, alike. His 1895 speech on the subject has often been translated to what stands behind the warrior souls of the U.S. Citizen warrior, as he drew from various sources in mythological literature from Beowulf and King Arthur to drive home on why we half to remember our warriors if we are to continue as a republic. In that speech Holmes noted how by reflecting on our past glories and gallantries of individual action in combat and our enemies failures, we as a nation better understand why wars and conflicts are fought and to better serve all future warrior class'. While he surmised that not to remember those who sacrificed in them, is worse:

"... We do not save our traditions, in our country . The regiments whose battle-flags were not large enough to hold the names of the battles they had fought vanished with the surrender of Lee, although their memories inherited would have made heroes for a century. It is the more necessary to learn the lesson afresh from perils newly sought, and perhaps it is not vain for us to tell the new generation what we learned in our day, and what we still believe. That the joy of life is living, is to put out all one's powers as far as they will go; that the measure of power is obstacles overcome; to ride boldly at what is in front of you, be it fence or enemy; to pray, not for comfort, but for combat; to keep the soldier's faith against the doubts of civil life, more besetting and harder to overcome than all the misgivings of the battlefield, and to remember that duty is not to be proved in the evil day, but then to be obeyed unquestioning; to love glory more than the temptations of wallowing ease, but to know that one's final judge and only rival is oneself: with all our failures in act and thought, these things we learned from noble enemies ...these things we believe to be true..."

Oliver Wendal Holmes jr.

However policies and attitudes over the past 100 years have attempted to water down those words or Memorial Days importance; repeated assaults against the republic and the citizenry on a foreign and domestic level have continued to rally a renewed interest in our patriotic core values of duty, honor and country. These assaults have the citizenry realize those who we remember from the past are part of us in the present to continue a high need of professional warriors to ensure the stability of our nation remains.

Often really brilliant moments in a decision toward action; or where in the future the actions end purpose will take the man or men involved; we often, do not understand until a very long time after it takes place. Sometimes the actions are recognized immediately. Often, while every service man and woman who has been in the shadows under fire and remembered in personal ways; it is often times when we look back to remember those who really did extraordinary actions that we do realize just how extraordinary for who and what they were called to do, then perhaps, we realize how we should have taken a closer look. Ironically it is a quote from an outspoken commentator of modern societies evils from across the pond, who penned a notion that follows Holmes noble thoughts, yet, in a more concise and straight talking way which most special operations and security forces of the US have used as a personal ode and un-official mantra to themselves. A phrase that often, gives pause to remember such men any day we think of them:

"We sleep safe in bed at night only because rough men stand ready in the dark to do violence on our behalf."

George Orwell

For Memorial Day we at SF Gear implore you to take the time to review some of those (mentioned above) whose gallant stance in past actions defending our nation has preceded yours or your loved ones and friends. For without them and their peers... this message might not have been published!

Take Major General William Joseph Donovan, KBE, United States Army (January 1, 1883 – February 8, 1959 ) was an American soldier, lawyer and intelligence officer, best remembered today as Founder and wartime head of the Coordinator of Information (COI) and Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and widely known as the "father" of today's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) More importantly he was the first real believer in a Special Operations as a main strategic component in war fighting and has been argued that his OSS efforts along with other allied clandestine operations in Europe and Asia are what lead to a swifter end to the second world war. But how did this Irish Immigrants son get the opportunity to prove his theories? What action did he do?

He was a lifelong man of action.

Before he was a soldier he was a distinguished football star at Columbia University and a member of the New York City "Establishment," becoming a powerful Wall Street lawyer after being Columbia Law School classmate (credited to 1907) of later Franklin D. Roosevelt, although they were not close at the time. However In 1912, Donovan undertook an personal action that would realize his future as a soldier and secret warrior. He formed and led a troop of cavalry of the New York State Militia, that in 1916 served on the U.S.-Mexico border in the Pancho Villa campaign. During World War I, Donovan organized and led a battalion of the United States Army, designated the 165th Regiment of the 42nd Division, the federalized designation of the famed 69th New York Volunteers, (the " Fighting 69th ").. By the end of the war he received a promotion to colonel, the Distinguished Service Cross and three Purple Hearts. For his service near Landres-et-St. Georges, France, on 14 and 15 October 1918, Donovan was awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Citation reads:
"Lt. Col. Donovan personally led the assaulting wave in an attack upon a very strongly organized position, and when our troops were suffering heavy casualties he encouraged all near him by his example, moving among his men in exposed positions, reorganizing decimated platoons, and accompanying them forward in attacks. When he was wounded in the leg by machine-gun bullets, he refused to be evacuated and continued with his unit until it withdrew to a less exposed position."

But it was his post world war one action that would eventually have all his connections and patriotism find its future.

"The door for intelligence work opened for me when I undertook my first secret mission while on my honeymoon in Japan in 1919. The United States Government asked me to take a two-month trip to Siberia to report on the anti-Bolshevik movement in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. Well, it wasn't your usual honeymoon, but Mrs. Donovan was very understanding. The mission was successful and opened doors to many more missions for the government. I was heading down the intelligence path and I was loving it."

Major General William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan

By the end of World War II, Donovan was a Major General and Director of OSS who had perfected the pioneering first use and implementation of special operations in small and large scale U.S. militarily operations in combat theaters, the world over. His personal list of awards and achievements are mind bending even outclassing Lt. Audie Murphy:

U.S. Awards

Foreign Awards

Donvans OSS is the model for USSOC yet Most Army SF warriors, let alone few of the other services secret warriors to whom they and we are his entire legacy never heard of him... Perhaps because he like the other men who you are about to learn about embody Orwell's quote is why President Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to him as "the Last Hero,"( something Donovan would have scoffed at) For his OSS would not have worked without the 12,000 men like him. Many, family and friends we know and remember who alongside him are those to remember during Memorial day...

We have often mentioned tales of Donovans OSS men (See this Month's Always Remember section below) ... but how about former Army Lt. pre-COI/OSS operative Walter Mess.

Until he was 26 in his own words Walter Mess was a "overeducated fool". However by the late 1930s he was one of the first 10 men Donovan selected and had trained as the USA s earliest Second World War secret warriors. Though a series of FBI Treasury and Army training courses including an abbreviated Airborne course, Mess was first parachuted into Poland in 1938. Hungry in 1939 to set up resistance which would later help future allied operators. In 1940 in the dark of night he paddled a small raft onto Vichy French Moroccan coast from Submarine to pay off the French Government $ 5million U.S. dollars in Gold Bullion, so they would not shoot US troops landing in Morrocco (even though they would later do so... briefly) .. All a year before the US would enter the war! By December 7th '41 and because Mess had a 100 tons U.S. Coast Guard Captains license he was still assigned to Donovans COI but was made a 2nd Lt. Army Quartermaster. Because the Quartermaster Corps controls all Army Boats he became the skipper of a Army Air forces Crash [PT] Boat and shipped to the China-Burma-India Theater and ran over 100 special operations. Mess and his team navigated the Indian Ocean in secret, installing OSS operational groups and OSS Swimmers under fire on the beaches of Burma and Thailand, picking up downed Allied fliers, and running intelligence deep up heart of Darkness like Burmese rivers for their section of Southeast Asia, which also included ground operations. As senior officer afloat with only two hundred some OSS men in the theater and limited resources, Mess learned to make do and think on his feet. He was awarded a boatload of medals before abandoning his secret life to a life of unparalleled professional success. At the time of this writing he is still alive and very active at 97 years old and truly a national treasure... But ...Had you ever heard of him?

And of course there are others not so secret as Donovan or Mess...but also as decorated as and whose action was as special and daring as the most daring of self less acts under fire ever recorded - the "by (close to) dawns early light" actions of our first medal of Honor awarded in World War II the irrepressible and irreplaceable John Finn... Navy Chief Aviation Ordnance- man-cum-Lt. John Finn of the U.S Navy VP-14.

John Finn woke up close to dawn on a beautiful Sunday morning in December 1941 with his wife at their quarters at Kaneohe bay. Hearing machine gun fire he jumped into his '38 Ford with other sailors and raced to his Hanger now being bombed by the Japanese. The Japanese were bombing Kaneohe Bay as their first stop toward Pearl Harbor. Rushing through the smoke, the fire, and the rain of bullets from the skies above, Chief Finn entered the armory to break out machine-guns and ammunition stored in an ordnance truck parked inside. Quickly he began passing them out to organize some kind...any kind...of resistance. Hangar #3 was burning out of control and every PBY on the field was bullet-scarred and smoking in ruin. In the pall that dropped over the bay like a sudden, violent storm, Chief John Finn set up his own. 50 Browning machine-gun on an instruction platform near where the heaviest activity seemed to be concentrated. In the open and masked only by the thick clouds of smoke, he began firing back at each new wave of enemy planes. Beside him planes were exploding, bullets were digging into the ground, and continued explosions reverberated. Chief Finn was wounded, and then wounded again, and again, and again. Still he remained behind his gun, firing back at the incoming airplanes.

Japanese kept coming and Chief Finn kept shooting. Blood flowed from numerous untended wounds but the intrepid Naval Chief wouldn't give up, wouldn't abandon his station, wouldn't quit trying to give back some of the destruction the Japanese were intent on raining down on his men. He paused briefly to smile as smoke began trailing from one of the zeroes, then he watched as it plummeted into the ground. He wasn't sure if he had shot it down but that didn't matter. It was DOWN! That's what mattered.

"I picked up quite a few hits - 18 to 21," John Finn recalled. His injuries ranged from scratches to serious flesh wounds received during the brief time he had stood alone on the instruction platform, heedless of the incoming enemy - and the bombs - and bullets that struck around him. Now, as the sailors began trying to extinguish fires, move debris, and bring some semblance of order to Kaneohe Bay, they also began to urge Finn to get medical help for his bleeding body. The 32-year old Chief refused. Kaneohe Bay and his men needed him, needed his experience and his leadership.

Moving slowly and with great pain, Chief John Finn began the task of repairing and setting up machine-gun pits around the air station. Most of these were 30 and 50 caliber weapons designed to be mounted and fired from the PBY Catalina Amphibian aircraft. It was an all day task just to devise ways to mount them for use on the ground. His wounds still untreated, Chief Finn worked into the evening.

The majority of his initial tasks finally completed and upon being ordered to get medical attention, Chief Finn reported to the aid station. It was 2 A.M. on Monday morning. He had been going non-stop for more than eighteen hours.

When he arrived for treatment the aid station was full of other seriously wounded men so Chief Finn decided to wait. Instead of seeing a doctor he returned home to check on his wife. When morning came he reported back for treatment. He was immediately hospitalized for nearly three weeks of major care. He wasn't well enough to return home until the 24th, Christmas Eve.

Nine months after the attack at Kaneohe Bay the newly promoted Lieutenant John Finn was out of the hospital and still serving in Hawaii. He was summoned to Pearl Harbor to board the U.S.S. Enterprise where, in the presence of the crew and his wife Alice, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz presented the Medal in an impressive ceremony, congratulating an intrepid Naval chief who had done his best at Kaneohe Bay.

Kaneohe Bay was attacked five minutes before Pearl Harbor, which some might argue makes John Finn's actions that day the FIRST Medal of Honor action of World War II. John has never seen himself as a hero. "I was just a Good 'ol Navy man doing my job, he says humbly. Today John Finn makes his home on the Southern California "ranch" where he settled down after his retirement from the Navy in 1956. At 99 years old He is the oldest LIVING Medal of Honor recipient, and the LAST living Medal of Honor recipient from the Day of Infamy. Again...ever heard of him?

Perhaps you're a Green Beret reading? The Alamo Scouts (US 6th Army Special Reconnaissance Unit) was a reconnaissance unit for the U.S. Sixth Army in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. The unit is most well-known for their participation in liberating American prisoners of war (POWs) from the Japanese Cabanatuan POW camp near Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines in January 1945. As a member of the 'Nellist Team,' Sgt. Maj. Galen C. Kittleson was a participant on the Cabanatuan POW Camp raid in the Philippines. He helped free 511 P.O.W.'s at the Cabanatuan - men who had been on the infamous Bataan Death March. That was on January 30, 1945, as the 6th Ranger Battalion and a handful of Alamo Scouts, including Kittleson, liberated the camp. Sgt. Maj. Kittleson holds the distinction of being the only man in U.S. military history to participate in four POW liberation attempts in two wars.. In 1967, he was assigned to the 5th Special Forces in Vietnam, and later returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he was selected for the "Son Tay" raid into North Vietnam in 1970 to rescue American POWs held there... In 1988, the Alamo Scouts were individually awarded the Special Forces Shoulder Tab in recognition for their services in WWII and are included in the lineage of the current United States Special Forces.

While Son Tay is more often remembered by the men wearing the Green Beret many do not know of The Great Raid was truly a more notable action and had only know Kittleson for his son Tay experience. Likewise, ask any Navy SEAL what "Operation Thunderhead, " historically and unless they were a participant or close to the participants or very well read - it was just a blip on their lineage but not as important as say their UDT Frogman heritage. However it is actually as significant for all U.S. military SOF circles as the Son Tay raid should be –but unknown to outsiders until the past couple of years.

Less than 2 years after son Tay during Vietnam came the Highly classified "Operation Thunder head" was to be as daring and noble as Cabanatuan but even more ill fated than Son Tay. In 1972, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff authorized U.S. Pacific Command to execute Operation Thunderhead in which SEALs were employed to assist in the rescue of POWs planning to escape, steal a boat and flee via the Red River to the Gulf of Tonkin. Although mission training and planning and rehearsal was conducted, and it would be the first ( American post World War II) combat-use of a mini wet-submersible SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) and involving a SEAL Delivery Platoon to infiltrate by submarine on SDV submersibles to the target too rescue, two US POWs, from Hanoi. Even though the mission was aborted just as its execution commenced.

April 1972, the amphibious-transport submarine USS Grayback (LPSS-574), skippered by Commander John D. Chamberlain leaves Subic Bay The Grayback, the amphibious-transport submarine and formerly a regular guided-missile submarine, had been converted in 1968 to support clandestine operations. The diesel-electric submarine was modified to carry approximately 60 troops plus four SEAL delivery vehicles (SDVs) in two "wet" hangars on her bow. The SDVs were small, free-flooding, unpressurized fiberglass mini-submarines equipped with rudimentary navigational equipment.

The rescue plan was straightforward, but challenging. SEAL Team One Alpha Platoon Commander Lt. Melvin Spence Dry (USNA '68) and his then second in command [then] CWO Martin would launch at night from the submerged submarine in an SDV piloted by two UDT-11 operators already embarked in Grayback and head for a small island off the mouth of the Red River. There the two SEALs would establish an observation post and watch for any sign of the escapees. "The time Spence and I were to spend on the island was a minimum of 24 hours and up to 48 hours," Martin remembered. "We were to look for a red light on a boat during the night and a red flag during the day."

Should the escaping POWs be sighted, the two would intercept them and coordinate their rescue with the waiting ships of the Seventh Fleet. North Vietnamese soldiers garrisoned the island. Occasional Vietnamese fishing boats plied the waters, and enemy patrol boats were always a possibility. There were other concerns, including a night underwater lock-out and launch from the Grayback in an under-powered SDV; a cold, submerged transit to the island in the confined and totally dark hold of the unproved free-flooding Mark VII vehicle; strong currents and tidal conditions; and the need for precise underwater navigation (in the days before the Global Positioning System).

On June 3, 1972, the first night of submerged operations in the northern Gulf of Tonkin, Alfa Platoon, and SEAL Team ONE, while embarked on USS Grayback detected high-speed enemy patrol boats along the coast at a distance of no more than three miles. North Vietnamese fire control radar also was intermittently detected. CWO Martin and Lt. Melvin Spence Dry were launched in a swimmer delivery vehicle (SDV) manned by two UDT crewman to reconnoiter the area and select a position on an off-shore island in the vicinity of the mouth of the Red River appropriate for covert surveillance to detect the escaping prisoners of war. The SDV was launched without incident, but due to strong surface and tidal currents it ran out of battery power fighting two knots of unexpected and uncharted currents. Lt. Dry then decided that he and his team must swim the SDV in tow out to sea and away from North Vietnam's coast to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. They accomplished this and were rescued by a Navy helicopter seven hours later. Throughout the night, CWO Martin and others on the team avoided detection by enemy patrol boats whose engines could be heard close by. The SDV, too heavy to be retrieved, was scuttled on the orders of Lt. Dry to prevent its capture and disclosure of the operation to the enemy.

The helicopter returned the four mission personnel to the flagship, the guided-missile cruiser USS Long Beach (CGN-9). The debriefing in Long Beach also concluded that Lt. Dry's leadership had been instrumental in the survival of the team in enemy waters for eight hours. Throughout the night, he and his team avoided enemy patrol boats whose engines could be heard close by. His critical decision to scuttle the SDV quickly enabled the helicopter to remain undetected by enemy observation posts ashore a few thousand yards away.

Lt. Dry made an impassioned argument to the commanding officer of the Long Beach and Gray back (by secure radio) to return to Grayback to lead future missions. His unique tactical information from the first night of operations, leadership and experience were judged vital to the success of future SEAL insertions. Accordingly, an operation to return the four personnel to the Grayback was planned for the night of June 5, 1972 by cast from a helicopter assigned to Helicopter Combat Squadron Seven (HC-7). The submarine's position was marked with an infrared flashing beacon on the top on an antenna that was to be raised before the arrival of the helicopter.

Limited visibility and other factors made it extremely difficult for the helicopter's air crew to sight the infrared beacon. At one point in the flight the helicopter nearly impacted the water when it descended to the surface (close enough to have water enter through the side door). The helicopter also flew over the North Vietnamese coast at one point in its increasingly challenging circumstances.

During multiple unsuccessful approaches, Lt. Dry was aware of the pilot's difficulties, but he was determined to return to Grayback that night if possible. His last words, reported subsequently by then CWO Martin, were, "We've got to get back to Grayback." When the helicopter pilot thought he had sighted the infrared beacon and made his final approach for the cast, he signaled for the team to exit the helicopter. Discounting the potential personal risks, Lt. Dry did not hesitate; he was the first to jump from the helicopter and was killed instantly (shortly after midnight on June 6, 1972) when he struck the water. Reconstruction of the helicopter's approach suggests it was outside the optimal envelope for a safe cast.

CWO Martin was a veteran of many Special Warfare operations in Vietnam. He recognized instantly, as he stood in the door of the helicopter, that he faced a dangerous situation, be he also knew that his teammates needed his experience and special skills. He survived the force of impact hitting the water, although he was shaken and only partially conscious.

The other two surviving UDT members were injured during the cast. One of these two, then Fireman Thomas F. Edwards, was injured more seriously and was semi-conscious. Rescue and recovery of these men and the body of Lt. Dry were directly attributable to the courage and outstanding professionalism of CWO Martin. A highly experienced SEAL and combat veteran, he unhesitatingly risked his life to save his teammates.

The first sound he heard was the groans of someone nearby. He set out to search for this person and located FN Edwards, whose injuries resulted in difficulty in breathing. Edwards was unable to survive without help. CWO Martin inflated the injuries man's life vest and supported, helped and encouraged him and, with other survivors, comforted him for more than eight hours in the water. CWO Martin also found the second UDT man who was slightly injured and able to care for himself. He tethered the man to the group. Lastly, with his injured colleagues, he found Lt. Dry face down in the water, deceased. He also tethered Lt. Dry and prepared the group for a long night in enemy waters – determined not to be taken prisoner or compromise the mission. They were subsequently rescued after dawn by a helicopter assigned to Helicopter Combat Squadron Seven (HC-7).

As retired Master Chief Petty Officer Edwards recorded in his personal statement describing these events associated with this mission, "I can say with certainty that I would not be here today had CWO Martin not found me when he did."

This past February and March 2008, now 26 years later, history has caught up with the tragedy of the "horrible and dull" enterprise which Operation Thunderhead was; yet also remembered it as a nonetheless gallant and brave mission. Lt. Dry who is buried at Arlington and CWO (now Lt. Phiilip Moki Martin, USN Ret.) were honored for their heroic leadership, courage and uncommon devotion to duty during an operation conducted to rescue fellow American POWs, upon which reflected great credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service with a Bronze Star awarded posthumously to Dry and Navy accommodation medal to Martin. Martin commented that his award is for all of those who were there that night with Alfa Platoon, SEAL Team ONE and the UDT SDV element which supported them.

Much like the Great Raid, it is a constant that a "frog"[man]" - what Navy SEALs refer to each other as - never leave their dead or wounded in a battle space whether it is deep behind enemy lines Afghanistan in the pitch black night, of the oceans dark embrace of the Gulf of Tonkin. In both instances it is Ironic that elements of SDV SEAL element would suffer a similar operational tragedy nearly 25 years apart...

Moments, in time which is perhaps, ancient history to many fighting GWOT now, but still a memory in the 45 to 95 year old crowd who watched it as kids on the tube; heard it on the radio or handed down by ones mentors ...or lived and died by it.

"A soldier has been buried on the battlefield.

And when the wind in the tree-tops roared,The soldier asked from the deep dark grave:"Did the banner flutter then?""Not so, my hero," the wind replied."The fight is done, but the banner won,Thy comrades of old have borne it hence,have borne it in triumph hence."Then the soldier spoke from the deep dark grave: "I am content."

Then he heareth the lovers laughing pass,and the soldier asks once more:"Are these not the voices of them that love,That love - and remember me?""Not so, my hero," the lovers say,"We are those that remember not;For the spring has come and the earth has smiled,And the dead must be forgot."Then the soldier spoke from the deep dark grave: "I am content.""


Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. "THE SOLDIER'S FAITH".[An Address Delivered on Memorial Day, May 30, 1895, at a Meeting Called by the Graduating Class of Harvard University. President Theodore Roosevelt's admiration for this speech was a factor in Holmes' nomination to the US Supreme Court. The most quoted line of this speech is "We have shared the incommunicable experience of war; we have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top."

This Memorial day remember all the 'rough men in the dark of night' who lay in 'deep dark graves' ...or the oceans dark embrace who are a reflection of us all.

© ES, 2008

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An Australian Soldier Speaks

Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 9:07 AM
Subject: An Australian Soldier Speaks
From an Australian whose son is in Iraq

Gentlemen,
I am an Australian and my son is an Australian - as far as we are concerned there is not place on God's earth better than Australia , and there are no people better than Australians.

That was until the past week or so.

My son is in the Australian Army and he is currently on deployment in Iraq . I can not go into his duties in great depth, but shall we say that he and his fellow army buddies are on a glorified guard duty looking after the Australian Embassy. They don't go out looking for "action", though it is a different story in Afghanistan , there the Aussie troops chase the baddies over the hills and into the valleys..

My son and I just ended a long 'phone conversation and here are some of his comments, believe me this is what he said. We have all seen the bullshit emails written by some clown in his lounge room pretending to be at the coal face, but this is what was said.:

"Before I came over here I thought we (the Australian Army) were pretty shit hot... was I ever wrong!...The Yanks (I hope you don't mind me using that word) are so professional from the top to the bottom that it is almost embarrassing to be in their company, and to call yourself a soldier...don' t get me wrong, we are good at what we do but the Yanks are so much better...they are complete at what they do, how they do it and their attitude is awesome...they don't complain they just get on with the job and they do it right...I carry a Minimi (SAW) so I am not real worried about a confrontation but I tell you I feel safer just knowing that the US Army is close by...If we got into trouble I know that our boys would come running and we could deal with it but they would probably be passed by a load of Hummers.

No questions asked, no glory sought, the Americans would just fight with us and for us because that is their nature, to protect those in need of protection.. ...We use the American Mess so you could say that we are fed by the Americans... ..they have every right to be pissed at that but they don't bitch about that they just make us feel as welcome as possible... what gets to me is that the Yanks don't walk around with a "we are better than you attitude" and they could because they are, they treat us as equals and as brothers in arms. If nothing else, coming here has taught me that the Americans are a truly great Nation and a truly great bunch of people...

Let's face it they don't HAVE to be here, they could stay in America and beat the shit out of anyone who threatened them, BUT THEY ARE HERE because they believe they should be here, and the Iraqis would be screwed if they weren't here...When I come home, you and I we are going to the US, we will buy some bikes and we are going riding..."

The reason why I am sharing this with you is because I realize that you (as a nation) must get pretty pissed with all the criticism you receive by the so-called "know it alls" who are sitting at home - safe. The reality is that they are safe, just as I am, because of America . If the world went arse up tomorrow there is little all we ( Australia ) could do about it, but I know that the Americans would be there putting themselves on the line for others. That to me is the sign of greatness.

The most precious thing in my life is my son, I look at him and I thank God that I am fortunate enough to spend time in his company. We laugh, we discuss, we argue, we dummy spit, we have the same blood. I am not happy that he is where he is but that is his duty. He joined the Army to protect and to defend, not to play games. I mightn't like it but I accept it. My reasons for not liking it are selfish and self centered. I felt assured that he would be safe because he is in a well trained army with an excellent record, BUT NOW, I feel a whole lot better knowing that he is with your sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.

Whilst he was growing up. I was always there to look after him, I would not let harm befall him and I would always put myself before him to protect him. I can't do that now. When it comes to looking after him now he and his mates will do the job, but also THANK GOD FOR AMERICA.

Gentlemen, I have rambled on for too long. but as I finish I say to you, as a foreigner and outsider, a nation is only a collection of its people and its attitude is the attitude of its people, collectively and as individuals. I am really glad you are here on this Earth and I respect you as a nation and as people.

Stand up and feel proud because you deserve it, there is no one else who will do what America does without question. The next time someone howls you down, take some comfort in the fact that America is defending their right to act like an idiot.

Finally, thank you for looking after my son.

Peter Turner


The Two Air Force Pilots

A 130 was lumbering along when a cocky F-16 flashed by.
The jet jockey decided to show off.

The fighter jock told the C-130 pilot, "watch this!" and promptly went into a barrel roll followed by a steep climb. He then finished with a sonic boom as he broke the sound barrier. The F-16 pilot asked the C-130 pilot what he thought of that?

The C-130 pilot said, "That was impressive, but watch this!"

The C-130 droned along for about 5 minutes and then the C-130 pilot came back on and said: "What did you think of that?"

Puzzled, the F-16 pilot asked, "What the heck did you do?"

The C-130 pilot chuckled. "I stood up, stretched my legs, walked to the back, went to the bathroom, then got a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun."

When you are young & foolish - speed & flash may seem a good thing !!!

When you get older & smarter - comfort & dull is not such a bad thing !!!


Feedback from Our Readers

Let us know what you think about this month's message


Good, correct thinking!

Chuck S


Dave - I forgot where I found this quote but at the time I thought it was a "saver":

"The Spartans do not enquire how many the enemy are, but only where they are"
King Agis II 427 B.C.

Bob Bobalek SFC ret.


Outstanding! Always excited to get the next newsletter! Thank you.

Grant,
CA, Dept. of Energy (SRT)


Very inspiring. I took a shit load of notes. Copied several quotes that are now on my wall in my office staring me in the face everyday. Thanks.

J. Kurt Hurd


Semper Fi Army! A fantastic and timely article, thank you.

Marshall P. Tapley


This is an outstanding piece that really exemplifies what made this country great and what is lacking in our general public today!!

LTC Ed Draper


A Very informed and learned man! I enjoyed the message thoroughly. Hooah!

Thomas Anderson


Great article Dave! You're right on the money!

Richard F. Fischer


Dave:
Thank you for your very fine article that was comprehensive and detailed. As you say, trying to relate the essence of battle or the nature of the unconventional warrior is something that only we can understand. We get it among ourselves without any words.

The treasure for us is just being in the company of fellow warriors and sharing humor and rumor. Our SF Association (48th) is fortunate to have so many seasoned warriors, inactive and active duty members. We, as a group, directly support the active duty soldiers of SOD-G and Company A. Sod-G was just deployed back to Iraq and Company A will redeploy back to Afghanistan in August.

Please keep me in the loop with your internet communications. And again...nice job.

Dale Euga
46th SFCA
10th SFGA
Other Stuff


The Big Picture is not a portrait. Winners get up because thay can not stay down. Victory and defeat are both only a step away, the shortest path to defeat is to not take that step. People will not always believe what you say. They will believe what you do. Make your goals known by what you achieve. Nil Illigitime Non Et Carborundum (NEVER let the Bastards get you down).

Hoo Yah (USN)
Martin F. Herlacher
SAR Swimmer '73 - 77
WesPac '75


I salute you. This says what I have known but never knew how to explain it to someone else. I have tried, and people just look at me with the so called thousand yard stare. I rarely talk about my experiences because, as you said, people who were not there just can't understand. Again, I salute you.

Michael C.


I absolutely loved this month's message and attempt to live my life in exactly this way. And as a former Marine Grunt and now a Soldier in the Army who has been training rigorously for months and will continue to do so for Special Forces Assessment and Selection I honestly believe these are words to learn and live by. So much so that I'll probably be giving this as a lesson to my troops. I don't think I can stress this months message enough not only in preparation, and training for mission but as words that should be instilled in any Soldier, Marine, Sailor, and Airmen to train and live by. Thank you.

Cpl. Joshua D. Stanwitz


Sir, I've just received my first S.F.G. Newsletter and found myself quit impressed with your history and interpretation of what it takes. I was 2/187 abn. inf. Ft. Kobbe Panama which is what brought to your site. I have received my J.O.T.C. t-shirt and want to thank you for carrying it. I went through the school in 85 and felt both an enormous amount of respect and revere for the 3/7 S.F. group. Thank you sir, and look forward to products and newsletters in the future.

Rand Compton


Dave,
Thank you for writing your piece about the Ultimate Warrior. I know for a fact that the steps you laid out were what saved my life.

I was alone, but nevertheless well equipped. I had food, uniform, weapon(s), shelter - and a very nasty bullet wound in my back. The round had penetrated quite a ways in and was bleeding profusely. My leg was partially paralyzed. I fully realized that I was probably not going to live more than another few hours at best. And this is wear my training kicked in.

I knew that I could cry and die, or I could make some decisions and carry them out as best I could in the situation. I was realistic about my chances and my situation, but the Ultimate Warrior does not give up. I knew that certain actions would make death a certainty; I knew the other actions would give me a small chance of staying alive. I knew that I could not let anger and despair at my situation - and that it definitely would kill me if I succumbed to it. However, I had some positive emotions I could make use of - seeing my comrades again, seeing my family again, and retaining my honor by doing my duty. I did not think any further about the fact that I probably would not make it; I simply made the best decision I could at each juncture that would increase my chances, no matter how little, of returning and staying alive.

I reduced the bleeding by ripping off part of my uniform and literally stuffing it into the hole in my back. It hurt like hell, but I had made the decision that I would endure what I had to endure, so I endured the pain. I knew none of what I had to do was going to be fun, or comfortable, or pleasant in any way; I accepted that and kept going. I used my weapon to help me walk - I didn't care that this would render it useless as a firearm, because there was no situation in the near future where using that way would help me. For the rest, I used my survival skills to keep going.

I knew I probably would not make it, but I knew that making the best attempt I could make was important. Even if no one would ever know what happened to me, at least I would know I hadn't rolled over and given up! I also had a responsibility to try to make it, as I had information that could be used, as well as information I did not want the enemy to force out of me. The Army had spent a lot of money on my training, so I needed to justify that training by using it.

There were many positives and many negatives - more negatives than positives - but once I had decided what needed to be done, I evaluated the situation and made the best decision I could. And, given that I am writing you about it, I did indeed make it back. And the reason I made it back was that I didn't let emotions cloud my thinking - I knew what the situation was and what I needed to do, and I did the best I could. And, I'll tell you one particular thought that kept going through my head: They may be able to kill me, but they will never defeat me. And I didn't use that thought as a chant to keep up my spirits - I used that thought as a sober decision, as the will to remain undefeated.

Thank you for writing your article, and I hope it helps save the lives of many of our Ultimate Warriors.

Jeffery Peden


IF I FEED THE NAGATIVE WITH TIME AND THOUGHT, THEN IT IS LIKE INVIGHTING THE DEVIL TO RENT SPACE IN MY HEAD, RERENDING ME COMEPLETELY USELS, AND GIVEING UP THE OPATUNATEE TO FOCAS ON DOING THE NEXT RIGHT THING FOR GOD, FAMELY AND SUCCESS. KEEP THEM COMEING, THANKS..Tim out....


Just trying to find out about Dave. Was he with the 12th SFGA in the 1980's?

Gary A M.


Dave,
Extremely well written article. It is the truth which most fail to see. Thank you for enlightening the ignorant. What Churchill said was the absolute truth. If you observe carefully it is so apparent. I have seen it first hand all over the world.


Solid advice Dave; thanks for taking the time to write it up.

Rob


Dave, This was really extensive, I don't have a clue how you find the time to do such an exhaustive article. Enjoyed reading it. take care. talk to you soon. mark

Mark Kopper


Love reading your article about the Spartans.

Edward


Dave:
Thanks for the encouraging words, it's always good to be reminded on mental, and physical awareness. This letter has good timing while I'm operating in Baghdad, so thanks for the inspiration. From an old friend and teammate.

Don A.


...Abraham Lincoln once said: "tho I may die in the attempt, ought not deter me from doing what is right." Seems Mr. Lincoln understood the way of the Ultimate Warrior. I enjoy your news, and pass it on to all the "new" warriors I come incontact with. keep it coming.

Patrick "Pappy" Andrews


Dave,
I love my military folks. I sincerely appreciate everything you and every single soldier ever did to protect America. However, to say that we "can't understand unless we were there" is condescending and unfair. I wasn't there, but my intellect allow me to understand, my emotions allow me to feel and my imagination allow me to visualize. do you think that we think it was easy for you all? Well, I don't! I think being a soldier is the ultimate sacrifice that anybody can make and I applaud all wholeheartedly.

When I ask veterans to tell me about what their experience was like, it's because I truly want to know. I want to understand and I want to know what it was/is like. I hate the way our government treat and reward servicemen (and women) in this country after they've given so much.

So, the next time somebody ask you about your experience, talk about it if you don't mind telling the story. but don't "not tell" them because you think they can't understand. You're selling that person short - and the next person to ask might be me. :-)

Love you and thanks for your service!

Sarah Wilson


Dave, What a wonderful read. I am printing all your newsletters out to show my boys. I'm an older parent. 64 with a 14 year old and a 12 year old. They say they want to be like me and I tell them to be like the warriors you describe. Please keep on keepin on. George Worthy TC A233 Ban Don VN

George Worthy


This is one the the best messages concerning a "true warrior" that i have ever heard.

Bruce Bailey


Received my 2 shirts. Thanks for the quickness. Was a sniper in Vietnam and did 2 tours. Army 27 years. 2 Purple Hearts.

Could have done w/o them. Looking forward to more displays. Thanks

Ron Fillingham


Dave;
In 2006 I was diagnosed with high grade bladder cancer. The doctors do not know what actually causes bladder cancer although there can be several factors. Recently medical research has shown a high incidence of this cancer in those patients who were exposed to herbicides (Agent-Orange). The initial diagnosis brought me to my knees. Prior to this I could see my enemy, was highly trained in weapons and tactics to confront and defeat my enemy. I was trained to with stand adversity adn over come obstacles. I could not see this enemy and there is no cure. Your article reminds us that we are the weapons and the tools. We have to maintain our courage and will to survive. It is important to realize that our strength is with in us. Coupled with the message from Ltc. Rako we are armed for the conflict and we will survive. I have been in remission for 27 months.

Thank you Sir and Charlie Mike
Vietnam Veteran Class of 1967-1968

Jack


Dave,
Well thanks!

I was just sending it to you to check out.

If you want to share it that's great.

The company motto is "Prepared Americans for a Strong America"

Thanks again,
De Oppresso Liber
Joe Fox

http://vikingpreparedness.com/


Dave Thomas,

Awesome, motivating, invigorating, inspiring!...

I coach football for Brick Memorial High School, Brick, NJ, and I've looked many places over the years for information to help my team gain an edge. Thank you for taking time to put together your thoughts on the Ultimate Warrior. I coordinte the special teams for our Fighting Mustangs and adopted the title Special Forces to impart the importance of the 3rd (and often overlooked) phase of a football team/game. I even had your company produce Special Forces cloth for my players. I mean no disrespect, but many of the same concepts that make for a successful soldier/military can be paralleled on the football field. I am not trying to compare a game to war, yet the preparation a player goes through will prepare him for the game and for life. Again, thanks for the inspiration (and for your thoughts on todays social views on competition... competition breeds success.)

Respectfully,
Michael Cintron


thank you so very much. group 1 vet. thank you

DeWayne A. L.


Dave,
Love your emails that you send about being a warrior. Keep up the great work. I recieved this email from a friend that served and thought I might share it with you and others. Enjoy. God bless and Semper Fi!

http://www.warriorsthefilm.com/Movie.html

Best Regard,
Grant Reyes

Word of Truth

The Word of Truth - Alive and Powerful

The Word of Truth

Commemorating Those that Provide our Freedom

By Rev G.J. Rako
LTC (Ret)
IN USAR

As we celebrate Memorial Day commemorating those who sacrificed their wealth, their property, their families, and their lives to provide our freedom. Ordinary men accomplished extraordinary things on our behalf. This is our heritage. In every war “all sacrificed some, some sacrificed all” in securing the freedom and subsequent prosperity of the U.S.A. from 1776 down to the present. Freedom is not free, those brave souls who fought and sometimes died on battlefields in this country and all over the world purchased our freedom with their blood. The celebration of Memorial Day is the recognition of their sacrifice and the knowledge that their sacrifice is what has paid for our magnificent freedom. The symbols of our freedom are the uniforms of the soldier, sailor, airman, marine, and police officer. The various services provide freedom through military victory, and the police officer protects our privacy, property, and life from criminals.

Today many people are ignorant of these sacrifices and the fact that the military purchased our freedom on battlefields all over the world. These ignorant people are willing to trade their freedom for security. When a people trade freedom for security they will have neither. Those who rule will reward them with slavery. The reason our founding fathers added the second amendment to the constitution was to protect us from the government. The founding fathers did not trust the government because they knew the Biblical doctrine of the total depravity of man. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The more power we give to government the more freedom we lose. The constant and continual erosion of our freedoms are the result of the peoples’ desire to be secure instead of free.

We are becoming a fascist state. When industry colludes with government to take advantage of the people, tyranny rules, freedoms are lost, and those in government and industry become elitist and the people become subjects. Subjects are slaves. This is why we fought the first war for independence because we grew weary of being subjects. We may well have to fight another one. Each of you can cite many examples of this collusion and the successive loss of freedom. There is no longer a conservative party in this country. They have been swallowed up into big government and are consumed with power and money lust. Freedom is our heritage and freedom has become an annoyance to those who rule over us. Where are those like Patrick Henry who cried, “Give me liberty, or give me death”? You are being taxed out of existence. You are no longer free to accumulate wealth. An elitist government is systematically confiscating your wealth from you to line their pockets and spend your tax dollars on programs, with which you disagree.

Many people think the answer is involvement in politics. They have become obsessed with electing this candidate or that one. Politics cannot save this country. The Word of God is always the answer. Patriotism is a wonderful thing. Gratitude to those who provided our freedom and recalling to mind their sacrifices is an expression of patriotism. True freedom comes from an understanding of the scripture. We are commanded as Christians to …grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:18) The Lord Himself said, "If you live in my Word, then you are truly disciples (students) of Mine; and you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31) Then in John 8:36; He says, “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Only God can give this supernatural freedom to you. It includes freedom from fear, guilt, worry, anxiety, and shame (all of which are sins). Can you imagine being free from these things? Everyone from time to time fears something, is worried, anxious, and succumbs to guilt or a guilt complex. However, it does not have to be this way. The Word of God circulating in your soul is your defense against these attacks.

What can we do to protect the freedoms we have left in this country and even reclaim those lost?

(Eph 4:13) Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature, which belongs to the fullness of Christ. The most patriotic thing you can do, or be, is to attain maturity through the knowledge of the Son of God to the fullness of Christ. God will bless you and your nation because of your spiritual growth. You may not be the hero type or perhaps you are disabled or too old for military service. You are never too old or disabled to be an invisible hero and bring great blessing from God upon your nation. God is faithful and He will never suffer the righteous to be moved. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; therefore keep standing fast and do not become entangled again in the yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1) At the moment of faith alone in Christ alone, we were set free from sin and death (Acts 13:39, Rom 6:7, 18, 22, 8:2,). We were at that time also given the divine operating assets to be free from human good, and evil. Christians are now citizens of heaven. We remain on this earth after salvation to represent Jesus Christ, (eternal God) to a lost and dying world. One way we accomplish this mission is to tell others about Christ, and the free gift of eternal life that He has provided for all mankind.

This Memorial Day as you reflect upon our freedom, remember those that sacrificed by spilling their blood on battlefields. They are the ones that purchased the freedom of this great nation. Remember also the blood that was shed for you almost two thousand years ago by the creator of the universe. Jesus Christ purchased you out of the slave market of sin by His efficacious, substitutionary spiritual death on the cross. In this great selfless act, he provided a freedom for you above all others.

 

Click here to contact Reverend Rako >>

Click Here to let Dave know what you think about this month's Word of Truth!

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During these two years the Alamo Scouts liberated 197 Allied prisoners in New Guinea, and provided forward reconnaissance and tactical support of the Sixth Ranger Battalion in the liberation of the Cabanatuan Prisoner of War Camp on Luzon, in February 1945, freeing 511 Allied prisoners. In addition, the Alamo Scouts captured 84 Japanese prisoners of war.

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Quotes & Jokes

Lipstick

According to a news report, a certain private school in Washington was recently faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls had begun to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror, leaving dozens of little lip prints.

Every night the maintenance man would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back.

Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man.

She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night (you can just imagine the yawns from the little princesses). To demonstrate how difficult it was to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.

Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror. There are teachers... and then there are educators.


Quotes

"For the men who were with him that day, Master Sergeant O'Connor is a savior. For all Americans, he is a hero, and for all members of special operations across the services, he is a source of enormous pride."

~ Adm. Eric T. Olson, commander of United States
Special Operations Command, who presented the DSC award to Master Sergeant Brendan O'Connor for his instrumental actions against more than 250 Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan June 22,2006


"...Memorial Day may and ought to have a meaning also for those who do not share our memories. When men have instinctively agreed to celebrate an anniversary, it will be found that there is some thought of feeling behind it which is too large to be dependent upon associations alone. The Fourth of July, for instance, has still its serious aspect, although we no longer should think of rejoicing like children that we have escaped from an outgrown control, although we have achieved not only our national but our moral independence and know it far too profoundly to make a talk about it, and although an Englishman can join in the celebration without a scruple. For, stripped of the temporary associations which gives rise to it, it is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for the country in return.

So to the indifferent inquirer who asks why Memorial Day is still kept up we may answer, it celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith. It embodies in the most impressive form our belief that to act with enthusiam and faith is the condition of acting greatly. To fight out a war, you must believe something and want something with all your might. So must you do to carry anything else to an end worth reaching. More than that, you must be willing to commit yourself to a course, perhpas a long and hard one, without being able to foresee exactly where you will come out. All that is required of you is that you should go somewhither as hard as ever you can. The rest belongs to fate. One may fall-at the beginning of the charge or at the top of the earthworks; but in no other way can he reach the rewards of victory.

When it was felt so deeply as it was on both sides that a man ought to take part in the war unless some conscientious scruple or strong practical reason made it impossible, was that feeling simply the requirement of a local majority that their neighbors should agree with them? I think not: I think the feeling was right-in the South as in the North. I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived. "

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
"In Our Youth Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire"
[An address delivered for Memorial Day, May 30, 1884, at Keene, NH, before John Sedgwick Post No. 4, Grand Army of the Republic.]
Read More >>


"We in this country owe a great debt of gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives so that we could live free. We can start to pay that debt by not forgetting, by remembering what they did and what they stood for."

MEMORIAL DAY 1999
From the US Army Army
Read More >>

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    The tubular design gives a civilian look and masks large devices. Extended version is 3” longer and can be used as a concealed device bag. This extended version of the Go-Bag was designed as a covert carry option for the shooters who need a device close by, while still being low profile. This is the perfect system for 17.5” devices and the upper and lower components of a similar dev ice. This is perfect for contractor work where the principal understands the need for such devices, but the situation dictates a low profile signature. The outside has two pouches where you can store and assortment of mission related items. The inside has a Cordura® covered foam divider (sold as option below) for a broken down device, or any other kit your mission dictates.

    Price: $127.95

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    Tactical Tips

    OVER 40?

    Still chasing the Taliban?

    Think you're as fit as you can be?

    Tactical Fitness Tips for those chosen few who still Kick Ass and Take Names


    Pulling Against Time

    Athletes Perform Faster, Higher, Stronger -- Until Age Catches Up With Them. But Training Can Curb the Inevitable Decline.

    When Bob Kaehler tried out for the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team in 2004, he wanted just once more to feel the elation of flying across the water at 32 feet per second, nine human bodies and a boat fused into a perfect expression of power, balance and timing.

    He'd made the team in 1992, 1996 and 2000, but he knew this time he was up against long odds. He had a family, a business, not quite enough time and a 39-year-old body. In his favor were experience, technical skill and a thing called "boat-moving ability."

    He didn't make it.

    As he looks back, he says there were lots of reasons. His body was just one of them, and perhaps not even the biggest one. But things were different.

    Read More>>
    Articles

    Blackwater revives mission
    Security contractor plans training center

    By Anne Krueger
    UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

    Although Blackwater Worldwide has given up its plans to build a training center in East County, the government contractor is still seeking a presence in San Diego County.

    The North Carolina company is planning to open an indoor training center in Otay Mesa to train Navy personnel after abandoning its controversial proposal to build a larger facility on a ranch in Potrero.

    Brian Bonfiglio, a Blackwater vice president, said the facility will operate out of a 61,600-square-foot building in a business park on Siempre Viva Road, just south of Brown Field. Bonfiglio expects it will cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars” to get the building ready for training, which could begin by summer.

    Read More >>


    Mexico army ops allow crime surge in border city

    By Ignacio Alvarado Mon Apr 21

    CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican troops are failing to provide basic security in the violent border city of Ciudad Juarez, residents say, testing support for President Felipe Calderon's army-led assault on drug gangs.

    Some 2,500 soldiers and federal police swept into Ciudad Juarez over the U.S. border from El Paso, Texas last month with heavy weaponry and helicopters to quell a surge in drug murders as gangs fight over smuggling routes into the United States.

    Soldiers have taken over many security tasks from the often corrupt city police, making dozens of arrests and seizing arms and narcotics but the fight against common crime has apparently suffered.

    Read More >>


    Last commander marks 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising

    by Jonathan Fowler Sun Apr 20

    WARSAW (AFP) - The last commander of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, Marek Edelman, honoured the memory of his comrades who died fighting Nazi Germany in the doomed Jewish stand against the Holocaust.

    Joined by family members, hundreds of bystanders and city officials, Edelman marked the 65th anniversary Saturday of the revolt at the imposing monument to the ghetto fighters, unveiled in 1948.

    Braving driving rain, the silent participants first laid flowers at the monument.

    The frail Edelman, 85, was then pushed in his wheelchair to the site of the bunker where the leader of the revolt, 24-year-old Mordechaj Anielewicz, and 80 comrades had committed suicide as Nazi forces closed in.

    Read More >>


    Athletes Perform Faster, Higher, Stronger - Until Age Catches Up With Them. But Training Can Curb the Inevitable Decline.

    By David BrownWashington Post Staff Writer

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    When Bob Kaehler tried out for the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team in 2004, he wanted just once more to feel the elation of flying across the water at 32 feet per second, nine human bodies and a boat fused into a perfect expression of power, balance and timing.

    He'd made the team in 1992, 1996 and 2000, but he knew this time he was up against long odds. He had a family, a business, not quite enough time and a 39-year-old body. In his favor were experience, technical skill and a thing called "boat-moving ability."

    He didn't make it.

    As he looks back, he says there were lots of reasons. His body was just one of them, and perhaps not even the biggest one. But things were different.

    "It is hard to say where my physiology really was. It was not where it needed to be. It probably would never have been where it was in 1996," Kaehler, who is 42, said last week. "When you are older, you need to get back in the game sooner. It is doable. But I would have probably needed 18 months, not six months or eight months."

    Read More >>


    Munitions maker accused of selling faulty grenades to FBI

    Fed indictment says Ga. munitions maker sold the FBI faulty grenades that injured 3 agents

    MACON, Ga. (AP) -- A Georgia munitions manufacturer has been indicted on charges alleging it sold faulty "stun" grenades to the FBI, including one that injured three agents, federal authorities announced Monday.

    Pyrotechnic Specialties Inc., chief executive officer David J. Karlson and three employees are charged with conspiracy, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the government, the U.S. Attorney's office announced. Court appearances were scheduled Monday.

    The indictment said the company contracted with the Department of Defense from 1996 and 2007 to manufacture diversionary grenades, also known as "flash bang" or "stun grenades." The MK141 grenade creates a bright flash and a loud noise to disorient an enemy.

    The MK141 was developed by the Navy for use by Navy, Marine and Army forces, with a different model developed for use by civilian law enforcement agencies. The Navy contracts for the MK141 were valued at $15 million.

    Read More >>


    Special Forces Soldier Awarded Second Highest Medal For Combat

    May 01, 2008
    BY Sgt. Daniel Love

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Army News Service, May 1, 2008) - A 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Soldier was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross during a ceremony here Wednesday for valorous actions during Operation Enduring Freedom.

    A 20-year veteran, Master Sgt. Brendan O'Connor, formerly a senior medic on a 2nd Battalion, 7th SFG (A) Operational Detachment Alpha, was presented the award while he stood before family, friends, and fellow Soldiers.

    "For the men who were with him that day, Master Sergeant O'Connor is a savior," said Adm. Eric T. Olson, commander of United States Special Operations Command, who presented the award to O'Connor.

    "For all Americans, he is a hero, and for all members of special operations across the services, he is a source of enormous pride," he said.

    O'Connor was instrumental in keeping his team alive during an intense battle with more than 250 Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan on June 22, 2006. While making a temporary stop during a patrol, his team and their attached Afghan National Army soldiers were attacked from all sides with small-arms fire, heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, recoilless rifles and mortars.

    Read More >>


    Ian Fleming's novel plan to outwit the Nazis

    Ben Hoyle, Arts Reporter

    The plot cooked up by Ian Fleming in September 1940, more than a decade before he created James Bond, was so brilliantly preposterous that it can now be seen as the prototype 007 mission.

    Fleming, in his role as a naval intelligence officer during the Second World War, was the architect of Operation Ruthless, a daring scheme to seize a German codebook that may have inspired the plot to From Russia with Love.

    His plan, involving a staged plane crash and disguised commandos, is revealed in full at a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.

    Operation Ruthless was composed after codebreakers at Bletchley Park realised that they could not efficiently decipher messages sent by the German navy without copies of their conversion tables. Fleming hatched a plan to "obtain the loot”.

    His idea was to borrow a captured Luftwaffe bomber and fake a crash to attract one of the German rescue boats picking up downed air men in the English Channel. Fleming's men would then overpower the crew and make off with their codebook.

    Read More >>


    Special Forces starts training exercise

    By: Ilin Chen

    CHARLOTTE -- Residents living in and around the 15 counties surrounding Fort Bragg may hear gunfire starting on Friday. It's part of the Special Forces training exercise.

    The Robin Sage Exercise starts Friday and will last two weeks. It is meant to train the Special Forces in unconventional warfare. The exercise may extend into places like Chatham, Hoke, Moore and Scotland counties, among others.

    It is held out in the community because the exercise uses civilian volunteers as role players and is meant to simulate real-life scenarios.

    Robin Sage is the final training exercise before the Special Forces graduation. The military widely publicizes the beginning of the exercise because of an accident six years ago.

    A Moore County deputy killed one soldier and wounded another because he was not aware they were part of the exercise.

    Now officials make it a point to alert the law enforcement agencies and communities that are involved in the training.

    Robin Sage will last through May 11.

    Read More >>


    US warns Iran of retaliation over Iraq action

    Sarah Baxter in Washington

    America's top military officer has ratcheted up the pressure on Iran by issuing an unusual public warning that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action”.

    Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, blamed the Iranian government and Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for its "increasingly lethal and malign influence” in Iraq. He said conflict with Iran would be "extremely stressing” for America's overstretched forces, but added: "It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability.”

    Mullen said he was increasingly concerned about Iran's growing involvement in supplying munitions and training to rebel Shi'ite militias and "killing American and coalition soldiers in Iraq”.

    Speaking at a Pentagon news conference late on Friday, he said recent operations in the southern port city of Basra had revealed "just how much and how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability”. A Pentagon source said the admiral's frankness was "extremely significant” and could pave the way for some form of attack on Iran. However, Mullen said: "The solution right now still lies in using other levers of national power, including diplomatic, financial and international pressure.”

    Mullen's tough rhetoric came shortly after General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq responsible for the troop surge, briefed Congress about the "nefarious activities” of the Quds force in stirring violence in Iraq. There were a total of 923 civilian deaths in Iraq last month, the highest number since August 2007.

    "We should all watch Iranian actions closely in the weeks and months ahead, as they will show the kind of relationship that Iran wishes to have with its neighbour,” Petraeus said.

    Read More >>


    Top US commando says strain of war limits forces elsewhere

    By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

    WASHINGTON - The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are making such heavy use of the nation's Green Berets and other elite warriors that they cannot fulfill their roles in other parts of the world, the military's top commando told The Associated Press on Monday.

    "We're going to fewer countries, staying for shorter periods of time, with smaller numbers of people than historically we have done," Adm. Eric T. Olson said in his first interview since becoming commander of U.S. Special Operations Command last July.

    Olson, himself a combat veteran, saw little chance that the demand for his special operations forces in Iraq will decline anytime soon. Even as the overall American force there shrinks — from about 158,000 now to about 140,000 by the end of July — the number of special operations forces in the war zone is likely to increase, he said.

    More of these specially trained, often secretive forces may be required in Iraq in order to fill a niche role in the development of Iraqi security forces as the number of conventional Army troops goes down, he said.

    Read More >>


    Gates Honors Military Service of Past, Present, Future

    FORT BLISS, Texas, May 1, 2008 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates honored military service yesterday at two very different ceremonies: one as 105 soldiers enlisted, re-enlisted and retired here, and another earlier in the day in Mexico City commemorating Mexican World War II veterans who served in the Philippines.

    "Today's ceremony captures the spirit of America's all-volunteer Army, as some individuals leave our military family while others step forward to fill the ranks,” Gates told the soldiers and soon-to-be-soldiers and their families gathered at the Fort Bliss Museum and Study Center.

    "All of you heard the call to serve this nation, and like thousands of your fellow citizens, I am grateful for your service,” he said.

    Gates recognized the 28 retiring soldiers, noting their collective 499 years of service. "Today, we say farewell to a group of loyal and devoted soldiers,” he said.

    Read More >>


    D Co. retired into Night Stalker history

    By Kimberly T. Laudano
    160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment Public Affairs

    HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. (USASOC News Service, April 30, 2008) – D Company, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), was officially de-activated in a ceremony on April 24, 2008, at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

    "You, Gentlemen, are the mold that we break today,” said Maj. Chad Chasteen, the last D. Co. commander, to his company formation. "You represent the 21-year lineage of this outstanding organization and you represented it well. There is simply none better.”

    Lt. Col. Walter Rugen, 3rd Bn. commander and former D Co. commander, reflected on the "Raiders” contribution to the 160th and the special operations mission.

    "This team was born and thrived in Panama and that tradition carried on in Puerto Rico and is the embodiment of what we in our community are always trying to attain: that of a pure habitual relationship born of training, living, sleeping, eating and fighting,” he said.

    "This is what cannot and will not be cased or drawn down as D/160 goes.”

    Read More >>


    Islam - A SHORT SYNOPSIS OF HOW IT WORKS

    Adapted from Dr. Peter Hammond's book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam

    Islam is not a religion nor is it a cult. It is a complete system.

    Islam has religious, legal, political, economic and military components. The religious component is a beard for all the other components.

    Islamization occurs when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their so-called 'religious rights.'

    When politically correct and culturally diverse societies agree to 'the reasonable' Muslim demands for their 'religious rights,' they also get the other components under the table. Here's how it works(percentages source CIA: The World Fact Book (2007)).

    As long as the Muslim population remains around 1% of any given country they will be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to anyone. In fact, they may be featured in articles and films, stereotyped for their colorful uniqueness:

    United States -- Muslim 1.0% Australia -- Muslim 1.5% Canada -- Muslim 1.9% China -- Muslim 1%-2% Italy -- Muslim 1.5% Norway -- Muslim 1.8%

    At 2% and 3% they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs:

    Denmark -- Muslim 2% Germany -- Muslim 3.7% United Kingdom -- Muslim 2.7% Spain -- Muslim 4% Thailand -- Muslim 4.6%

    From 5% on they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population.

    They will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature it on their shelves -- along with threats for failure to comply. (United States).

    France -- Muslim 8% Philippines -- Muslim 5% Sweden -- Muslim 5% Switzerland -- Muslim 4.3% The Netherlands -- Muslim 5.5% Trinidad &Tobago -- Muslim 5.8%

    At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islam is not to convert the world but to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

    When Muslims reach 10% of the population, they will increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions (Paris -- car-burnings). Any non-Muslim action that offends Islam will result in uprisings and threats (Amsterdam -- Mohammed cartoons).

    Guyana -- Muslim 10% India -- Muslim 13.4% Israel -- Muslim 16% Kenya -- Muslim 10% Russia -- Muslim 10-15%

    After reaching 20% expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings and church and synagogue burning:

    Ethiopia -- Muslim 32.8%

    At 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and ongoing militia warfare:

    Bosnia -- Muslim 40% Chad -- Muslim 53.1% Lebanon -- Muslim 59.7%

    From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution of non-believers and other religions, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels:

    Albania -- Muslim 70% Malaysia -- Muslim 60.4% Qatar -- Muslim 77.5% Sudan -- Muslim 70%

    After 80% expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide:

    Bangladesh -- Muslim 83% Egypt -- Muslim 90% Gaza -- Muslim 98.7% Indonesia -- Muslim 86.1% Iran -- Muslim 98% Iraq -- Muslim 97% Jordan -- Muslim 92% Morocco -- Muslim 98.7% Pakistan -- Muslim 97% Palestine -- Muslim 99% Syria -- Muslim 90% Tajikistan -- Muslim 90% Turkey -- Muslim 99.8% United Arab Emirates -- Muslim 96%

    100% will usher in the peace of 'Dar-es-Salaam' -- the Islamic House of Peace -- there's supposed to be peace because everybody is a Muslim:

    Afghanistan -- Muslim 100% Saudi Arabia -- Muslim 100% Somalia -- Muslim 100% Yemen -- Muslim 99.9%

    Of course, that's not the case. To satisfy their blood lust, Muslims then start killing each other for a variety of reasons.

    'Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against the world and all of us against the infidel. -- Leon Uris, 'The Haj'

    It is good to remember that in many, many countries, such as France, the Muslim populations are centered around ghettos based on their ethnicity. Muslims do not integrate into the community at large. Therefore, they exercise more power than their national average would indicate.

    And we continue to cater and negotiate in a politically correct way so as not to "offend" our Muslim "brothers."


    Your Social Security

    Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (and some older ones) didn't know this. It's easy to check out, if you don't believe it. Be sure and show it to your kids. They need a little history lesson on what's what.

    Our Social Security

    Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA ) Program. He promised:

    1.) That participation in the Program would be Completely voluntary,
    2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the Program,
    3.) That the money the participants elected to put Into the Program would be deductible from Their income for tax purposes each year,
    4.) That the money the participants put into the independent 'Trust Fund' rather than into the General Operating Fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other government program, and,
    5) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.

    Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month -- and the finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal Government to 'put away' -- you may be interested in the following:




    Q : Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent 'Trust Fund' and put it into the General Fund so that Congress could spend it?

    A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically Controlled House and Senate.




    Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

    A: The Democratic Party.




    Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?

    A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the 'tie-breaking' deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the US




    Q: Which Political Party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?

    AND MY FAVORITE:
    A: That's right! Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party. Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!




    Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!

    And the worst part about it is, uninformed citizens believe it!


    If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe changes will evolve. Maybe not, some Democrats are awfully sure of what isn't so.

    But it's worth a try. How many people can YOU send this to?

    Actions speak louder than bumper stickers.


    San Miguel: The Attack on El Bosque

    The last Small Unit Tactical Training (SUTT) con ducted by a Special Forces MTT (mobile training team) in El Salvador was done by ODA7, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, TDY (temporary duty) from Panama. The train ing was provided to 3rd Brigade elements at San Miguel, El Salvador, from January to April 1984. The SUTT mission was well underway when Col onel Joseph S. Stringham III, the second U.S. Mili tary Group (USMILGP) commander with consid erable SF combat experi ence, expanded OPATT (Operational Planning and Assistance Training Team) coverage to meet guidance from Ambas sador Thomas Pickering for the 1984 presidential election “watch.”.

    The purpose of this article is to explain the most sig nificant single combat action involving American Special Forces during the thirteenyear counterinsurgency war in El Salvador. It is presented not to justify awards or highlight individual performances, rather to provide details of the defensive actions taken by members of ODA7, when the 3rd Brigade cuartel at San Miguel was attacked by a 700man guerrilla force the night follow ing the 25 March presidential primary election in 1984.

    It is relevant because it serves to remind Special Forces soldiers tasked to train foreign militaries overseas that they are ultimately responsible for their own safety and survival. Selfprotection measures should never be disregarded. For these reasons, it merits presentation apart from the trilogy of Veritas articles that summarize the Salvadoran COIN (counterinsurgency) war begun in a previous issue (Vol. 3 No. 1).

    Read More (PDF) >>


    GIs Terrorize Afghans in Deadly Game of Chicken

    American soldiers occupying Afghanistan are on a killing spree in a deadly game of combat chicken with Afghan pets, livestock and even innocent civilians, according to a second-hand eyewitness to the cruel atrocities.

    Read More (PDF) >>

    Always Remember

    Moki Martin Honored

    More than three decades after a daring attempt to rescue prisoners of war in Vietnam ended in tragedy, a retired Navy SEAL was honored March 18 in Coronado, Calif. for saving the lives of his comrades.

    Adm. Joseph D. Kernan, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) presented retired Lt. (SEAL) Philip L. "Moki" Martin the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat "V" for valor during a ceremony at NSWC.

    Martin, who was a chief warrant officer at the time of the mission, was recognized for his courage, bold leadership and loyal devotion to duty during Operation Thunderhead in 1972.

    The details of the once highly classified mission of Operation Thunderhead only came to light in recent years, prompting the presentation of awards to those involved. The plan was to rescue two American prisoners of war who were attempting to escape a North Vietnamese prison in Hanoi and flee to the coast along a nearby river. Martin was a member of Alpha Platoon, part of an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) SEAL element that was charged with the mission.

    Read More >>


    Clandestine Jewish Commando and Legend of "Exodus" Yossi Harel Passes at 90

    Yossi Harel, who died on Saturday aged 90, was the commander of Exodus 1947, the immigrant ship which tried to make it through the British blockade to Palestine after the Second World War with 4,553 Jewish refugees on board.

    Exodus (its original name was the President Warfield) was a ship purchased in November 1946 in America by Mossad Lealiya Bet, the clandestine agency charged with bringing illegal Jewish immigrants to Palestine, which was then under British Mandate.

    Yossi Harel was appointed to command the ship while it was still in Italy undergoing its refitting and conversion from a Chesapeake Bay steamer to a passenger ship capable of carrying thousands of refugees. Between June 29 and July 6 1947 4,553 Jews from displaced persons camps in Germany were transported to Sète, a little town 85 miles west of Marseilles where, on July 11, they boarded the ship.

    Under Harel's command Exodus set sail for Palestine on July 12 1947 and, after it had left French territorial waters, the British cruiser Ajax and several destroyers escorted it to Haifa with the aim of arresting it and preventing the immigrants from entering Palestine.

    Harel planned with the skipper, Yitzhak (Ike) Aaronowitz, that close to the coast of Palestine they would "get rid" of the British escort. The plan, Harel later recalled, was "to turn off all the ship's lights at a given moment, stop suddenly so that the unwary destroyer would pass us by, and then change our course by 90 degrees and steam away at full speed ahead - 18-19 knots - with all the lights out". On board, Harel also prepared the stiffest possible resistance against any potential British attempt to board the ship.

    Read More >>


    HERMAN J. BECKER, Pioneering USCG -OSS FROGMAN/COMBAT SWIMMER, USA SPECIAL FORCES

    A second World War U.S. Coast Guard Chief Pharmacists Mate whose natural swimming experience and pre war Coast Guard duty was both a volunteer and great asset in pioneering secret OSS Operational Swimmer amphibious “frogman" Commando Concepts and operations in several of Americas first combat swimming operations, before he would later in life return champion masters swimmer, Herman J. Becker USCG(Ret.) of Oxnard California has died. Becker was 90.

    Office of Strategic Services (OSS), as the main forerunner to Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) was the inspiration behind modern U.S. Special Operations forces of today's United States Special Operations Command(USSOC) U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command( AFSOC) U.S. Army Special Operations Command( USASOC ); Marine Corps Special Operations Forces( MARSOC), Naval Special warfare Command( NAVSPECWAR- SEALs) and Us Coast Guard Special Operations( MSSTs and PSUs) . OSS "operational swimmer groups "(OSG's) of which Becker was a member of OSG II were Americas first covert amphibious commandos , whose OSS exploits stretching from a secret base on Catalina Island , to Pre D Day Europe ; Cuba; Ceylon and Burma became the nucleus all U.S. Forces like Navy Seals and Combat Divers/ Combat Swimmers originated from.

    From its beginning as the Coordinator of Information (COI), to the dissolution of the at the end of World war two , OSS had several branches were consolidated into the post war intelligence agency (CIA).The OSS was led by Major General "Wild Bill" Donovan, a World War I Medal of Honor recipient who, was a brilliant American hero whose bold can-do spirit was ripe throughout OSS. The legacy that the OSS Special Operations (SO) branch of the OSS weakened the enemy's will to fight through infiltration, sabotage, and support to guerilla and resistance units. Colonel Aaron Bank, the father of the Army Special Forces, served with a OSS Jedburgh team; while OSS Detachment 101operating in Burma perfected clandestine jungle warfare (many Jedburgh and 101 techniques were used in early and present day Special Forces training and operations). A number of other former OSS agents went on to high-ranking positions in the military and intelligence communities.

    Dr. Christian Lambertsen, considered the Father of all American Combat swimmers/divers , inventor of the first true breathing apparatus that was classified and specifically designed and first mass produced for combat diving and/or swimming underwater the LARU ; coiner, of the universal acronym SCUBA and the one man who went on to be part of almost every secret human inner and outer space breathing project device from the CIA to NASA cold war era, was both a OSS swimmer Officer leading missions and the OSS swimmer operatives “Q" . (Referring to fictional equipment Guru for the James Bond adventures).

    But it was Lambertsen's OSS students and fellow watermen-cum-operatives like Becker, with pre WW II service with Coast Guard as a rescue swimmer medical corpsman and aviation medical specialist proved him an invaluable asset for the growing-faster-than-a-bullet-travels OSS as he swam and proved to the leaders of the secret OSS combat missions that Lambertsen's classified gear adorned on missions considered way out of the box back then, to which Becker was a big part of a first in modern warfare.

    As part of OSS Maritime Unit (MU) Operational Swimmer Group Two (OSG -2), Becker was one of the last living reminders of how and "where" American Frogmen really came from. He was also part of the then, very highly classified tests of vulnerability for United States military harbor and maritime defense -- in a very Homeland Security way -- which began as a simple training operation in Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island and culminated in Guantanamo Bay Cuba as one of the first operations designed to test U.S. Naval and Maritime Vulnerability to underwater swimmer (…frogman) attack.

    These operations were to show U.S Naval and Coast guard brass how that a lone swimmer properly equipped with a cutting edge OSS Lambertsen's Scuba Rebreather could easily penetrate harbor defenses and wreak havoc on most naval or civilian ports. The Operations were:

    1) A early February 1944 OSS swimmer 'training attack' on Avalon harbor which had OSS Swimmer trainees swim from Toyon Bay the three miles north in the dark of night and mark there targets in Avalon with a Calk marking of 'X'. The next day the port Captain, beliving all his lookouts would easily catch a swimmer blew a fuse when he found out they could not detect the OSS men. This lead to...

    2) A similar test of Salt Cay in the Bahamas Islands were OSS swimmers were furthering their advanced training. Here, Becker' s group was being observed by a nay-saying anti OSS Navy Captain who told them, "I have Submarines to do you're [their] job."

    Maybe so.

    But that night, one of Beckers great OSS waterman colleagues Naval Ensign Frank Donohue pissed off that these fine OSS swimmers were being delayed fighting due to politics, on a unauthorized private mission, approached the Capitan's launch and placed a “pop fuse" outside the Captains port hole while he was sleeping .

    It went off. and not only led to Donohue 'self ejecting' himself from OSS swiming operations..( Donohue would in later life be credited with creating the movie " The Frogmen" and televisions "Sea Hunt"..) rumor of this event soon reached the Atlantic Fleet who formally organized the US Navy's and military's first formal, modern day harbor defense test against commando frogmen…

    3) "Operation Cincinnati," conducted in October 1944 at Guantanamo Bay Cuba. Becker was one of the "Cincinnati" Infiltrators who placed limpet mines on a Lighter ( a type of flat-bottomed barge used to transfer goods to and from moored ships) which was one of the sacrificial ships used by a disbelieving Navy to prove OSS right. It would not be the last time.

    What makes Becker's involvement and these operations significant is that due to nearly 70 years of secrecy surrounding OSS operations, Becker was one of Americas first combat swimmers doing these things via OSS MU OSG almost twenty years prior to the first Navy SEAL or Army Special Forces combat operations. And OSS MU, disbanded soon Afer the Japanese surrendered handed down those Combat swimming capabilities he and his team mate employed, during the post war era, via fellow OSS operatives who returned to the military in special duties of US Special Operations forces via the CIA , Army Special Forces and Navy UDT and SEAL teams of the post war era.

    For many years the Navy SEALs forerunners, Navy UDT Frogmen , would often claim they were the only ones who saw combat swimming in world war two and that they created the strategy and tactics that all U.S warrior frogmen can consider as first in. The reality is OSS swimmers like Becker and his OSS-OSG colleagues from the best-and brightest hodgepodge outfit of Army, Coast Guard , Marine Corps and Navy volunteers were the original cadre of combat swimmers who in 1942 tried to bring Fins and facemasks to pre UDT(Underwater Demolition Teams)and by 1944 brought these skills fully into Navy UDT.

    (OSS MU OSG A was merged into UDT 10 in Spring of 1944 to teach and bring their watermanship and swimming skills to Navy UDT. OSS swimmers had being perfecting this warfare concept since late 1942 and these skills also went on to units like Navy Amphibious Group Roger.) One of these men because of his Airborne qualifications are also considered “The Father of Navy SEALs( Jack Taylor )," due to his airborne (parachuting) operations behind enemy lines as well as being a early instructor to Becker.


    How the Aztec Eagles carried the Mexican flag with distinction
    Mexican Air Force's 201st squadron

    The target, a Japanese ammo dump well-protected by anti-aircraft guns, was ringed on three sides by steep ridges and on the fourth by sea at Vigan on the west coast of Luzon (near Subic Bay). Both the Air Corps and the Navy had attacked it from the bay without success and at the loss of aircraft. General George C. Kenny, General MacArthur's Air Chief, was told that some of his Mexican Air Force pilots had dive-bombing training, so he assigned the target to them.

    As he crossed the steep ridgeline while leading his flight of four P-47s, 1st Lt. Carlos Garduno rolled his Thunderbolt over, put the nose down into a steep dive, and then leveled out his wings. With the target in his sights, his airspeed at virtual terminal velocity and the altimeter unwinding, he pickled his two 1000-pound high-explosive bombs over the Japanese warehouses.

    With both hands Carlos pulled the stick back into his lap, his plane clearing the water at the bottom of the dive with only 500 feet to spare. As he climbed back to altitude, he looked over his shoulder delighted to see columns of black smoke shooting up from the target. Unexpectedly, he also noticed a roiling ring of white water on the Vigan beach 300 feet from the shore. A Japanese anti-aircraft gunner had claimed his wingman, Fausto Vega, on his 20th and last birthday.

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