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Dave's Message


"There's a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and is much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates."

- General George S. Patton, Jr.

We live in a time when loyalty for most is motivated purely for selfish reasons going to the highest bidder. This month we have a guest writer who has championed the cause to recover our living and deceased POWs and MIAs never released after the Vietnam War.

She is working to bring this great wrong to the forefront of our nation's conscious and right it so it may never happen again in our history. It will heal and also restore confidence to those who serve.

This has always been of great concern to me as a soldier and should be for all soldiers.

Men who risked and gave everything were abandoned by our nation. It is disgraceful. To allow this to be unresolved and sweep it into the forgotten past is unforgivable. This does not instill much confidence for our soldiers fighting today and in the future.

Which brings me to my next point. I want to briefly talk about hope.

For the true warrior, hope is confidence. In other words, the warrior never hopes for luck.

Can you imagine a warrior going out to face the enemy and hope he is lucky? Luck is for losers and knowledge, skill and trust is confidence that gives hope for warriors.

A true warrior operates off of confidence. He trains, he prepares, he learns to trust that guy next to him, he learns to trust his leader, and he learns to trust his country and out of this comes confidence not hope.

The same is true for our POWs. Their hope is based on trust. Trust that our country and leaders will do everything possible to win there release. With out confidence there is no hope for POWs and MIAs and I cannot imagine a worse fate in life for our soldiers than the betrayal of their loyalty by their own country abandoning them.

Official Abuse of Secrecy Destroyed Our Abandoned POWS

By Monika Jensen-Stevenson

From a speech presented to Rolling Thunder Leadership Conference on Nov. 7th, 2008

With the last election America proved once again that it is the world's greatest democracy – one which --in the spirit of its founders -- included almost all the people.Almost all, but not all. For once again, a distinct group of people was left out – just as they have been through 8 elections and 7 terms.Yet that group helped to secure our freedom and our dreams for a truly democratic society. I am referring to the more than 3000 prisoners who were abandoned just after the peace accords between Communist Vietnam and the United States were signed in 1975. Like lepers of old, Vietnam POWs have never even been mentioned publicly in any election since then. Never by Republicans or Democrats or by independents like billionaire, Ross Perot. who privately claimed he "would give up his entire fortune to bring them back" if he could. Most noticeably POWs were brought up never in the t recent election by the candidate who had himself been a prisoner, lucky enough to come home. For over twenty years now I have tried to find out why any mention ofabandoned live prisoners of war is such a taboo that anyone who has braved it has suffered serious consequences –something no political candidate has wanted to risk.

Probably the best explanation for that conundrum comes from Supreme World War II allied commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower. When Ike freed the concentration camps with its horrifying human carnage, over sixty years ago, he ordered to have as much proof collected as possible -- photos, film, testimonies.He had the German population of surrounding cities come to view the half dead and dead, even making them bury the dead. He did this, he said "Because the day will come when some son of a bitch will say this never happened."

On the issue of POWs, the day when some sons of bitches said, "it never happened was the day after the peace accords were signed. And from that day forward that lie grew bigger and bigger until it took over the entire US government. The mechanism used to perpetuate this lie – perpetuate it in the face of the distinct knowledge by the US government that close to 3000 prisoners who did not come home were alive and still being negotiated for, the week before the peace accords were signed -- mechanism was the abuse of official secrecy. An abuse that began when the US government, in such a hurry to get out of the mess it had created in Vietnam, did not question the Vietnamese why so many men on the list of those to be returned, were not returned.

The sorry case of abandoned POWs can be laid directly at the feet of a negative American policy that began then, controlled by a nebulous power group -- whom Eisenhower would have defined as "sons of bitches." These sobs shamelessly claimed, from the beginning, it never happened, no prisoners were abandoned, and none kept against their will. If they disappeared it was because they died or chose to stay behind. To bring up the subject, they warned everyone with a special interest like veterans and families, was to threaten national security, a funny twist to the inviolable truth that prisoners of war always have been and still are our national security. Our standards and values require that we do everything in our power to bring any and all live prisoners of war home, and give all those who did not survive the honor of telling the truth about their long suffering and unnecessary sacrifice. This means much more that the return of their remains – which is, of course, important.It also means that if they continued to survive and to struggle to escape their captors for five, ten, twenty and even thirty years, honor demands that we acknowledge their heroism and their sacrifice. I don't want to confuse you with the phrase "if they survived" because I know for a fact that many did – and some still do so today.To explain my certainty I have to go back to the beginning of my involvement in the issue.

When I was first urged to write a book on the POW issue after I had produced the program Dead or Alive for CBS's 60 Minutes. I was a successful television writer and producer – but without experience in writing books. So I tried to persuade my husband who had written many successful books – including one that was almost a household name for anyone with an interest in the secret warfare and intelligence of WWII. The book was A Man Called Intrepid about the man who, at Churchill's behest launched the most effective secret war against Hitler. For the most part Intrepid's secret warriors – the ones who blew up the Panzer trains and stole Nazi codes, were amateurs, but amateurs of the highest integrity and honor. It was a secret war so successful that General Eisenhower said it shortened the war by many months. Those of you who read Kiss The Boys Goodbye (KTBG) know what a difficult time I had persuading my husband, who just would not consider that the US government might have abandoned its soldiers to the Vietnamese enemy.But then I told him that one of the key people involved in the struggle to get the US government to act on the bona fide intelligence available about live prisoners, was General Eugene Tighe, the then recently retired head of DIA. Tighe had a plaque behind his desk with this quotation by Intrepid.

"Among the increasingly intricate arsenals across the world, intelligence is an essential weapon, perhaps the most important. But it is being, secret, the most dangerous.Safeguards to prevent its abuse must be devised, revised and rigidly applied. But as in all enterprise, the character and wisdom of those to whom it is entrusted will be decisive."

General Tighe's belief that the weapon of secrecy must be entrusted to men of integrity, persuaded Bill of Tighe's integrity that he should take the issue seriously. I also introduced him to some of the veterans, and family members who had used their ingenuity to ferret out intelligence – not dissimilar to the honourable men and women who waged the secret war against Hitler. It was not long after meeting General Tighe and some of these veterans and family members, that Bill decided to take on the job of writing KTBG with me. Now he, like me, was forced to confront the question:

Why had there never been a real effort on the part of the government to bring about the release of our prisoners from Vietnam? The answer appeared to be in a lack of character and wisdom on the part of those who were by law entrusted with the task of negotiating their return. It became increasingly clear to us that stamping all evidence of live prisoners top secret and/ or destroying it,consigned live men to a permanent hell and ultimately, oblivion.But the extent of the power amassed against those who wanted to bring POWs home, did not sink in until much later.

There has always been plenty of evidence that real, live American troops were kept hostage by the Vietnamese, after official homecoming, as bargaining chips. The evidence of this cannot be argued away . . . because in countless cases it fulfills the government's own requirement for what constitutes the proof required to take action.

When we first began our work on KTBG, General Tighe was the man who had seen the most classified intelligence on live prisoners left behind in south east Asia because he was either second in command or head of the Defense Intelligence Agony from just before the Vietnam war ended to 1980.This was the period when intelligence on POW's was flooding into DIA. General Tighe, highly respected in world intelligence circles, made the POW issue a daily priority concluding that the evidence coming in on live was "miraculous," -- very specific and detailed live sightings, often confirmed by satellite imagery. The evidence not only included testimony of high ranking former South Vietnamese allies, but also that of high ranking communist defectors who passed every lie detector test in our arsenal and whose information on key cold war issues was acted on. Their testimony about live prisoners was suppressed. 

The only action taken was against anyone who dared to question the official government position that there were no prisoners left behind.In a world that became curioser and curioser to quote Alice in Wonderland, dirty tricks, lies, threats and above all, smear campaigns were not used against the enemy holding POWs, it was used against Americans who wanted to bring them home.

In this, those who controlled the issue were originally helped by those who wanted the return of POWs to be a national priority because those people had an allegiance and love for country, so strong they "could not" conceive of anyone in government betraying POWs. That's why, at the beginning, almost everyone kept his or her mouth shut, secure in the belief that their government was doing everything possible to bring prisoners home.

Family members like Ann Holland and Marion Shelton were told. "We have evidence your husbands are alive but if you so much as breathe a word of this, you will pretty much ensure that they will be killed." That's a policy I can verify personally, since I was told the same thing by a National Security Council Colonel in charge of the issue. If I did the story on POWs for Sixty Minutes, he told me I might be responsible for killing POWs who were still alive.

Now, shutting up family members in this way, right after homecoming, was clever strategy, because that time would have been the best time to stir up public support for the issue. Shakespeare said it best when he said to win the battle you have to take the tide at flood. Wait too long and the tide goes out; the battle is lost. Right after the Peace Accords were signed -- the fact that 2400 POWs in Vietnam and 569 in Laos who had been known to be alive, before the signing of those accords, was fresh in the public's mind. Not one of those Americans in Laos had been released. But trust in the US government was so great that even after the Carter administration declared all -- except one symbolic prisoner – Charles Shelton– dead, most of those concerned with the issue believed that there was a secret buyout going on, similar to the French one that had occurred after Dien Bien Phu.

No one wanted to believe that the 1979 Congressional declaration that all POWs were home or dead and the consequent change in law – no more prisoner status benefits for the families and no more intelligence or other diplomatic resources allocated to bring them home –was the death knell for live POWs. The US government has never reversed itself on such a legal change in policy, except on civil rights and that took over a hundred years of agitation..

Reversal of the prisoners Are All dead decision, would have been not only an embarrassment for all those who brought it about, -- it could have meant the end of bureaucratic and political careers and reputations. Just consider that every President, secretary of state, national security adviser and high level intelligence chief had access to information that prisoners were left behind and still alive. Some had grand reputations, specifically obtained at the expense of POWs, as was the case when both the American and North Vietnamese "peace negotiators" won the Nobel Prize.

    After the Carter administrations declaration that all POWs were home, those in charge of "the issue" had an uneasy feeling that not all families and veterans were fooled so they, in their own words "played a game." We know this from documents that have since come to light. The game involved continuing the charade that the US government was doing everything possible to bring POWs home but they had no real evidence either that men had been abandoned and were still alive. Since this control group classified all information on POWs, no one could prove otherwise.

In 1985, Richard Armitage -- who then headed Pentagon covert operation under which the POW unit was located -- explained the government's position in a Sixty Minutes interview. This was during the Reagan administration when there was a real possibility of bringing our POWs home because after President Reagan had been passed a note by a family member about live prisoners, he personally assigned the live POW MIA issue the highest national priority. He directed that all intelligence assets be used to bring about a successful resolution. So, Armitage probably had no choice but to state in the interview, that the US government "has not been able to rule out (the possibility, but we have not been able to prove the existence of Americans' held against their will." He did allow: "Now there are people who have individual opinions that, yes there are and no there aren't but thus far we have been unable to prove it. One of the people he was referring to who held the opinion that Americans were held against their will, was General Tighe who had consistently stated under oath before various committees that, although he could not reveal the classified sources, the evidence he had seen, persuaded him without doubt, that live prisoners were at that time still being held by communist Vietnam and its allies."

Armitage outlined for us just what evidence of POWs it would take to get the government to act.

1. We would like to have a report which is current and specific . . current regarding time and specific regarding the circumstances of captivity.

2. We would like, if we had our way, like a second refugee report or something of that nature which basically stated that same set of facts under the generally same set of circumstances.

3. Additionally, if we had a good current specifc report, we would like to be able to verify that report through one of national technical means.

Difficult demands. Not possible to fulfill? Certainly, Mr. Armitage who had access to all intelligence -- including the infamous California vault in the CIA directorate of Operations, where all intelligence on live POWs is held – insisted those requirements had never been fulfilled. General Tighe who was interviewed for the same Sixty Minutes program stated thatall the requirements set out by Mr. Armintage had been met, time and time again.

Bill and I had no direct access to classified information, but we had own network of sources. They included not just General Tighe, but family members like Col. Earl Hopper who was himself an intelligence expert and was also the father of an MIA . Then there was Marian Shelton, wife of Colonel Charles Shelton, the only live prisoner recognized by the government, but recognized only as a symbol. My sources were people who worked within the government or had recently recently retired from it. These sources spent the major part of their time tracing individual cases, cross indexing the available information, organizing film and photo archives and building up data bases that constituted a formidable intelligence resource. In fact, as a whole they were not dissimilar to the network of agents put together by Intrepid during the second world war -- missing only the one key element without which they could not function --Ronald Reagan's active support. Well disposed though he was, Reagan did not provide active support presumably because the control group put their own slant of "no real evidence" on any reports that reached him.

So Pres. Reagan seems never to have found out what Marian Shelton knew – that her husband Charles had not only been seen captured alive by the Pathet Lao, but 3 years later he was rescued by a group of Royal Lao forces who then were ambushed by the Vietcong, who took Shelton prisoner again. This was verified by Royal Lao allies and an American adviser who witnessed the ambush and retaking of Shelton. Both Lao and American witnesses provided sworn affidavits—twice. First to US intelligence officials and since those were classified, again privately to those who were assisting Marian in the search for her husband. Over the years there were many more double and triple sightings of Shelton, all by highly reputable witnesses who had put their lives on the line getting that information out of the huge prison camp that was by then Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia after the war. So two of Armitage's criteria for action were met time and time again.

Even Armitage's third criterion was met countless times. Despite his denial, the US government did have technical verification that Americans like Charles Shelton were being held prisoner.

Just months before our 60 Minutes interview, Douglas Applegate, a Democrat Congressman from Ohio had told Congress that he had "obtained a listing of 97 CIA reports of that agency tracing live American prisoners in Laos... and another listing of 300 CIA reports of that agency tracing live Americans as late as 1979. . . yet the US government knowingly left them behind." This was Applegate speaking for the record providing proof that 397 live men met Armitage's two criteria listed by as being necessary for the US government to take action. It turned out that Applegate's evidence actually met all of the requirement laid out by Armitage. Applegate's words had been censored by the Defense Intelligence Agency before he was able to speak publicly.The official explanation was that Applegate referred to satellite photographs of Laos which compromised national security. Those satellite photographs, I found out, showed prison camps with Caucasian inmates taken by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO.) The DIA censor had stepped in "because NRO, which is part of the Department of Defense does not officially exist. At least that was consistent. The NRO didn't exist and POWs didn't exist officially. Applegate toed to line.He stopped making an issue of the truth because it would have compromised National Security.

For me this was an irony. I had previously done a report on satellite reconnaissance use in agriculture. For that program a key official of the US agriculture department told me the US routinely monitored plant and animal diseases by satellite around the world. The imagery, I was told, was so good you could "distinguish a pimple on a bull's butt." That kind of information retrieved from satellites was not classified. In fact, it was often used to bring pressure on countries to prevent disease from spreading. So everybody in the world knew our satellite capability and that we used it to apply pressure when we wanted to..

Here is just a small illustration of what Applegate's satellite proof contained: Airmen like Col. Charles Shelton – who flew on secret missions had small slivers of silk sewn into their otherwise neutral, unidentifiable uniforms. Those slips had identifying code numbers in case of a shoot down. The matching locator numbers were kept for ID purposes in a highly secret section of the Pentagon. For years – perhaps even now --satellites flying over the same terrain near where Americans were shot down would produce photographs of numbers stamped in grass or laid out with stick and stones. American POW families fought a running battle to get access to those photos and the list of government matching codes but the government never released either, insisting that the satellite data on numbers were anomalies in vegetation or terrain. Not real numbers.Somehow the families were able to get the satellite photos and the numbers were as real as that pimple on the butt of a bull. So real, one of them was the childhood home telephone number of a missing pilot. Yet the matching numbers in DIA files remained classified despite massive efforts to get Congress to declassify them. You can imagine the elation when Senate Select Committee on POW staffers were finally given access to those numbers – an elation that was short lived. They were told all files relating to the airmen's codes had been destroyed two years after the war: destroyed, in fact, before the short-lived rescue of Col. Charles Shelton. Destroying that proof insured that the control group could never be confronted by real evidence of live POWs and therefore, would never be obligated to use them to put pressure on the enemy to release our POWs.

Not that much pressure on the Communists needed to be applied. By the mid eighties, the North Vietnamese would have done anything for a trade deal. to At one point, during the Reagan period when POWs were a priority national issue, the Vietnamese, themselves, wanted to make a deal to sell them back to us, using Canada as the intermediary. We know this only because a Secret Service agent John, Syphrit, overheard, among others, National Security Adviser Richard Allen discussing this at a cabinet meeting. John Syphrit was so appalled he went public, destroying his career in the process. Richard Allen would later confirm, under oath, before the Senate Select Committee on POWs that this cabinet discussion took place.

By that time, though, such incontrovertible evidence had become in General Alexander Haig's words " A can of worms" and even President Reagan—who surely was part of that cabinet discussion – lost interest.It gets better.

Two men have proven beyond a doubt that prisoners were abandoned and that any effort to bring them home was – for whatever reason -- sabotaged by our side. Those two people fought on opposite sides of the Vietnam War. One, a prisoner, the other a keeper of prisoners, each tried to prove that they loved America. Their fate was inexorably and deeply intertwined by a betrayal so huge, Benedict Arnold pales by comparison.

The first of these men is Bobby Garwood, who, with incredible ingenuity and courage managed to get himself out of Vietnam after 14 years as a prisoner. The other was Tran Van Loc, who died last year. Tran Van Loc, a Chinese Vietnamese Colonel was better known as The Mortician who testified, before Congress -- at the same time Bobby Garwood was being court martialed -- that he had been in charge of hundreds of bodies of dead American prisoners before he had to flee Vietnam during the 1979 war between China and Vietnam. Despite his high position in the Vietnamese secret police, during that war Van Loc's Chinese background made him suspect and he and his family had to flee

    Bobby Garwood is better known as the private who was court-martialled on charge of treason in the longest military trial in US history. When Bobby Garwood was charged few knew that he was, in fact, the evidence that Americans had been abandoned and left behind. He was a prisoner who, after fourteen years, managed to "manoeuvre an escape for himself" from the prison camp that was Vietnam. – something that was verified by no other than one of his fellow campmates, former S. Vietnamese ally, General Lam Van Phat .

    Fewer still, know that Tran Van Loc was the communist police chief who – until he had to flee Vietnam -- sat on a five-man tribunal that had determined each American prisoners fate. Tran Van Loc was the most important defector from the Vietnam War. The intelligence he brought with him was so important to the US that DIA's best Vietnamese language expert and agent, Bob Hyp, was sent with a team, to Hong Kong to debrief Van Loc. The fact that Tran Van Loc had direct knowledge of almost all live prisoners held in Vietnam was confirmed to the US government in months of long debriefings. Also confirmed, again, by Van Loc was the fact that Bobby Garwood had always been a prisoner of the Vietnamese, never a traitor or even a collaborator.

    Most astonishing is that this information was available to the US government at the time of Garwood's court martial but was not brought forward.The control group, echoing Eisenhower's sons of bitches, once again, suppressed it. It would take more than ten years for this information to come to light and then, only, over the strenuous objections of the controllers. During those ten years a good part of Garwood's life continued to be destroyed. No one knows how many of the hundreds of prisoners who were alive when Tran Van Loc was debriefed, died because his testimony about live prisoners was suppressed by the America's intelligence establishment when it could have been used to free them.It was not given to Congress even in secret session, nor presented to President Reagan who had made the return of prisoners a national priority. Most important, this abuse of secrecy kept van Loc's information about live POWs from the public so Americans were prevented from being involved in the decision that would eventually send most of those live POW's -- their sons, brothers and comrades -- to the execution bloc.

    Bobby Garwood knew who Tran Van Loc was the moment he spied his picture in newspapers even though the former secret police chief was disguised with a full motorcycle helmet. Bobby had been before that five man prisoner tribunal many times, along with other POWs, asking to be released. Garwood remembered Van Loc, very specifically because of his extreme obese shape. He had never imagined that vindication could come from such a former enemy, but when he read about Van Loc's defection during the court martial, he thought he might have a chance.Garwood, persuaded his lawyers to set up a meeting with Van Loc and they arranged it despite extreme opposition from the prosecution. It was complicated. Van Loc and his family were under the witness protection program.

    But when Van Loc, finally came face to face with Garwood, he denied knowing Garwood, not only losing him the case, but losing him the confidence of his lawyer, Vaughn Taylor. Taylor decided from that point forward a defense based on evidence was not possible – only a psychiatric defense could work. What also went out the window, was any confidence that Garwood was telling the truth about other abandoned prisoners in Vietnam. In fact, Garwood's testimony about other prisoners was not allowed to come forward at the trial.

    Yet, Van Loc, the Mortician, continued to interest some with the clout to try to get to the truth. One of those was of DIA's Special Office for POW's and MIA's. That was Spec. Forces Col. Millard Peck, former head of DIA's Special Office for POWs/MIAs, Special Forces Col. Millard Peck who gained notoriety when he walked off the job in March of 1991, pinning a scathing letter of denunciation about the mindset of DIA to debunk any and all intelligence about live prisoners.In a later speech to the National Vietnam Veterans Coalition, Peck would say that the goal of the US government seemed in fact to be the opposite of returning American Prisoners, that the US gave constant subtle indicators to the communist Vietnamese that any return of POWs could mar their chance of normalizing trade and diplomatic relations.

    One of the "proofs of live POWs" that brought Millard Peck to this conclusion was Tran Van Loc, the Mortician. In 1990 he had called him in for a second debriefing. Because of Peck's important position and the expectation by Van Loc's handlers that Peck would continue the debunking policy of his predecessors there was no objection. The Mortician was at ease and open with Peck, happy to go look at photos and drawings of prisoners he had seen in Vietnam. Without hesitation he identified a drawing of Bobby Garwood as one of the prisoners he had seen in Vietnam. Peck called Bobby Garwood and Vaughn Taylor, court martial defense lawyer, into his office. Showing them the drawing of Garwood Van Loc had identified as a prisoner, he said to Garwood: The Mortician says, that's you. Taylor went into a state of shock.

    It took more than ten years for Taylor to find out that Van Loc had been pressured by the government to lie about knowing Garwood. Taylor found this out, when Van Loc, gave testimony under oath in a deposition for the Senate Select Committee on POWs. Under oath, he described how he was asked by a government agency to meet with a military officer who told him to lie about Garwood. He obeyed without objection because the government agency that asked him to lie was the same agency that provided protection and livelihood for him and his family.

    That was government subornation of perjury, soliciting a witness to lie. Normally, it carries heavy penalties and under any other circumstances than the perversion of justice that was Garwood's court martial, the verdict would have been thrown out and Garwood would have been vindicated. More important, had both Garwood and Van Loc been allowed to tell the truth of their relationship in Vietnam and that Van Loc's had routinely sat in judgement on other American prisoners all American POWs would have come home.

    By the time Tran Van Loc finally told the truth to the Senate Select Committee, Garwood's reputation was so utterly destroyed, no one paid attention, particularly not the media. If anyone has any doubts about the evidence provided by Tran Van Loc they can check Senate records. Vaughn Taylor introduced the evidence vindicating Garwood to the Senate Ethics Committee where it remains on record.

    Tran Van Loc, the Mortician died on Nov. 6th , 2007. To the very end he had tried to please the US government by doing and saying precisely what he was told by his assigned handlers. His Hong Kong debriefing, about hundreds of American prisoners who were alive when he defected, sits in the California vault. It has never been declassified.But the group controlling the POW issue at the time of Van Loc's death must have been worried that the truth might leak. So, shortly after he died a strange piece of propaganda entitled, The Mortician, was circulated by e-mail to veterans groups and POW activists.The article could only have been commissioned by the control group since the Mortician was still under their witness protection program when he died. After his death, for the umpteenth time he was presented as only a well-meaning undertaker, who had been responsible for the remains of American POWs. The article claimed that by telling Americans about their dead, he gave the families of the missing "priceless information." It was priceless, but only to those who wanted to make certain that the live prisoners he knew about would, instead of coming home, ultimately end up in a real mortician's hands.

    There can be little doubt that most, if not all those live men in Tran Van Loc's classified DIA file were killed when diplomatic and trade relations were normalized between the United States and Vietnam in 1994 and 95.By then their existence could only threaten those Americans who had engineered diplomatic relations and trade agreements. And the Vietnamese were smart enough to know what they had to do. In l998 Vietnam became one of our favored trading partners with access to American government loans and a host of other perks. Some Americans, too, benefitted hugely from those agreements. What Eisenhower had predicted would happen to the truth of the camps if they were not careful to document everything,had come true for abandoned American prisoners of war in Vietnam and it had come true despite the fact that there were photos and testimonial and high tech evidence. Abandonment, abuse, annihilation and the final indignity -- the memory of those men erased from formal history so posterity will be robbed of finding out what they sacrificed and endured; how heroic they were.

    Not long ago, fate or God intervened to lead me face to face with the outcome of more than thirty years of the negative policy perpetuated the US government which continues to insist "it didn't happen" that prisoners were abandoned after the Vietnam war. In a part of south east Asia that now craves tourist business, I recently came across a faded remnant of a human being who still showed traces of what he had once been -- a brave, highly intelligent and resourceful American soldier.The man I saw was gaunt, with distinct physical traits, and empty eyes that reflected a mind destroyed. He harmlessly wielded the pick axe he carried like an M16 while he begged for food. The local women who threw him scraps of food shooed him away with looks of fear and disgust. They believe that if they harm someone whose soul has left his body, that soul with haunt them. Later, the man crept up to me in a public place and looked at me urgently with a face so etched in pain and confusion it hurt me. There were, though flashes of lucidity. Neither one of us spoke, each aware that to do so could take away the last little gift of life he still possessed.

    Ever since I have been haunted by the man I call The Faded Soldier," whom no one I know can give an identity to. At the same time I want to keep his memory vivid and I want to keep him alive even though he cannot serve anyone's political cause. I believe his mental state is why there's a good chance his captors might let him go if approached the right way. His mental state is why no one -- except, perhaps, his family and you -- his erstwhile comrades – care if he comes home.But home he must come in spirit and in reality.

I ask your help in trying to do just that.Not with a rescue mission -- which would not work -- or a ransom payment which would not work -- or even to call your Senators and Congressional Reps, which also would not work. I ask your help in telling this man's story and the story of every abandoned prisoner and every man who sacrificed his life for the United States of America, a country that needs badly to care about his soul so that it can get back its own soul.

Perhaps it's because my life's business has always been storytelling that I believe there is a way to honor him and to bring him back. When I had my encounter with "Faded Soldier" I was already working on a project that would house the family and personal histories of as many ordinary and extraordinary people as possible. There isn't enough paper in the world to tell all the stories that need to be told.There aren't even enough book publishers to tell the story of every abandoned prisoner. But there is more than enough space on the internet and we have just learned in this last election how powerfully the internet properly utilized can move people to take action.

With your help we can could use the same website to both tell the story of Faded Soldier, and the story of all the POWs and maybe even the story of all the troops whose gave their lives. By doing so we can stop faded soldier and all of his fellow POWs from disappearing into complete nothingness.We can make sure that no one who gave his life or blood or even just an important chunk of his life for his country fades into oblivion.We can set the record straight. We can do this if every vet spends at least fifteen minutes sending an e-mail about a comrade who gave his utmost, how he died, how he was taken prisoner and what he was like. Upload a picture if you can. Let the world see the personalities behind the name on the wall or the monuments. If everyone does this we can start to create a huge database of biographical fact, pictures and testimony that will get rid of secrecy abuse and will prove how our prisoners were destroyed.

Today we can prevent the lie that was built on secrecy from becoming history.With a small effort on the part of many individuals everyone in the country can find out who these men really were. With your help, in no time at all, everyone can click on the name of Faded Soldier, because -- even discounting my encounter with him, someone will remember who he was, describe him and explain the sacrifice he made when he disappeared from his/her life forever. With the power of all those biographies behind us we will not only bring home the spirit of those men, we can, I believe, bring not just the spirit of Faded Soldier -- and a few other survivors -- home; we can force their living return. Recently a friend e-mailed me a quotation:

A veteran, he wrote, is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America "for an amount of ‘Up to and including my life. That is honor, and there are far too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

Add to that honor also demands that the government of this country -- when it sends its young people to war -- needs to provide a blank check in return – one that guarantees the troops it will use every means to insure their return if they are taken prisoners. That includes using its intelligence, diplomatic and economic resources. But when that fails as it has, we the people have to keep filling in that blank check by keeping the truth alive.

Jesus said, "The truth shall set you free." I know he won't mind my using that phrase in an analogous way. The truth could have freed live prisoners abandoned in Vietnam. But the key to unlock the files was kept from us. Now with the resources of a new technology available to us, we don't need the key. Let's do it.

Send short tributes to For video and longer tributes check out this December.

Monika Jensen-Stevenson is a former Emmy award winning producer for CBS Sixty Minutes and the author of the best selling Kiss The Boys Goodbye: How The United States Betrayed Its Own POWs in Vietnam and Spite House: The Last Secret of The War in Vietnam. Her recent essay Verdict First Evidence Later, was part of an anthology on the myth of a free press which won the US National Press Club award for best media criticism. She is the founder and President of She was awarded the Vietnam Veterans National Medal by the Vietnam Veterans Coalition.

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Merry Christmas



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Let Us Know What You Think About Last Month's Newsletter


Your I know was EXTREMELY Inspiring I'm certain to those who Served with Him, as I know several of them. And I had The "SUPREME" Honor of having met 'Col. Howard' at a "Special Operation's Association Reunion (SOAR)" , one year, quite sometime ago, in Las Vegas. If've been a LIFE Member aprox. since 1980. Meeting Men such as He, Dick Meadow's, Fred Zabitosky, G.G. Liddy, Clyde Sincere, John Plaster, MSG Brendan O'Connor, J.F. Hetrick, Gen.(Ret.) Singlaub, etc.

It is a "True Honor" to have the "S.O.A.'s MACVSOG MEDAL OF HONOR PRINT", #11 of 250 Print's, Framed & Displayed. The MAME'S on it are:

-Col. Howard
-Col. J.P. Fleming
-Lt. M. E. Thornton
-Lt. T. R. Norris
-SMG J.R. Cavaini

All were "SOG"-era MOH Recipients; as "SOA" was estab. in '77, however, within a yr., or They were accepting member's from: SEALs, S.F. C/T & CQB Tm's{ODAs were only "Assoc. Mmbr's}; since the 'GWOT', Agency SAD (Jawbreaker Tm's & 'CAG Sqdrn's'), & then S.F. & AF CCTs, along w/ 'SBS' Trp's/OP Veritas/{after 'SAS' were sent home}.

Dave, it's amazing that the ONLY 'MoH' that have been Awarded in the 'GWOT' have ONLY been Awarded 'Posthum.'? Why the HELL is this?

A 7yr War, many Reccomendation's, but ALL(?) Down-Graded! Those that received them were certainly deserving, but what of the former 18D that the "The Speer Med. Clinic", in 'the Stan", numerous "HLZs"named after Operator's, {how about 'Nate Chapman', the 1st S.F. Operator K.I.A. in the "Stan"}. The 'Battle of Qala-i-Janghi' near Mazar-e-Sharif. That was stopped by 5th S.F. Operator's, S.A.D., CAG, SBS, ANA & a 10th Mtn. QRF. All of this was at Warlord Dostum's HQ; being used as a "AQ/T" POW center. They were NEVER properly searched by Dostum's ANA, & murder'ed SADs Mike SPANN, during Interro.

The same "occured" in Somalia. {With 'Live' Rngr's, S.F., and CAG Operator's}.

The "JCS" & "CENTOM" should be Advised of the morale problem's that are caused by this.

And the Troop's/Contractor's who are unlucky enough to SEE this on SAT-TV are disgusted, because ONLY the Civ.'s wounded and only OPs with coalition Trp's involed botched or extremely Distructive OPs.

None of the helpful 'CIV. Affair's' activity is Worth-Airing! What about "OUR" M.I.A.'s?

What I find it hard to beleive is that to the American people have totally forgotten the USS COLE, the 2 Embassies in Africa, 9/11, and ALL the other Incident's, ( OUT-RAGE'S ), that have CLAIMED American Live's!

Where IS the Out-RAGE? When American's are being Kidknapped & Be-Headed by 'al- Qaeda' trained butcher's; the HELL with Political Correctness!

These are MUSLIM EXTREMIST'S, & We have to Continue the same "CRUSADE'S" of our Ancestor's, think of the happiness it would bring to Those TERRORIZED by MUSLIM SCUM in DARFUR!

"Infidel" and "I'm the GREAT SATIN" { tattoed in Arabic! } and "FREEDOM IS NOT FREEDOM". These are the LAST thing They SEE before Their "RENDITION" to THEIR new home's! May you be "shaheed" 1st.

America, Wake-UP!


Your overview on exemplary accomplishments of Col Robert. Howard was simply superb...
SSG. Len Fein
U.S Army SF (Retired)

Thank You, Great Job Again. God Bless America... Thanks Group 1 [72-76] Hoorah.

- DeWayne

Dave, The article was excellent, it showed his warrior side and also his "LEAD BY EXAMPLE" side of him, that was seen by many students who ever went to the Q Course or Ranger School when he was there. Well done.


1SG Joey "Brasso" Welsh USA (Ret)

OMG! What can be said about this true American Hero. Without men such as Col. Howard, where would our country be. We need these kind of men in order to maintain our security and freedom. He is a true American and I am honored that he has honored us with is selflessness. My hats off to Col. Howard and to you Dave. God bless you both and the United States of America.

Richard Bachman

Dave, thank you once more for a well written piece on another quiet unassuming hero, I have huge admiration and respect for people who volntarily go in harms way to defend their country its people and its way of life,but the guys that were in sog,well they stun me with their,courage,ingenuity and sheer brass balls,so i really enjoyed this letter i also have several of major plasters books, they are legend i thank you once again god bless

John B Higgins

I had heard of the Colonel but not nearly in this detail. As a former Ranger Infantry Officer, I can appreciate what he has accomplished better than most but not nearly well enough. It is a shame that his story is now hidden from the people who need to see it the most.

Neil Gibson

Dave: I received this "Poop from Group" from another SF brother and I'm in his gratitude. The article on COL. (Ret) Howard, who I heard of years ago as a "Quiet Professional" legend in Group (SOG), was moving and well presented. I was a team member at DU CO, 1969 (sister A Team) to Dak To. Thanks for the wonderful Newsletter and keep up the great work!! Mel Vanterpool, US Virgin Islands

Mel Vanterpool a child, the first Medal I ever saw was the "Viet Nam" Service Medal...Milton Childress gave it to me (a thing to play with as a child)...the second was the "Medal of Honor" (David Oulette, Navy) the words I've just read...we need more of them. Thank you.

Drew Nolan

..., thank you. It's a privilege to be able to respond to your letter. I've "met" two MOH honor I've never forgotten, or will ever. I will NEVER forget that "Medal" I saw as a child...or his family. They became friends and affected a young man to serve.

Drew Nolan

Good job on the Colonel Howard piece.

Dave Stafford

During the Korean war this Christmas carol was written in a bleak December which in the last line sums up the gritty life endured by our soldiers. "Merry Christmas to all – may you all live through the night!" The dream of home by Christmas has always been continued from one war to the next.


Lt. Col. Darrell T. Rathbun

"Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the tent.
Was the odor of fuel oil (the stove pipe was bent).
The shoe paks were hung by the oil stove with care;
In the hope that they'd issue each man a new pair.
The weary GI's were sacked-out in their beds,
And visions of sugar babies danced through their heads;
When up on the ridge-line there rose such a clatter.
(A Chinese machine gun had started to chatter).

I rushed to my rifle and threw back the bolt.
The rest of my tent-mates awoke with a jolt.
Outside we could hear our platoon sergeant Kelly,
A hard little man with a pot belly.
"Come Yancey, come Clancey, come Connors and Watson,
Up Miller, up Shiller, up Baker and Dodson!"
We tumbled outside in a swirl of confusion,
So cold that each man could have used a transfusion.
"Get up on that hill-top and silence that Red,
And don't you come back till you're sure that he's dead."
Then putting his thumb up in front of his nose
Sergeant Kelly took leave of us shivering Joes.
But we all hear him say in a voice soft and light:
"Merry Christmas to all --- May you live through the night!"

The Stars and Stripes,
Tokyo, December 22, 1951



Recently a letter came across the desk of Lt. Colonel R.B. Thieme, Jr. written during World War II, a letter which perfectly expresses the profile of a Christian warrior.

On November 22, under the stars of an alien sky somewhere in the South Pacific, Philip Welsher, 22 of the United States Marines, breathed his last. Mother and Dad and his beloved home were far away; horror, violence and devastation were all around. But Phil was "looking up", far beyond the stars, into the face of His Savior.

Phil's last message to his mother and dad was written more than a year before his death. His pals found it among his few possessions and mailed it home at once, in accordance with the request found in the envelope. He wrote:


Dear Folks,

I am writing this letter in the hope that after my death it will be forwarded to you. My purpose in writing this is twofold. First, that you may be assured that, while we are temporarily separated, we know that we shall soon be joined together with Christ in the presence of God. As I write this I am in very little danger, but who can tell what the morrow may bring? We simply trust God to give us the victory in temporal things as well as spiritual matters.

As I pass on, I wish to leave behind a testimony to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that God may be glorified in my death more than He was in my life. Today, knowing that I may very soon be called to give an account of myself, I can say that I am trusting only in Jesus Christ who died as a sacrifice for my sins that I might have eternal life. He paid the price with His own precious life, and by simple faith in Him I am cleansed from all unrighteousness.

I am now with Jesus, and all is well with my soul. Jesus said; "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me shall never die," (John 11:25-26).

My second purpose in writing this letter, Dad, is that you might make the way of salvation clear to a friend to whom I have written a similar letter. Give the message as from me that "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures." (I Cor. 15:3-4. Say, also, that in Him shall we meet again.

Dry your tears, Mom, a son has been called Home, where he waits to be joined by the dearest parents a boy could have. Perhaps consolation may be found in knowing that when we shall again be together, it shall be even as He promised: "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Rev. 21:4)

My life and the lives of my buddies have not been given in vain. We have fought and died to maintain those God-given liberties with which we have been blessed. Now, for just a little while, I would say, good-bye, and God be with you till we meet again.

Your loving son,


A Different Christmas Poem

By Michael Marks

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Michael Marks
December 7th, 2000

Please, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Constru ction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

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Word of Truth

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The Word of Truth

Suffering Part III, Suffering for Blessing

By Rev G.J. Rako
LTC (Ret)

We discussed punitive suffering in the last two newsletters. The two categories of punitive suffering are the law of volitional responsibility and divine discipline. The last category of suffering applies only to the believer in Christ; suffering for blessing.

Jesus Christ endured the greatest suffering in human history. The result of His monumental suffering culminated in our so great salvation. His suffering was suffering for blessing, our blessing.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

1 John 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Suffering for blessing teaches us to depend on the grace provisions of God and accelerates our spiritual growth. Until we learn that our human abilities cannot solve our problems, our spiritual growth languishes. God has provided solutions to all our problems. We like to fix our own problems with money, talent, position, or human power. There comes a time in the spiritual advance of every believer when human solutions will not work. Since God has already provided the solution, He wants you to utilize His provision. He allows suffering into our life so that we can learn to trust Him for the solution.

God will never give you more than you can bear. This is why Paul said,

2 COR 12:7-10 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this, I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

God revealed great truth to Paul and provided suffering so that Paul would not become arrogant (to keep me from exalting myself). Paul prayed three times to have this suffering removed. God’s answer, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Paul realizes the benefit of the suffering, which is the power of Christ. Knowing this, gives him contentment in all the circumstances of life.

Phil 4:11-13, "Not that I speak with reference to want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. In fact, I have come to know how to be humble, and I have come to know how to live in prosperity. And in every circumstance I have been initiated in both how to be filled and how to be hungry, both how to be prosperous and how to suffer need. I have the power to attain all things through Him who makes me strong."

The power of the knowledge of the Word coupled with confidence in God’s solutions causes Paul to say, "for when I am weak, then I am strong." When Paul is weak, the power of God is strong in Him. This results in accelerating his spiritual growth and understanding. The promises of God become the solution to all problems in life, which grows our relationship with Him.

Prov 19:8, "He who gets wisdom loves his own soul he who cherishes understanding prospers."

Suffering in this life is a guarantee, however, stress or anxiety in the soul caused by suffering is optional.

Phil 1:29, "For to you it has been given on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake."

You don't suffer for His sake when you make your own problems, reaping what you have sown from your own bad decisions, sins, and bad judgment. Suffering for His sake is suffering for blessing.

1 Pet 1:6-8, "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have distresses from various testing’s; that the proof of your doctrine, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire [suffering for blessing], may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. And though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with inexpressible happiness and full of glory [spiritual maturity]."

Suffering for blessing teaches us how to lean on God and not on human solutions. God is ever faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us.

Psalms 55:22 Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless , He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Lam 3: 21-26 This I recall to my mind, therefore, I have confidence. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; g reat is Your faithfulness . "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have confidence in Him." The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord .

Suffering for blessing produces steadfastness, stability, spiritual growth, and spiritual maturity resulting in glorification of God.

Jas 1:2-4, "Consider it all happiness, my brethren [believers in Christ], when you encounter various testing’s [of many kinds in suffering for blessing], knowing that the testing of your doctrine [application of Bible doctrine to suffering to attain spiritual advance] produces steadfastness [spiritual stability]. And let steadfastness [spiritual stability] have its perfect result [spiritual maturity], that you may be mature and complete [spiritual maturity plus evidence testing equals glorification of God to the maximum in the angelic conflict], lacking nothing [temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings]."

Remember God will never test you in suffering beyond what you are able to bare.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able , but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Notice it says, "…that you will be able to endure it." God intends for you to bare the suffering that He does not remove. This includes all categories of suffering, discipline, law of volitional responsibility, and suffering for blessing. Grace provides rebound (confession of sin 1 John 1:9) for suffering related to discipline. If the suffering continues after rebound, it is automatically converted to suffering for blessing. This is true with all categories of suffering. The filling of the Holy Spirit (FHS) plus Bible doctrine resident it the soul guarantees that all suffering in your life is suffering for blessing.

Evidence testing is the greatest suffering for blessing that we might endure. Please read the book of Job.

The pattern of evidence testing is found in Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7; Zech 3:1-2.

In Zech 3:1-2, Joshua, the high priest, had attained maturity and was entered as a witness for the prosecution, cross-examined by Satan.

"Then He showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord [Jesus Christ], and Satan, standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord [Jesus Christ] said to Satan, `The Lord [God the Father] rebuke you.'"

Evidence testing is Satan's cross-examination of every witness presented by God in the historical trial of all fallen angels. In human history, man's thoughts, motives, decisions, and actions are entered as evidence, exhibits, precedents, and arguments in Satan's appeal trial. Every believer who attains maturity is an argument or witness for the prosecution against Satan. Evidence testing, then, is Satan's cross-examination of every witness presented by God.

No believer qualifies as a witness until he has attained spiritual maturity. Passing evidence testing is the highest category of suffering for blessing. It results in glorifying God and provides the blessings for you in time and eternity.

Every believer who attains spiritual maturity is a witness for the prosecution, either in the formal trial of Old Testament history, or in the rebuttal phase of the First Advent and Church Age, or in the closing argument and summary phase of the Second Advent and the Millennium. To qualify as a witness for the prosecution (i.e., God), the believer must execute the unique spiritual life of the church age, which is the advance to spiritual maturity.

Evidence testing is Satan's attempt, through his cross-examination of suffering, to discredit those believers who attain spiritual maturity. It appears that Satan always administers evidence testing, but under restrictions imposed by God before the evidence testing begins. For example, Satan was not permitted to kill Job.

There are two categories of evidence testing.

a. The relationship to the plan of God test is illustrated by our

Lord Jesus Christ in Mt 4:1-11.

b. The relationship to life test is illustrated by Job.

Either category of evidence testing is administered only to the mature believer, for only he is a witness for the prosecution.

The pattern of the relationship with God test is found in the three unique temptations to our Lord Jesus Christ, which were temptations to His humanity only; as God He cannot be tempted. The three parts are:

a. Relationship with the Holy Spirit, Mt 4:1-4.

b. Relationship with the Word of God, Mt 4:5-7.

c. Relationship with the plan of God, Mt 4:8-10.

Noting that the Lord's solution to evidence testing was that instead of performing miracles under His own power, our Lord used the greatest power ever known in the history of the human race. He used Bible doctrine in all three parts of His evidence testing. Bible doctrine is the greatest power the world has ever known; it is far, far greater than God performing a miracle. When God performs a miracle, it requires only His sovereignty.

However, when a believer uses Bible doctrine, makes correct application, and advances in the plan of God with that Bible doctrine, that is the greatest power and the highest function that any member of the human race can attain.

Job took the relationship to life test. After receiving his escrow blessings, it was all swept away in the first part of Job's relationship to life test. The three parts of his test are:

a. Loss of prosperity, Job 1.

b. Loss of health, social life, and attractiveness, Job 2:1-10.

c. Loss of friends and being maligned, Job 2:11 - the end of Job.

Job passed the first two parts, failed the third, recovered, and received double his blessings back in all three categories.

Evidence testing comes quickly, without any notice or warning, and always occurs at a time when least expected. Often occurring when the believer has reached a peak in his spiritual life, it is completely and totally undeserved suffering. It is very, very severe. However, it never puts on the believer more suffering than he can bear. Only the negative believer functioning under the punitive law of volitional responsibility piles on himself more than he can bare. Evidence testing is the greatest honor a believer can receive from God. It is the highest category of suffering for blessing.

Suffering is a guarantee, resultant anxiety is only a potential. Through consistent study of the Word of God under the power of the FHS and application of that doctrine to experience, you will know the peace of God, which passes all comprehension.

For a complete study of this subject, read "Christian Suffering" by R. B. Thieme Jr..


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Quotes & Jokes

"Ever Since I could walk it seemed like I was going around with my head down searching for something, and of course, I was raised on radio programs where you just had to use your Imagination to make things live. I used to listen to Lowell Thomas, what an adventurer... so I've always had a fever for Shangri-La, the pot at the end of the rainbow... Adventure is out there and there's a lot of adventurers out there. All you need is the funding and I hope to see more corporations getting involved in the way they once did for Scott, Peary, Lindbergh, Earhart... because people live vicariously through what they read and see and hear about and all Americans love a hero, A guy who gets off his butt and does something."

~ Jay Anthony Fiondella August 6, 1926 - November 6, 2008 - adventurer, explorer, Navy See Bee, raconteur, sailor, father, writer, flight manager, treasure hunter, man about town, actor, gentleman rogue and saloon owner to all who knew him well... as quoted in The Los Angeles Times Thursday May 26th 1983 /Part V

"Not only do law-abiding citizens with guns deter many criminals from committing a crime to begin with: Possessing a gun is the safest way to confront a criminal if you are forced to."

~ John Lott, March 22, 2006, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of The Bias Against Guns

"If you see a bomb technician running, follow him."

~ Anonymous

"Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers."

Advice given to RAF pilots during WWII: "When a prang (crash) seems inevitable, endeavor to strike the softest, cheapest object in the vicinity as slow and gently as possible."

"I hope our leaders will take things slow, make sure we KNOW every person that is behind this terrible act. This may mean having to use spies, other kinds of warfare, etc. to gather the intelligence we need to prove who is responsible. But we don't want to bring these b******s home for a trial. When we find out who they are, we need to go after them with EVERYTHING we have got, so we don't risk more good American youth by doing things half-way. We need to hunt them down, and then kill them. At the same time I want all of us to remember that we are Americans. Let's act like Americans, do what needs to be done, and do it right."

~ John William Finn, 92 the Oldest living First Medal of Honor awardee in World War two for his actions during the raid on Pearl Harbor On How we must Avenge the aggression of September 11th.

"Christmas, 1942, was the time when trains were jammed and trees were scarce, when turkey was high and the eggnog bowl low. It was a time when, despite the opulence of gifts in many homes, the people sang with fervor, in a peculiar popular ditty, that they just wanted to keep what they had. It was a time when a young Navy wife in Seattle said: "Last Christmas I worried if my husband would come home from the office sober enough to trim the tree. This year I wonder if he'll come home from the Solomons—anytime." The pattern had changed; but the spirit was the same. The bells in the tall church spires would peal out across the land; the greetings, the hand clasps would be more heartfelt than ever. It would take more than a year of global war to dim out American good will."

~ From Time Magazine Dec 28th, 1942

"Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take bank with those poor timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat."

~ President Theodore Roosevelt while as the Lt. Col. leading his Rough Riders

'Twas the Jump Before Christmas
and all through the plane,
The Jumpmaster's crazy
and the Safety's insane.

The static lines were hung
On the cables with care,
In hopes that a green light
Soon would be there.

At the one minute warning
Not a word would be said,
While malfunctions and entanglements
Danced through their heads.

With the door bundles rigged
I hooked up my pack,
Let's pull this jump off
Without a racetrack!

When out on the wing
There rose such a clatter,
I opened the door
To see what was the matter.

And what to my night visioned eyes
Should appear,
But a towed parachutist
And eight tiny reindeer.

I leaned out the door
And grabbed hold of his sleigh
He gave a four thousand count
When I cut him away.

He fell through the night
'Til I saw him no more,
Then came back inside
And yelled "Stand in the door."

Some jumpers were happy
And some full of fright,
But when the green light came on
They all jumped into the night.

On bundle, on jumpers,
The jumpmaster exits the door,
One thousand, two thousand,
Three thousand, four!

With my body in the blast
And my knees in the breeze,
St. Michael protect me,
From all of these trees!

Dark skies full of chutes
And strong winds did blow,
Then heard a faint distant laughter,
From the DZSO.

One riser slip
Hand over hand to my right,
But my hands were so cold
I could not hold on tight.

Now lower your ruck
And slip hard as you can,
Put your feet and knees together
And get ready to land.

Ball of the feet, calf, thigh,
And push up muscle,
Roll up your chute
And move out with a hustle.

To the chute turn-in point,
The red light and a vest,
Be sure your name is scratched
From the jump manifest.

I saw the assembly point,
A strobe light so bright,
I knew even new troopers,
Would find it that night.

No matter where or when
Be it Desert or Snow,
The Airborne Troopers
Are ready to go.

For it was that jolly
towed parachutist
Holding that light,
Saying happy jumping to all
And to all a good night.


Author Unknown

"They were the kind of people with no remorse -- anybody and whomsoever came in front of them they fired. We could have got those terrorists but for so many hotel guests... The bodies were lying strewn here and there. There was blood all over and in trying to avoid the casualty of those civilians, we had to be that much more careful..."

~ said an unknown black-clad masked commando, who belonged to India's crack Marine Commando Force known as MARCOS, in the aftermath of the first day of the Mumbati Attack.

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    Store Shootout: Security Guard vs Armed Gunman!

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    Winter Tracking

    A) The best time to track is early in the morning or late in the afternoon due to the height of the sun to cast the shadows. When Reading is poor, always place it between yourself and the sun.

    B) Do not move past the last sign until you have found the next sign, this is called "sign cutting."

    C) Once the initial track is found completely document and sketch it for future reference. This sketch will prevent you from following the wrong track later.

    Determining Direction

    Generally not a problem with animals. Man's over-the-snow equipment may confuse a tracker all forward movement will displace snow forward, or referred to as "fluffing".

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    Backward Snow Shoes

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    If the track is lost or misidentified, the teams will move back to the last marked track.


    Subject: Christmas

    1. An official visit by MG Santa (NMI) Claus is expected at this headquarters 25 December 2008. The following instructions will be in effect and govern the activities of all personnel during the visit.

    a. Not a creature will stir without official permission. This will include indigenous mice. Special stirring permits for necessary administrative actions will be obtained through normal channels. Mice stirring permits will be obtained through the Office of the Surgeon General, Veterinary Services.

    b. Personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap prior to 2200 hours, 24 December 2008. Uniform for the nap will be: Pajamas, cotton,light, drowsing, with kerchief, general purpose, camouflage; and Cap, camouflage w/ear flaps. Equipment will be drawn from CIF prior to 1900 hours, 24 December 2008

    c. Personnel will utilize standard field ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. Artificially sweetened plums are authorized for those in their unit weight control program. Specifications for this item will be provided by the servicing dining facility.

    d. Stockings, wool, cushion sole, will be hung by the chimney with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fire hazards caused by carelessly hung stockings. Unit safety Officers will submit stocking hanging plans to this headquarters prior to 0800 hours, 24 December 2008, ATTN: DCSLOG, for approval.

    e. At the first sign of clatter from the lawn, all troops will spring from their beds to evaluate noise and cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw open the window sashes. DCSOPS Plan (Saint Nick), Reference LO No. 3, paragraph 6c, this headquarters, 2 February 2008, will be in effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. Division chiefs will familiarize all personnel with procedures and are responsible for ensuring that no shutters are torn open nor window sashes thrown open prior to start of official clatter.

    f. Prior to 2400, 24 December 2008, all personnel will be assigned "Wondering Eye" stations. After shutters are thrown open and sashes are torn, these stations will be manned.

    g. The ODCSLOG will assign one each Sleigh, miniature, M - 66, and eight (8) deer, rein, tiny, for use of MG Claus' driver who, IAW current directives and other applicable regulations, must have a valid SF 56 properly annotated by Driver Testing; be authorized rooftop parking and be able to shout "On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, up Comet, up Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen".

    2. MG Claus will enter quarters through standard chimneys. All units without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M - 6, for use during ceremonies. Chimney simulator units will be requested on Engineer Job Order Request Form submitted to the Furniture Warehouse prior to 19 December 2008, and issued on DA Form 3161, Request for Issue or Turn - in.

    3. Personnel will be rehearsed on shouting "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night." This shout will be given on termination of General Claus' visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of division chiefs.

    Colonel, USA
    OIC, Special Services

    Everybody Who Still Believes

    Merry Christmas 2005 the movie

    On Christmas Eve 1914 in Northern France, officers and soldiers from Scotland, Germany and France, who fought each other from trenches barely 100 metres apart on a daily basis, put down their weapons to share wine and food, exchange photographs and memories and play a game of soccer in the snow. It was an extraordinary act of human generosity and humility - and a true event.

    The story follows a Scottish Anglican priest, who volunteered to follow his young church aides; a prestigious Berlin tenor now fighting for his country, and the French Lieutenant Audebert, who has had to leave his pregnant wife behind. These men and their peers easily find a common ground that is dangerously subversive to their superiors.

    A bona - fide hit of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noël) is a heart - warming story about courage and dignity. Anchored by an excellent international cast this deeply moving and uplifting film features scenes of great bravery, simple decency and extraordinary humour. With a genuine poignancy in its celebration of the way a shared humanity transcended the madness of war, this elegant film is a European classic.

    Fort Christmas Florida

    As white settlers moved into Florida in the 1820's and 1830's, there were growing demands that the Seminole Indians be removed to a reservation west of the Mississippi. Efforts to convince the Seminoles to move failed, and in 1835 the conflict known as the Second Seminole War began in earnest. Late in 1837, Maj. Gen. Thomas S. Jesup, overall commander in Florida, began intensive preparations to carry the fighting to south Florida, where he believed he would find a large force of hostile Indians. These preparations included opening a road on the west side of the St. Johns River and building along the road several posts to serve as depots for operations to the south.

    On Decmeber 25, 1837, troops under the command of Brig. Gen. Abraham Eustis established Fort Christmas on the north side of a creek a short distance from here. General Jesup himself led the column south from Fort Christmas early in January. By late January Jesup's troops were receiving their supplies by water from the St. Lucie River, and in March Fort Christmas was abandoned. While this simple wooden fortification was short - lived, it gave its name to the town of Christmas, a short distance south of here."

    OSS Morale Operation Christmas 1944

    The OSS Morale Operations Branch, unlike the U.S. Army or the OWI, practiced covert strategic and tactical morale operations based on deception and subversion. The types of campaigns conducted and the methods used supposedly closely resembled Nazi fifth - column activities of the 1930s and early 1940s. The OSS used whatever means gained results, and its members believed that Nazi psychological warfare had been extremely successful. The belief in the efficacy of Nazi methods indicated how firmly OSS policymakers supported a propaganda of realpolitik in which, as in Nazi Germany, scruples, ethics, and universally accepted agreements and decencies were morally relative if not totally discarded to obtain national goals. As MO output was covert, it could act without fear of damaging America's reputation or moral standing.

    The MO Branch commenced operations relatively late in the war. Yet between 1943 and V - E Day it implemented campaigns of a scope and level of sophistication beyond any propaganda ever practiced by the Nazis. MO output was unofficial and disclaimed by federal authorities and was covertly disseminated to make it appear to be of enemy origin. The members of the branch hoped not only to aid the U.S. Army by demoralizing the Wehrmacht but also to undermine the Germans' beliefs in Hitler and Nazism and their faith in political and social institutions. They sought to unravel the very fabric of German society by creating the impression that a fifth column was at work within the Reich.

    One novel poison - pen letter, created in December 1944, was sent to soldiers from Lichtenau, Germany. Allegedly a Christmas greeting from the Nazi mayor, it informed the troops of local events. Although meant to boost morale, the letter contained many none - too - subtle indications that disaster was striking the community on a daily basis. The mayor cheerfully wrote that civilians had been armed and drafted into the Volkssturm, that youngsters aged fifteen to seventeen were being trained as pilots and would be in combat after only a few weeks of training, excepting three who had crashed on the town itself, killing themselves and five others, that several specifically named streets had been bombed without Luftwaffe opposition and with heavy loss of life, that wives, sisters, and sweethearts were sacrificing their health, lives, and beauty for the cause and were working overtime denouncing traitors to the Gestapo, that food, water, and electricity were not to be had, and that five births had been reported among town residents, one to a women whose husband had disappeared in France twelve months before. The letter closed with a Merry Christmas and a Heil Hitler.

    Chapter 10 of The Propaganda Warriors: America's Crusade Against Nazi Germany, by Clayton D. Laurie, University Press of Kansas (1996)

    A CIA Contractor Christmas

    Day One. Partridge in a pear tree: During the night - shift at the NSA, Booz Allen contractors suddenly have their online Christmas shopping interrupted when Booz Allen proprietary counterterrorist data - mining algorithms note an unusual spike in internet chatter of "persons of interest" using the term "partridge in a pear tree." Their NSA Contracting Officer's Technical Rep is alerted.

    Day Two. Two turtle doves. At the NSA, SAIC contractors discover a correlation between "partridge in a pear tree" and "two turtle doves." The NSA notifies the CIA. CIA analysts who are new to the job due to high Agency turnover do not recognize the turtle - dove/partridge - in - a - pear - tree pattern, but speculate that the combination of phrases indicates that a terrorist plan may have gone operational. The White House is briefed.

    Day Three. Three French Hens. Sources on the ground in Paris are unable to corroborate indications of French involvement. Officers in the National Clandestine Service suspect the French hens are a false - flag and secretly hope that the Russians are back in the game. Due to strong political pressure from the White House, CIA analysts concede that the Iranian involvement cannot be ruled out.

    CIA interrogators at a black site in Burkina Faso send a cable to Headquarters requesting permission to gut slap an al Qaeda detainee who may hold valuable information.

    Day Four. Four Calling Birds. At the behest of the Administration, AT&T, MCI, Sprint and Verizon all hand over their calling data to third - party data warehousing companies that do not face the same legal restrictions as the telcos, creating a rendition program of sorts for data. The data warehousers frantically sift through calls.

    CIA interrogators at the African black site are frustrated when Headquarters requests more details about potential information that could be acquired from the detainee if he is slapped. They curse the lawyers and compose a response. A senior contractor overseeing facilities management at the site quips that they should suggest the detainee may volunteer information about five golden rings, but he never thinks the kids running the interrogation would not get the joke. The 26 year - old case officer in charge of the interrogation cables Headquarters that the detainee likely holds information about five golden rings.

    Day Five. Five Golden Rings. New NSA intercepts discover "persons of interest" discussing "Five Golden Rings." With this new development, CIA analysts suspect terrorists are plotting to use five dirty bombs to radiate large areas of US metropolitan areas.

    The Deputy Director of National Clandestine Service is excited that one of the black site detainee may know about the golden rings. Over the objections of his Assistant General Counsel, the Deputy Director approves the slap.

    Day Six. Six Geese - A - Laying. A blogger who monitors al Qaeda internet sites and chat rooms contacts the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to alert them to a suspicious discussion among al Qaeda sympathizers about "six geese - a - laying." The ODNI passes the intel along to the CIA and NSA and as word of the sites spread among Intelligence Community members, the sites are slammed with new visitors from overt beltway bandit IPs in northern Virginia and Anne Arundel county in Maryland. Suspicious al Qaeda webmasters shut them down.

    Meanwhile at the black site, a CIA interrogator trained in enhanced techniques, slaps the al Qaeda detainee. A CACI green badger interpreter with no formal training in interpretation misinterprets the terrorist's mumblings as "seven swamis."

    The interrogators cable Headquarters with the raw intel and request permission not only to attention shake the detainee, but to apply sleep deprivation techniques, justifying the request with their suspicious they might receive additional information about possible Indian involvement, which may actually turn out to be Iranian since both words start with "I", end with "n", and have between six and seven letters.

    Day Seven. Seven Swans - A - Swimming. NSA contractors Raytheon, Booz Allen and SAIC have all picked up chatter about seven swans a - swimming. SAIC analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center rack up billable hours trying to reconcile this with CIA intel concerning the seven swamis. Raytheon analysts at Defense Intelligence insist that the seven swans - a - swimming indicates that seaplanes are bringing the dirty bombs into the country. With strong pressure from corporate and the DoD which has been pushing for funding for a satellite - based seaplane early warning system proposed by Raytheon, Raytheon green badgers at the ODNI push hard for the seaplane analysis and win out. It is included in the President's Daily Brief.

    At the Pentagon, with the support of DIA's General Clapper, the Air Force claims it should be the lead. The Navy argues that since the swans are swimming and not flying, clearly this requirement falls under their command's area of responsibility. The Marines stand at the ready, prepared to toast and roast, then eat the swans, whether in the air, land or sea.

    All the while, CIA case officers at the black site stare at the detainee, waiting on a response to their cable. Junior officers are afraid if they don't put the detainee to bed soon, they may be accused of torture and face possible legal actions. Just to be on the safe side, they offer a can of Red Bull to the detainee. The Office of Medical Services on - site physician takes the detainee's blood pressure.

    Day Eight. Eight Maids - A - Milking. The Department of Homeland Security alerts TSA agents to be on the watch for breastfeeding mothers who may have terrorist involvement. It issues alerts to local authorities.

    With an attack on the Homeland seemingly imminent, a Fusion Center in Sacramento is used to circumvent various federal privacy laws. In a piecemeal version of Total Information Awareness, federal, local and state databases are fused with private marketing databases. Contractors search through billions of records from phone and credit card and internet search companies to find breastfeeding behavioral patterns suggestive of terrorist involvement. They come up with an additional 226,351 persons of interest in the Golden State. The FBI and local authorities work overtime to investigate all leads. None turn up anything actionable, but the 226,351 persons of interest are added to the TSA's No - Fly list anyway just as a precaution. As a result to the extra additions to the 600,000 strong list, holiday air travel is snarled.

    At the black site, a cable is received approving administration of sleep deprivation. The 26 year - old case officer in charge of the interrogation is relived that his decision to push the envelope with the Red Bull has not endangered his career. He's secretly proud he's carrying on the tradition of the Agency's bad boys and starts calling himself "Captain Bull," after the legendary, bat - wielding Beirut interrogator "Captain Crunch."

    Day Nine. Nine Ladies Dancing. Fearing more sexual harassment training seminars, analysts throughout the Intelligence Community dismiss intercepts concerning nine ladies dancing and omit all references to them from their reports.

    Day Ten. Ten Lords - a - Leaping. The same day that the phrase "ten lords - a - leaping" is correlated with the previous NSA intercepts, ten members of the British House of Lords are killed in Baghdad by a suicide bomber. They were on their way to observe the British pullout in Basra under the protection of a Blackwater PSD team. Blackwater claims that it was not allowed to fire upon a rapidly approaching white Toyota containing the explosives because the vehicle did not fit the suicide bomber profile as outlined by the State Department's acting head of Diplomatic Security. At a well - attended press conference the Iraqi Minister of Interior charges that Blackwater was negligent and should have known to fire upon the occupants of the suicide vehicle. He holds up a twisted, charred bumper that he claims was from the VBIED. Plastered to it is the damning yellow bumper sticker: How's My Driving? Call 1 - 800 - Al - QAEDA. International headlines claim Blackwater is responsible for the British Lord's deaths because its operators should've correctly identified the VBIED. Congressman Waxman vows to hold Blackwater accountable for its unforgivable lack of aggression.

    Meanwhile at the black site, sleep deprivation is proving to be ineffective and a cable is sent to Headquarters requesting permission to waterboard the detainee.

    Day Eleven. Eleven Pipers Piping. Outsourced analysts at the CIA and Department of Energy are convinced that the latest NSA intercept, "eleven pipers piping" is a thinly veiled reference to aluminum tubes. Aluminum tubes could really only be used in a centrifuge enrichment program to develop atomic weapons, they explain. Under pressure from the Vice President's office, it's determined that the earlier information from the CIA's detainee program about seven swamis was misinterpreted. It's now thought the seven swamis were an indirect reference to seven Pakistani nuclear scientists working with Iranians on nuclear weapons.

    The black site interrogators receive permission to waterboard the detainee. Before the procedure begins, the lead interrogator collapses from the stress that he will end up in front of Congressional committees and in court for his actions. The detainee is horrified at the sight of his interrogator crying in a fetal position. He's is convinced something so horrific is about to happen to him, he breaks before they can position the Saran wrap over his mouth to protect him from drowning. The detainee explains that al Qaeda is now working with Iran to help them with their nuclear weapons development program. He confirms every suspicion of his interrogators. The black site cables Langley with confirmation that the seven swamis swimming was actually seven Pakistani nuclear scientists assisting Iranian WMD development.

    Day Twelve. Twelve Drummers Drumming. On the twelfth day of Christmas, the world wakes up to New York Times headlines, "U.S. Says Ahmadinejad Intensifies Quest for A - Bomb Parts." On the same day, twelve top administration officials appear on Sunday morning talk shows.

    On Meet the Press Cheney claims that Iran is "trying, through its illicit procurement network, to acquire the equipment he needs to be able to enrich uranium - - specifically, aluminum tubes." Condi Rice appears on CNN's Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer and warns "we don't want the smoking yule log to be a mushroom cloud." Then she recites the evidence in the reverse order in which it was gathered: "Twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree."

    Blitzer pauses for a commercial break.

    Meanwhile at the black site, the CIA contractors and interrogators are watching CNN via satellite and realize what they've just done. The contractors fire off a cable to their corporate headquarters, explaining what's happened and their indirect role in the folly.

    But corporate is ecstatic.

    The employees at the black site and everyone even remotely associated with their chain of command in the firm all receive special Christmas bonuses (a reimbursable expense on their contract). Their company stock in their 401(k)s quadruple due to increased business thanks to the war with Iran.


    Happy Holidays, everyone! RJH


    Note: I've surprised to see how quickly this is spreading across the internet. I'm happy for people to post it elsewhere, but please give a link back and/or credit it something like: "by R J Hillhouse who writes the national security blog, The Spy Who Billed Me. Her most recent book is Outsourced." Thanks!

    "Merry Christmas, My Friend"

    By Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt

    Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
    In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.
    I had come down the chimney, with presents to give,
    And to see just who in this home did live.

    As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
    No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
    No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
    On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

    With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
    A sobering thought soon came to my mind.
    For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen,
    This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

    I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
    So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
    And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
    Curled up on the floor in his one - bedroom home.

    He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
    Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
    Was this the hero, of whom I'd just read,
    Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

    His head was clean - shaven, his weathered face tan,
    I soon understood, this was more than a man.
    For I realized the families that I saw that night,
    Owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

    Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
    And grown - ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
    They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
    Because of Marines like this one lying here.

    I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone,
    On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
    Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
    I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

    He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
    "Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice.
    I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more,
    My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

    With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
    I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
    I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
    I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.

    So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
    And covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
    Then I put on his T - shirt of scarlet and gold,
    With eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.

    Although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
    And for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.
    I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
    This guardian of honor so willing to fight.

    But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
    Said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all's secure."
    One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
    Merry Christmas, my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

    James M. Schmidt wrote this poem back in 1986 while a Lance Corporal stationed in Washington, D.C., serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I under Commandant P.X. Kelly and Battalion Commander D.J. Myers [in 1986].

    Schmidt hung this poem on the door of the Gym in the BEQ. When Colonel Myers came upon it, he read it and immediately had copies sent to each department at the Barracks and promptly dismissed the entire Battalion early for Christmas leave. The poem was placed that day in the Marine Corps Gazette, distributed worldwide, and later submitted to Leatherneck Magazine was thinking about our servicemen overseas this Holiday Season and wrote the following in hope of bringing a small bit of Christmas cheer to active duty and veterans alike ... just a humble thanks and "God Bless." Please feel free to pass it along or post it as you see fit. Thank you.

    Happy Holidays,
    Michael Marks

    Afghanistan Christmas Carol

    T'was the night before Christmas and all through the Land,
    They're running like rabbits in Afghanistan,
    Osama's been praying, he's down on his Knees,
    He's hoping that Allah will hear all his Pleas.
    He thought if he killed us that we'd fall and Shatter,
    But all that he's done is just make us Madder.
    We ain't yet forgotten our Marines in Beirut,
    And we'll kick your butt, with one heavy Boot.
    And yes we remember the USS Cole,
    And the lives of our sailors that you bastards Stole.
    You think you can rule us and cause us to Fear,
    You'll soon get the answer if you live to Hear.
    And we ain't forgotten your buddy Saddam,
    And he ain't forgotten the sound of our Bombs.
    You think that those mountains are somewhere to Hide.
    They'll go down in history as the place where you Died.
    Remember Khadhafi and his Line of Death?
    He came very close, to his final Breath.
    So come out and prove it, that you are a Man,
    Cause our boys are coming and they have a Plan.
    They are our fathers and they are our Sons,
    And they sure do carry some mighty big Guns.
    They would have stayed home with children and Wives,
    Till you bastards came here and took all these Lives.
    Osama I wrote this especially for You,
    For air mail delivery by B - 52.
    You soon will be hearing a thud and a whistle,
    Old Glory is coming, attached to a Missile
    I will not be sorry to see your ass Go.
    It's Red, White, and Blue that is running this Show

    Author Unkown

    DoD's Twelve Days of Christmas

    The President has authorized the Department of Defense to assist Santa with the Twelve Days of Christmas.

    Status of acquisitions follows:

    Day 1 - Partridge in a pear tree:

    The Army and Air Force are in the process of deciding whose area of responsibility Day 1 falls under. Since the partridge is a bird, the Air Force believes it should have the lead.

    The Army, however, feels trees are part of the land component command's area of responsibility. After three months of discussion and repeated OpsDepsTank sessions, a $1M study has been commissioned to decide who should lead this joint program.

    Day 2 - Two turtle doves:

    Since doves are birds, the Air Force claims responsibility. However, turtles are amphibious, so the Navy - Marine Corps team feels it should take the lead. Initial studies have shown that turtles and doves may have inter - operability problems. Terms of reference are being coordinated for a four - year, $10M DARPA study.

    Day 3 - Three French Hens:

    At State Department instigation, the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has blocked offshore purchase of hens, from the French or anyone else. A $6M program is being developed to find an acceptable domestic alternative.

    Day 4 - Four Calling Birds:

    Source selection has been completed, with the contract awarded to AT&T. However, the award is being challenged by a small disadvantaged business.

    Day 5 - Five Golden Rings:

    No available rings meet MILSPEC for gold plating. A three - year, $5M accelerated development program has been initiated.

    Day 6 - Six Geese a - Laying:

    The six geese have been acquired. However, the shells of their eggs seem to be very fragile. It might have been a mistake to build the production facility on a nuclear waste dump at former Air Force base that was closed under BRAC.

    Day 7 - Seven Swans a - Swimming:

    Fourteen swans have been killed trying to get through the Navy SEAL training program. The program has been put on hold while the training procedures are reviewed to determine why the washout rate is so high.

    Day 8 - Eight Maids a - Milking:

    The entire class of maids a milking training program at Aberdeen is involved in a sexual harassment suit against the Army. The program has been put on hold pending resolution of the lawsuit.

    Day 9 - Nine Ladies Dancing:

    Recruitment of the ladies dancing has been halted by a lawsuit from the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Association." Members claim they have a right to dance and wear women's clothing as long as they're off duty.

    Day 10 - Ten Lords a - Leaping:

    The ten lords have been abducted by terrorists. Congress has approved $2M in funding to conduct a rescue operation. Army Special Forces and a USMC MEU(SOC) are conducting a "NEO - off" competition for the right to rescue.

    Day 11 - Eleven Pipers Piping:

    The pipe contractor delivered the pipes on time. However, he thought DoD wanted smoking pipes. DoD lost the claim due to defective specifications. A $22M dollar retrofit program is in process to bring the pipes into spec.

    Day 12 - Twelve Drummers Drumming:

    Due to cutbacks only six billets are available for drumming drummers. DoD is in the process of coordinating an RFP to obtain the six additional drummers by outsourcing; however, funds will not be available until FY 09.

    As a result of the above - mentioned programmatic delays, and due to a High OPTEMPO that requires diversion of modernization funds to support current readiness, Christmas is hereby postponed until further notice.

    Author Unknown

    The History of The 12 Days Of Christmas

    There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come outof the pear tree have to do with Christmas? From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

    The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ. Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments. Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love. The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament. The six geese a - laying stood for the six days of creation. Seven swans a - swimming represented the seven - fold gifts of the Holy Spirit - Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy. The eight maids a - milking were the eight beatitudes. Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit - Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. The ten lords a - leaping were the ten commandments. The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples. The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.


    40 Rm Christmas

    Christmas in Helmand Province, Afghanistan can't be the bonniest gig on the planet. Hence this contest amongst the Royal Marines of 40 Commando: who can grow the spiffiest mustache. Best, however, is Major Alex Murray's reminder that this takes us back to the days of the great Harry Flashman:

    "Generations of our forefathers have been marching around these hills with the most splendid array of facial hair," he says. "We found throughout history, the upper lip has been stiffened with a good mustache.

    "Some aspects of warfare are timeless, and in this case the requirement for impressive facial hair is as important today as it was for our forefathers working on the North West Frontier.

    "Generations of British marines have operated in places like Afghanistan over the last two centuries. Often working in austere conditions, a good tash has proved essential in maintaining the stiff upper lip, and north Helmand in the current clime is no exception."

    Pictures of some hirsute lobsters* here.

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    New Law Authorizes Veterans’ Salutes during National Anthem

    October 30, 2008

    WASHINGTON -- Veterans and active-duty military not in uniform can now render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem, thanks to changes in federal law that took effect this month.

    "The military salute is a unique gesture of respect that marks those who have served in our nation's armed forces," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "This provision allows the application of that honor in all events involving our nation's flag."

    The new provision improves upon a little known change in federal law last year that authorized veterans to render the military-style hand salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag, but it did not address salutes during the national anthem. Last year's provision also applied to members of the armed forces while not in uniform.

    Traditionally, members of the nation's veterans service organizations have rendered the hand-salute during the national anthem and at events involving the national flag while wearing their organization's official head-gear.

    The most recent change, authorizing hand-salutes during the national anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel, was sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, an Army veteran. It was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed on Oct. 14.

    The earlier provision authorizing hand-salutes for veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag, was contained in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which took effect Jan. 28, 2008.

    # # #

    For the latest news releases and other information, visit VA on the Internet at

    To receive e-mail copies of news releases, subscribe to VA's list server at:

    Ammunition Accountability

    There is an effort underway in your state to have the manufacturer of weapons encode ammunition. The result: A DATABASE OF ALL AMMUNITION SALES, so the geniuses in the government will know how much you buy and what calibers. If the legislation, no one can sell any ammunition after June 30, 2009 unless the ammunition is coded and any privately held uncoded ammunition must be destroyed by July 1, 2011. They will also charge a .05 cent tax on every round so every box of ammo you buy will go up at least $2.50 or more! If they can deprive you of ammo they do not need to take your gun!

    PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO CLICK ON THE LINK FOR YOUR STATE. Google "[XX] legislators" where XX is your state name. Contact your state legislators!

    2008 Legislation


    Alabama Senate Bill 541


    Arizona House Bill 2833


    California Senate Bill 997 (Carried Over from 2007)


    Connecticut Senate Bill 603


    Hawaii House Bill 2392
    Hawaii Senate Bill 2020
    Hawaii Senate Bill 2076
    Hawaii House Resolution 82-07
    (Carried Over from 2007)
    Hawaii Concurrent Resolution 104-06 (Carried Over from 2007)


    Illinois House Bill 4258
    Illinois House Bill 4259
    Illinois House Bill 4269
    Illinois House Bill 4349
    Illinois Senate Bill 1095 (Carried Over from 2007)


    Indiana House Bill 1260


    Kentucky House Bill 715


    Maryland House Bill 517


    Mississippi Senate Bill 2286


    Missouri Senate Bill 1200

    New Jersey

    New Jersey Assembly Bill 2490

    New York

    New York Assembly Bill 10259
    New York Assembly Bill 6920 (Carried Over from 2007)
    New York Assembly Bill 7300 (Carried Over from 2007)
    New York Senate Bill 1177 (Carried Over from 2007)
    New York Senate Bill 3731 (Carried Over from 2007)


    Pennsylvania House Bill

    Rhode Island

    Rhode Island Senate Bill 2742

    South Carolina

    South Carolina Senate Bill 1259


    Tennessee House Bill 3245
    Tennessee Senate Bill 3395


    Washington House Bill 3359

    2007 Legislation

    California Senate Bill 997
    Hawaii House Resolution 82-07
    Hawaii Concurrent Resolution 104-06
    Illinois Senate Bill 1095
    Maryland House Bill 1393
    New York House Bill 6920
    New York House Bill 7300
    New York Senate Bill 1177
    New York Senate Bill 3731

    Iraqi Soldiers Send Aid to California Fire Victims

    American Forces Press Service

    BESMAYA RANGE COMPLEX, Iraq, Nov. 20, 2008 - A group of Iraqi soldiers stepped up to help California residents victimized by recent wildfires raging throughout the state.

    Iraqi army Col. Abbas Fadhil, Besmaya Range Complex commander, and his team of "Abbas' Eagles" raised $500 for wildfire relief.

    "We want to send a message to the American president and the American people," Abbas said. "We feel that we are a family — one body. When one part of the body suffers, the other parts suffer, too."

    This is the fourth donation the soldiers of Besmaya have sent to the American people recently. In September, they raised $1,500 for victims of hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The Eagles also donated $500 to the National Sept. 11 Memorial.

    (From a Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq news release.)

    Read More >> Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq

    National Gun Carry Law upheld in South Dakota Case

    SPRINGFIELD, Va., Nov 18, 2008

    Court Rules Cops Can Carry Guns... Nationwide!

    Good Guys Can Fight Back - Criminals Beware!

    A ruling on a case from South Dakota -- where off-duty law enforcement officers were criminally charged for carrying guns despite the authority to do so under the federal 'Law Enforcement Officer's Safety Act of 2004' (LEOSA) -- has confirmed that all qualified off-duty and retired law enforcement are allowed, by federal law, to carry a concealed gun for personal self-defense irrespective of state law. The federal law supersedes the crazy, confusing and often conflicted state and local laws that limit legitimate self-defense.

    LEAA's Executive Director, Jim Fotis said, "When LEAA co-authored the original draft of what became affectionately known as 'National Cop Carry' back in the early 1990's, I knew it would save cops' lives and give those who choose to resist violent criminals a fighting chance. In 2004 I shook President Bush's hand after he signed our bill into law and rejoiced that our fight -- for more than a decade -- was finally over!"

    The local prosecutor's apparent effort to challenge the federal law, and send a message to all in law enforcement not to carry a gun for self-defense in South Dakota, was soundly rejected! Thankfully, after careful review, the gun charges against the officers were dismissed. "The Judge's crystal clear and unambiguous legal opinion should be required reading for every prosecutor in the nation so that no other law enforcement professionals, active or retired, have to endure what those officers and agents have endured in South Dakota," declared Carl Rowan, LEAA's Vice President.

    Robert Van Norman and Kenneth Orrock, Attorneys for the officers, said "We are pleased with the court's decision, as it reaffirms the intent of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act and in effect will protect law enforcement officers and our communities. The law enforcement community should find comfort that LEOSA has been properly applied in this case."

    A copy of the Judge's memorandum decision -- and extensive background information on LEOSA -- is available at the LEAA website:

    The Law Enforcement Alliance of America, Inc., (LEAA) is the nation's largest not for profit, non-partisan coalition of law enforcement professionals, crime victims, and concerned citizens dedicated to making America safer.

    SOURCE Law Enforcement Alliance of America

    30 US Marines Repel 250 Insurgents,
    Kill 50 in Afghanistan

    Smoke billows from a 500-pound bomb dropped during the intense battle for the city of Shewan. During the battle, Marine snipers attached to Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more. (Photo by Sgt. Steven R. Cushman.)

    A Marine sniper attached to Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan, fires at targets on a range on Camp Barber, Afghanistan. The marksmanship skills of the Marines proved far superior during the Battle of Shewan, enabling the Marines to reduce the enemy force that was more than eight times the size of their own. (Photo by Sgt. Steven R. Cushman.)

    Dispatches from the Front:

    FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Nov. 18, 2008 -- In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.

    Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district.

    The city is home to several major insurgent leaders. Reports indicate that more than 250 full time fighters reside in the city and in the surrounding villages.

    Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines' deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area.

    "The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat," said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. "Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our 'humvees' was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast."

    The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

    "The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they're given the opportunity to fight," the sniper said. "A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong."

    During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn't miss any shots, despite the enemies' rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

    "I was in my own little world," the young corporal said. "I wasn't even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target."

    After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies' spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

    "I didn't realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies' lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us," the corporal said. "It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured."

    (Report by Cpl. James M. Mercure, 2nd Battalion (2/7).)

    Special Forces Soldiers and families celebrate Thanksgiving

    By. Maj. April N. Olsen
    5th Special Forces Group Public Affairs

    FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (USASOC News Service, Dec. 2, 2008)— Special Forces Soldiers and families came together last week to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with a Thanksgiving meal served by 5th Special Forces Group senior leaders at the award-winning Oasis Inn.

    "It's our time to reflect on the great things our Soldiers and their families do for the United States," said Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Voller.

    The dining facility crew of Soldiers and civilians spent days preparing the meal, with some staying overnight to monitor the cooking turkeys, said Sgt. 1st Class Orlander Jinks, assistant manager for the Oasis Inn.

    Jinks said his team of Soldier and civilian cooks, which represents each of 5th Group's five battalions, worked to ensure that every one in Group had a meal befitting members of the Special Forces family.


    Free Christmas trees for Soldiers

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Courtesy of Fort Bragg MWR, Nov. 21, 2008) - The holidays are about giving. Thanks to FedEx and the National Christmas Tree Association's Christmas Spirit Foundation Fort Bragg will be giving free, real Christmas trees to Soldiers and their Families this year.

    For the fourth consecutive year, Christmas tree growers and retailers nationwide have donated real Christmas trees to the military. This year Trees for Troops will deliver 16,000 trees to bases across the United States and overseas.

    On Thursday, Dec. 4, Fort Bragg Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation will begin distributing over 850 live Christmas trees at noon. Trees will be distributed from the NCO Club Parking lot on Reilly Road on a first come basis. Participants should be prepared to take the tree with them immediately as no trees will be held for later pick-up. Trees for Troops is open to Active Duty Soldiers and their Families only.

    For more information on Trees for Toops, please call 396-1024.

    Troops In Contact - Commandos, SF take fight to the Taliban

    By Army Sgt. Michael J. Nyeste
    CJSOTF-A Public Affairs

    KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Courtesy of CJSOTF-A Public Affairs, Nov. 13, 2008) - The frigid wind generated by the spinning blades of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter as it sat, waiting to depart felt like a fierce blizzard to the Afghan Commandos of 3rd CO. 205th Commando Kandak and U.S. Special Forces Soldiers sitting inside its cargo area. All the freezing warriors could do was patiently wait as the pilots went through their pre-flight checks and inspections.

    The cold slowly dissipated as the Afghan sun gave them the day's first rays of light as it slowly rose over the mountainous horizon, revealing pastel colored clouds and a warm, orange morning sky.


    Leader of Army Special Operations retires after 38 years of service

    By Spc. Tony Hawkins

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Nov. 7, 2008) - The head of Army Special Operations Forces retired here today after more than 38 years of service, spanning from Vietnam to the current War on Terror.

    Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, outgoing commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the senior-most three star general in the U.S. Army, retired in a ceremony inside Kennedy Hall this afternoon. He has been in command of the nearly 20,000 Soldiers under USASOC since December 2005.

    "Someone asked me the question, 'What accomplishment am I most proud of?'" Wagner said. "I can't really think of anything other than having the chance to serve on good teams with good people."


    Army Special Operations welcomes new commanding general

    By Spc. Tony Hawkins

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Nov. 7, 2008) - The U.S. Army Special Operations Command bade farewell to a familiar face and welcomed a new one during a change of command ceremony on Meadows Memorial Field here Nov. 7.

    Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, relinquished command of USASOC to Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland Jr. during the ceremony. Mulholland comes to USASOC after serving as the commanding general for Special Operations Command Central at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

    "There couldn't be a better guy taking charge right now," Wagner said about Mulholland. "The one thing that makes me feel good about leaving is that I know a good guy is taking over, and he will do all the right things for these Soldiers and their Families."


    Frogmen learn to fight freezing temps

    Mirror Writer

    Everyone in town knows about the Navy SEAL base on Spruce Cape. Walk along the beach on the cape’s north side and soon you’ll hit a fence. On the fence, you see a sign saying do not enter and an ominous cutout of a human figure.

    Ens. Ron Rector, officer in charge at the base, sat down for an interview Friday to clarify what does and does not go on behind those fences.

    “Really, all we’re doing here is teaching guys how to survive in the cold, wet weather,” Rector said.

    The cutout on the fence? On the first day of training, students are told to follow their compass through the forest and see if they can land on the target.

    “The forest is so thick, you can walk right by those things.”

    SEALs – Sea, Air and Land forces – are the U.S. Navy’s special operations forces, deployed for reconnaissance missions, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense and anti-terrorism missions, among other things.


    Royal Marines Celebrate Christmas

    Via Kim:

    Royal Marines fight Christmas Day battle with Taliban - then march back to base wearing Santa hats

    In what’s described as “the most isolated UK outpost in Helmand”:

    Royal Marines won a dawn firefight with Taliban on a Christmas Day sortie yesterday - then marched back to base in Santa hats.

    The men of 40 Commando left their Afghan base at 4.30am - midnight in Britain - to probe rebel lines a few hundred yards from their camp.

    It was only a matter of time before the insurgents attacked. As shots rang out, one commando joked: “Merry Christmas!”


    Mumbai terrorist attacks: J S Bedi to NDTV

    The terrorists are highly trained, motivated with where with all to mount a prolonged campaign," States Vice-Admiral J S Bedi, Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command said in Mumbai.Admiral Bedi of the Indian Navy tells in the following video link of how his marcos commandos and attackers came from the sea to attack Mumbais Taj and Trident.

    View Video Hereo >>

    Marine commandos fight militants in their own coin

    Calcutta News.Net

    At first glance, they can be mistaken for militants. Sporting long beards and even toting AK-47 assault rifles - Indian Navy's marine commandos follow in letter and spirit the adage of the counter-terrorism doctrine: 'Fight a militant like a militant'.

    The Marcos (abbreviation of marine commandos), dubbed as the 'bearded force' by the militants and having a knack of executing covert operations, were called in along with National Security Guards and army commandos as armed militants holed up inside two luxury hotels in the commercial capital of India-Mumbai.

    'Trained sky divers and sea divers, the Marcos could sabotage enemy vessels and harbor installations. They can operate in beach, coastal, jungles and ravines areas. Being divers, they could reach hostile shores swimming underwater,' a senior navy official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

    Officially known as the Indian Marine Special Force, the unit was raised in 1987 out of the naval divers to lead amphibious operations. The personnel volunteering for the force have to undergo a rigorous two-years training, by the end of which only 10-25 percent of the enrolled commandos remain.


    Made in India and proud of it

    V. K. Madhav Mohan

    The NSG (National Security Guard) and MARCOS (marine commandos) are the new brand ambassadors of India. While the politicians have been shooting their mouths off, the brave commandos have shot the terrorists. That is the difference between leadership and pseudo-leadership: results over rhetoric.

    Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan , Havaldar Gajendra Singh and the 14 other bravehearts of the Mumbai Police have shown us the true meaning of duty, professionalism, courage and adhering to principles. That they had to lay down their lives in so doing is the greatest tragedy of all.

    And don’t forget Karambir Kang, General Manager of the Taj Mahal Hotel who lost his wife and two young children during the assault on his beloved hotel. His attitude and determination to soldier on regardless demonstrates leadership worthy of emulation by all of us. There is also no doubt that all the other innocent victims have carried their own annals of personal bravery to the grave with them.


    Commandos answer SOS from Saudi, Indian vessels, scare off pirates

    Rajat Pandit, TNN

    NEW DELHI: In dramatic action on the high seas, an Indian warship with its armed helicopter and elite marine commandos repulsed in quick succession attempts made by different bands of gun-toting pirates to hijack a Saudi and a Mumbai-based merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia on Tuesday morning.

    INS Tabar, a Talwar-class guided-missile stealth frigate, was cruising in the Gulf of Aden at about 10 am when it got a frantic distress call from Saudi Arabian chemical and oil carrier NCC Tihama.

    Tihamas call said two to three high-speed boats, with several armed men, were trying to hijack the ship which was headed westwards. An armed Chetak helicopter, with four marine commandos, was immediately launched from INS Tabar, said a senior Navy officer.


    Pirates Of The Gulf Of Aden

    Source: Michael P. Tremoglie,

    Indian navy officials announced yesterday that they sunk a suspected "mother ship" of pirates who captured an oil supertanker last Saturday in the Indian Ocean. The seizure of the supertanker raised fears of countries which depend on the sea lanes around the Gulf of Aden. The pirates made a ransom demand for the ship on Tuesday.

    The seizure was extraordinary in location and size. The raiders, who normally operate in the Gulf of Aden, ventured into the Indian Ocean and seized their largest prize yet, the Saudi Arabian oil supertanker the MV Sirius Star and its 25 crew members.

    The Saudi Aramco oil company owns the Liberian flagged vessel, which is carrying a cargo of crude oil worth about $100 million. The attack took place farther from the coast than any before - some 450 nautical miles off the coast of Kenya.

    Piracy is not new in this region. But this attack has caused the international community and international organizations to respond to the threat as never before.

    One such entity is the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). A branch of the International Chamber of Commerce, it was established in 1981 to combat maritime crime. Piracy is a main area of interest. It established the Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC), headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1992.


    Always Remember

    John Finn's Message to America following
    the Attack on the US

    US Navy Medal of Honor, World War II

    On December 7, 1941 I was only a short distance from Pearl Harbor at Kaneohe Bay. In fact, our base was hit five minutes before the first bombs began dropping on Pearl Harbor. I was at home with my wife when Japanese Zeroes began strafing our airstrip, and by the time I got there all hell had broken loose. Our hangers were burning, our planes were exploding where they sat, and men were dying. I was so mad, I didn't have time to be afraid. I grabbed a machine gun and began shooting back at the enemy. To this day, I don't know if I shot anything down. I've always said its damn near impossible to shoot a moving airplane down with a machine gun on the ground. Whether I shot any of the enemy down or not isn't as important as the fact that at least, I fought back. I knew that no matter what, the men who were doing what those enemy pilots were doing, wasn't going to go unpunished, either by myself on that day, or by our country in the future.

    On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 I was only 55 miles from New York City, traveling to Boston to be with my brothers in the Medal of Honor Society for our annual reunion. This time I wasn't in a position to fight back, and like the rest of our country had to stand helplessly in the distance while a new enemy killed American citizens.


    Arlington at Christmas

    Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.

    Know the line has held, your job is done.

    Rest easy, sleep well.

    Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.

    Peace, peace, and farewell...


    Readers may be interested to know that these wreaths - some 5,000 - are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine. The owner, Merrill Worcester, not only provides the wreaths, but covers the trucking expense as well. He's done this since 1992. A wonderful guy. Most years, groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to DC with this event to help out. Making this even more remarkable is the fact that Harrington is in one the poorest parts of the state.

    The Christmas season is a time to remember when a few bold men became the first American overseas covert warriors in modern times, Out numbered 200 to 1 and yet with the spirit of Christmas behind them on a Christmas day in 1941 as the only American unit actively engaged in combat had there biggest victory of their war... they were the 1st American volunteer group.

    The 1st American Volunteer Group were organized, deployed and trained via a very classified and sensitive Presidential directive before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941I It would become famous as the Flying Tigers. The group first saw combat on 20 December 1941, 12 days after Pearl Harbor (local time)! The first combat for the A.V.G. occurred over southern Yunnan Province on December 20, 1941. In their first combat, a combination of the First and Second Squadrons, shot down nine out of ten Japanese bombers with a loss of one A.V.G. aircraft. The second engagement brought the Third Squadron onto action over Rangoon on December 23, with the R.A.F. flying beside the Tigers. The total haul of Japs was six bombers and four fighters. The R.A.F. lost five planes and pilots and the A.V.G. lost four planes and two pilots.

    Then, on Christmas Day, two waves totaling 80 Jap bombers and 48 fighters hit Rangoon. The A.V.G. knocked down 23 of them, the biggest victory of the war, with six more Jap planes believed shot down over the Gulf of Martaban. The A.V.G. suffered not the loss of a single plane.

    This Christmas Day action achieved notable success during the lowest period of the war for U.S. and Allied Forces, giving hope to Americans that they would eventually succeed against the Japanese. The Tigers were credited with destroying almost 300 aircraft while losing only 14 pilots on combat missions... They're always to be remembered and honored for their first MOST Secret Covert American force and their exploits . To see them as they were first introduced to us all as show to Americans 67 years ago by LIFE MAGAZINE back in 1942 -



    Jay of "Chez Jay" dies at 82

    Jay Fiondella, colorful owner of the Chez Jay restaurant in Santa Monica, died November 6, 2008 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 82. Jay's small, casual "joint" is known worldwide as a magnet for celebrities and is still going strong nearly a half-century after opening. Aside from his incredible longevity as a restaurateur, Jay was equally celebrated for his exploits as an adventurer, explorer, playboy, treasure-hunter, sailor, balloonist, boxing manager, stage producer and part-time actor. Jay was a pioneering competitive hot air balloonist and was the only balloonist in the Screen Actors Guild in the 1960’s. He was once Cosmopolitan magazine’s “Bachelor of the Month” in 1970. In the 1980’s he located and helped recover lost WWII aircraft buried in the Arctic’s ice famously known as the “Lost Squadron”. He was also part of a team that successfully recovered millions of dollars worth of silver coins from a sunken WWII era ship off the coast of Yemen. As an actor he appeared in more than fifty TV shows and feature films from the 1950’s through the 1990’s. He invariably played bit parts, although in consistently high profile productions. Jay’s credits include television’s Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, Batman, Mission Impossible and Fantasy Island as well as several of the Lethal Weapon films and Robert Altman’s Short Cuts.

    His tiny restaurant was frequented by an endless list of show business icons, many of whom were Jay’s personal friends, including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Marlon Brando, Lee Marvin, Robert Stack, Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Elizabeth Taylor, Johnny Carson, Nancy Sinatra, Clint Eastwood, Michelle Pfeifer, Mel Gibson, Jerry Seinfeld, Sean Penn, Drew Barrymore and countless others. Jay was always protective of his famous customers and forbade any photographers, reporters or autograph seekers from staking out his place. A Chez Jay staple is its free baskets of unshelled “gourmet” peanuts one of which Apollo 14 Commander Alan Shephard took to the moon and back in 1971. Jay dubbed it his "Astro-nut", proudly showing it off to patrons at his bar until the night actor Steve McQueen nearly ate it. The Astro-nut has quietly resided in a safe deposit box ever since.

    Born Jay Anthony Fiondella on August 6, 1926 in East Haven, CT, Jay served in the Navy in World War II as a Seabee in the Philippines and China. After attending the University of Miami, he moved to Los Angeles in the early 1950’s hoping to become an actor. His first Hollywood roommate was another young struggling actor named Leonard Nimoy. In the early days Jay supported himself by bartending at Sinbad's, a lively restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier. In 1959, he opened his own place nearby and named it Chez Jay as a tribute to his eventual friend Frank Sinatra who ran a joint named “Chez Joey” in his film Pal Joey. A self described “lousy businessman”, Jay’s widowed mother Alice handled the books for the next thirty years while Jay gallivanted from one adventure to the next. Chez Jay is now managed by Michael Anderson, Jay's co-owner.

    Married twice, Jay is survived by his daughter, Anita Fiondella Eck, his son, Chaz Fiondella, his sister Rita Luarte and many nieces and nephews.

    Jay's life will be celebrated at Chez Jay In Santa Monica on Saturday, December 6, 2008 from 2 to 5 pm. To RSVP, call (310) 395 -1741.



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