Special Forces Gear Logo
Monthly NewsletterJanuary 2012 
In This Issue
Dave's Message
Voice of the Soldier
Word of Truth
The Blue Warrior
Combat Survival
Special Forces History
Warrior's Wisdom
Special Product Coupon
Aesop's Fables
Embroidered Items
Featured T-Shirts
Special Product Coupon
Quotes & Jokes
Featured Items
Featured Tactical Gear
Featured Watches
Clichs of Socialism
What Has Really Changed?

Newsletter Archive
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
Customer Comments
I am a Cpl. in the Army and just returned from Iraq. I carried my shotgun all year on my back in your shotgun scabbard, and it worked great! I was glad to have it around several times, and it proved to be an easy way to keep the shotgun handy for the squad. Thanks for your great product, and for your support of our troops!!

Cpl. C.R. [omitted]
36th Infantry Div.

Got the T-shirt....IT ROCKS!!!!

Thanks guys
kelly [omitted]

Dear Sir, The Falcon Chest Harness finally arrived to me at Camp Taji, Iraq. Thank You! It is now set up for fitting over my IOTV and Battle Ready!!!

[name omitted]

(already the guys are asking who to order one from, so you might be getting a few more requests!!!).

Dear SF company.

Thank-you for sending another t-shirt it looks great the boys in the unit will want one when they see it. I'll be sending them right to you.

Thanks again.

Another happy customer
Bob Miller

When I was stationed at Camp Pendleton I was in Weapons Company 3/5. The unit made us t-shirts with the 3/5 logo/emblem/crest, "Consumate Professionals". I was honorable discharged in 1999 and the t-shirt has been long-gone. I searched a couple of web site to find a shirt with the logo/emblem/crest but there was no luck. It didn't take me long to search this site before I found what I was looking for. When the shirt arrived it was better than what I expected. I love the t-shirt and wear it with pride and often. Thank you SpecialForces.com

Most Sincerely,
Bryan P.

Thank you!!!

Your Shirts are the best.


Dear SFG,

Thank you for being so prompt with my order, and the refund as well.

I thought a little constructive thoughts were in order.

The "HRT" boot knife is well constructed. I had to "hone" the edge though, both sides,to get it up to spec.

As for the "GI USMC Combat Knife"......Well, it wasn't really a K-Bar, at least not one that I've ever seen. It read "US", and above that it read "Ontario". No worries though, after I used a ceramic sharpening stone on both the small back edge and the full length edge, I'm quite pleased with them both. Oh, I almost forgot, both were very pretty well balanced.

I'll be purchasing again from you in the near future.

Ed Whiteside

Dear Special Forces

I received my order i have to say that is better than i expected! Thank you and you'll hear fom me soon.


They turned out GREAT!!!!!! Thanks. I will be back for other things.


Thanks Folks. As always you have been most polite and professional. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Jack And Melanie Edgar


OMG! That looks awesome! Is there any logo on the front? Can I buy these off the website? I'm sure a lot of SWCC guys are going to want these!

Thank you,

Amanda Van Every


We love the art work. They are awesome. I'll be ordering mine right after this. Thanks for all the work. I am recommending you guys to all the other battalions and ODA's.



Just to let you know all items have been recieved, fantastic quality as all ways.

Cheers Andrew and best wishes for the New Year.

Dave's Message

 Leadership Demands Honor

  "Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be"
-  General Douglas MacArthur

Honor for a leader requires a personal honor code and adherence to the principles of that code. This means that a leader must have integrity which is loyalty to truth and principles in order to execute his Personal Code of Honor.

"You are remembered for the rules you break"
- General Douglas MacArthur

311 iran ship
Dick Meadows leads the BLUEBOY assault team inside the Son Tay prison compound, 21 Nov 1970

Major Richard J. Meadows a legend in the Special Forces Community lived by a personal Code of Honor. For those of you who do not know him here is a quick bio.

Major Richard J. Meadows (June 16, 1931 - July 29, 1995) was a U.S. Army Special Forces officer who saw combat in U.S. wars from Korea to the Iran Hostage Rescue mission in 1980. He was a pivotal player in the creation of the modern U.S. Army Special Forces.
Meadows enlisted in the Army at age 15. He first saw combat in Korea and was, by age 20, the youngest Master Sergeant in the Army at that time. In 1953, he entered the U.S. Army Special Forces and remained active in them or the Rangers until his retirement in 1977. His participation in the Iran Hostage Rescue mission came after his official retirement.

In 1960, Meadows was one of the first U.S. Army officers to participate in an exchange program with the British Special Air Service special forces unit. Meadows completed SAS training, was an acting troop leader for 12 months, and participated in a field combat operation with his unit. It is widely believed that Meadows' SAS experience helped form the basis for future US Army Special Forces selection, training, and organizational structures.

While assigned to the 8th Special Forces Group in Panama, MSG Meadows volunteered for a tour in Vietnam. At the end of his first tour, serving in the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies and Observations Group, Meadows received a direct commission as a captain on April 14, 1967.
311 iran ship
BLUEBOY Assault Element: Dick Meadows (lower left)

On Nov 21, 1970 Capt. Meadows was the team leader for the initial assault team in the Son Tay prison camp raid (see Operation Ivory Coast). This 14-man team (plus pilots), code-named Blueboy, intentionally crash-landed an HH-3 helicopter right in the middle of the prison camp to achieve maximum surprise. One team member was injured in the landing (broken ankle). The remaining team members executed their mission without further casualties. However, much to Meadows' disappointment, the prison camp had moved all its captives' weeks earlier. The possibility that the POW's were moved was known to CPT Meadows so this was not an unexpected surprise because they had elected to continue the raid on a chance some were still there.

311 iran ship
Capt. Dick Meadows, Leader Assault Element BLUEBOY
In the mid-1970s, Meadows was a key figure in the founding of the US Delta Force special operations and hostage rescue force.
Major Meadows retired in 1977.

In 1980, Major Meadows returned to service as a special consultant and performed a covert reconnaissance of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran prior to and during Operation Eagle Claw, better known as the Iran Hostage Rescue mission. That mission ended in a major accident at a ground refueling point in the Iran desert, and was aborted. Documents found at the crash site compromised both the mission and Meadows' cover in Iran. Under cover as a foreign businessman, Meadows escaped Iran aboard a commercial flight.

In 1995, Meadows was diagnosed with and subsequently died of leukemia. It is contended by many in the Special Forces community that, had the contents of Meadows' military record been disclosed, he would have been awarded the Medal of Honor. However, the majority of Meadows' covert roles in Vietnam working with the CIA's Special Activities Division remain undisclosed.

The statue of Major Meadows at F311 iran shipt Bragg and the Dick Meadows award for Heroism record his legacy to Special Forces and should inspire us all.

Mark Meadows knew his father in a perspective no one else could and wrote about his father recognizing the role honor played in his life.
"How do you get into a man's mind? Where or what is the button that makes him react, and how or why does he think the way he does? To study people you do not need to be a psychologist, just interested. Let's take this guy Captain Meadows for example and look at a segment of his life. The curiosity-what is the motivation behind his actions?

He's been isolated from his family and friends for four months. He lives in a single room billet where he stays most of the time if he's not training or conducting business with his unit. The hours are long by the standards of a normal garrison. But not here, to work well into the evening is a normal and even a welcomed routine, for boredom quickly becomes the enemy. Being a leader of this unit keeps him busy; he has been planning an air assault raid in his head for quite a while. Now the training is in full swing and planning continues. He's gone over the rehearsals in his head time after time. He knows exactly what's needed to execute the mission without incident. He quietly and calmly gives the orders, guiding his unit in the right direction. His intuition is brilliant; a smooth decision making process that leaves others confused while he meticulously and methodically matures the plan. He sees and thinks the "what ifs" that no one else sees. He consults with his peers and subordinates periodically but only to research something he has been thinking about. And without disclosing his ideas, he eases out of the conversation to return to the drawing board in his head where the real plan has been written.

During training he checks on his soldiers and his young leaders. Watching their skills in both combat and leadership development. He allows the small expected mistakes within his parameters of the direction he intends to lead the unit. Like a sheep herder, he watches over his responsibility, the men. His training philosophy: take care of the men and train them the right way that allows personal and professional growth. By doing this a leader secures the success of the mission as well as the survival of the men. "Mission first, men always."" And when the training is done for the day and the soldier has been put to rest, he's thinking and planning for tomorrow. He's studying the drawing board, making the necessary notes. A quick thought of his wife and he drifts off to sleep.

And why, why all the selfless devotion, sacrifice of his time to painfully make sure everything is right?  Who can answer this question? I can. And simply put, the common denominator of everything he does is honor. He has honor. I know this to be true. I've studied it for fifteen plus years, watched, listened and practiced. This Captain Meadows is unusual and I know it, I know it all too well. He's my mentor, role model. He's my Dad. And in 1970 he had a small part in an air assault raid. He's the most unusual man I've ever known and has taught me without teaching. I continue to chase his reputation and I don't mind, it's the best goal I could have.

The greatest reward I've ever received was at a private dinner; just the two of us. I was told by my mentor that he was proud of me and pleased that I had learned the common denominator-honor. That he gave me something very important. He gave me his unquestionable trust. Something he has never given to any other man. Now I'm Captain Meadows and I'm planning the missions; I've learned the secret.

Mark Meadows identifies his father's sense of honor as the focus of all his actions and his life and his Military career appeared to be driven by it.

"Ability without honor is useless."
- Marcus Tullius Cicero

A Personal Code of Honor serves as a guiding light and drives our behavior. We all need a Code of Honor to live by. For our nation it is the Declaration of Independence when I served in the 1st Ranger Bn it was the Ranger Creed. One of the first things required of us was to memorize the Ranger Creed because they knew the importance of an honor code.  As one matures in life we should learn and develop our own Personal Code of Honor it can be from looking at role models, other honor codes, if you were lucky your parents taught you what you needed for your honor code when you were growing up. The best source of truth to formulate your Personal Code of Honor from is the Bible if you can get under the right Pastor Teacher it will take you far beyond any other source available and it covers everything.

All leaders must have a personal code of Honor to guide them in everything they do. It is terribly important that they adopt correct principles because any false or weak concepts will weaken the Leader and could turn the code into a tool of destruction instead of a pathway to success.

A leader should never compromise principle but when it comes to others especially his men he must have flexibility. For a leader it is one thing to evaluate men based on one's Personal Code of Honor but it is a mistake to judge men by it. An honorable leader must be above self righteousness a form of arrogance and when responsible to pass judgment when duty calls it must be done fairly, impersonally and objectively.

"If you examine a man exclusively for his weaknesses and his faults, you will be in danger of neither liking him nor trusting him. Look for his strengths. As a leader encourage him to build on them. Do this properly and from that he'll recognize and correct his own shortcomings. If you have a difficult man with whom you think it is worth persevering, then don't ever get angry with him. Especially don't go to bed angry with him, because that's when the little maggots eat at your brain and you wake up still angry with him and you've lost your objectivity. Worse-you might have adversely affected a good man's career."
- Mark Meadows

One of my favorite Generals was General Thomas Jonathon Jackson famously known as Stonewall Jackson. He lived by a personal code of honor that brought him success and greatness.  Here is a glimpse of the man. This incident  took place shortly before the Civil War while Jackson was serving as Professor of Artillery Tactics and Natural Philosophy at the Virginia Military Institute.

"Why, in the name of reason," he was asked, do you walk a mile in the rain for a perfectly unimportant thing?"  'Simply because I have discovered that it was a misstatement, and I could not sleep comfortably unless I put it right.'

He had occasion to censure a cadet who had given, as Jackson believed, the wrong solution of a problem. On thinking the matter over at home he found that the pupil was right and the teacher wrong. It was late at night and in the depth of winter, but he immediately started off to the Institute some distance from his quarters, and sent for the cadet. The delinquent, answering with much trepidation the untimely summons, found himself to his astonishment the recipient of a frank apology. Jackson's scruples carried him even further. Persons who interlarded their conversation with the unmeaning phrase 'you know' were often astonished by the blunt interruption that he did not know. But if he carried his conscientiousness to extremes, if he laid down stringent rules for his own governance, he neither set himself up for a model nor did he attempt to force his convictions upon others. He was always tolerant; he knew his own faults, and his own temptations, and if he could say nothing good of a man he would not speak of him at all. But he was by no means disposed to overlook conduct of which he disapproved, and undue leniency was a weakness to which he never yielded.

Leadership without honor blunders through life.

"Never give an order that can't be obeyed"
- Douglas MacArthur

"I Love the name of honor, more than I fear death"
- Julius Caesar

I urge you all to adopt a personal code of honor.



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Voice of the Soldier
This section is designed to give you a voice where you can express opinions or give messages. We encourage you to speak out! Send us your commentary, stories, articles, etc...

Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Special Operations Warrior FoundationSpecial Forces Gear is now hosting a special section for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) provides college scholarship grants, along with financial aid and educational counseling, to the children of Special Operations personnel who were killed in an operational mission or training accident.

All profits from these items go to the
Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Learn More about the

Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) >>

Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club


The Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club is a not-for-profit (501c3) fraternal organization. It was formed to provide a fraternal organization for qualified military veterans who have served, or are currently serving, in the Armed Forces of the United States or US Allied Nations.  They support Veterans and Active Duty Members in many different ways.  A few of the many causes projects they support are: mailing over 900lbs of care packages to Active Duty Service Members Monthly to Visiting Veterans Homes to put a smile on a Veterans Face.  Please visit them at www.warriorbrotherhood.com.


All profits from these items are donated to

Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club 


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F-35B Ship Suitability Testing
F-35B Ship Suitability Testing
CV-22 Ospreys in Action
CV-22 Ospreys in Action
Iraq Night
Iraq Night

Word of Truth
Deadly Deception 
The Word Of Truth - Alive and Powerful

By Rev G.J. Rako



Satan has a plan, policy and system of deceiving the world ("Then the great dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who keeps on deceiving the entire world"...Rev 12:9, "and he will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth." Rev 20:3, 20:8 ). He is the ruler of this world (Lk 4:5-7; Jn 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4) and is opposed to God. Therefore, his plan is to deceive humanity with regard to the eternal truth of the living and written Word of God. His plan and policy can be entitled the "lie" for "he is a liar and the father of lies and there is no truth in him" (John 8:44). The Bible is the "truth"; Satan's system is the "lie". As the Word of Truth has many facets so, each must be countered by the lie.


Two aspects of this great lie are Satan's deceptions and counterfeits regarding first, salvation and then the Christian way of life.

The Bible states that there is one way to heaven and a relationship with the eternal God; faith alone in Christ alone. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but, by me" (John 14:6). Now, how many other names can you think of, all of which characterize the lie. Satan in his genius has developed a system to counterfeit God's plan of salvation. We call this system religion. Religion is man by man's own efforts attempting to gain the favor of God. It is a system of works and merit on man's part. God's plan of salvation is grace. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is a gift from God, not of works, so that no man can boast" (Eph 2:8-9).

Once we become believers in Jesus Christ, our purpose is to grow to spiritual maturity and execute the unique spiritual life of the church age. We are commanded to renew our thinking, (Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. II Cor 4:16; and that you be renewed in the spirit of your thinking, Eph 4:23, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. Col 3:10) by growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18), that is to replace the doctrine of demons ("But the Spirit explicitly communicates that in latter periods of time, some believers will fall away from doctrine, giving attention to deceitful spirits, even doctrines from demons. I Tim 4:1) with the thinking of our Lord (Have this thinking in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Phil 2:5).

The Word of Truth - Alive and Powerful

Often we think ourselves too smart to be deceived. If Satan deceived the woman in the garden, (Gen 3:13) he can deceive any of us. God himself created her perfect in every sense of the word. She had a perfect body and a perfect mind. Yet, Satan in the garden was able to deceive this perfect person. If perfection could fall to deception then certainly all of us (imperfection) can be deceived, and yes, we are all being deceived. Only ignorance and arrogance thinks itself safe from deception. Satan's deadly deception permeates all systems of human thought and endeavor.

There is only one way in which we can combat this deception. We must make the Word of God the priority in our lives. ("that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with every deception of unrighteousness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love for the truth with the result that they might be delivered" Thes 2:9-10). The love of the truth is God's answer for our deliverance. This is God's purpose, plan, and will for our lives. Fulfilling the command to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is the only way we will even recognize the lie. We are bombarded with the doctrine of demons all day, everyday. It is on the lips of our family, friends and associates. It comes across the television and the radio. We are continuously being brainwashed to believe the lie instead of the truth. Moreover, in so doing we have become combat ineffective, casualties in the spiritual conflict that rages around us. The Apostle Paul warns us in Romans 12:2-3; "Stop being conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renovation of your thought, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For I say through the grace which has been given to me to every one who is among you stop thinking of self in terms of arrogance beyond what you ought to think; but think in terms of sanity for the purpose of being rational without illusion, as God has assigned to each one of us a standard of thinking from doctrine." We are told to; "put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Eph 6:11). There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death (Prov 14:12). "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa 55:8-9).

Do not be deceived. Do not blame the government or others for the problems in this country, (Therefore, My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge Isa 5:13, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children). As goes the believer, so goes the nation (if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land, II Chron. 7:14). God will heal our land by the choices you make. You can make a difference. The choice is yours. Use your volition to execute the unique spiritual life of the church age, or become a casualty in spiritual combat by believing the lie. There are no accidents, coincidences or tragedies in the Christian way of life, everything happens for a reason. Everything happens for our benefit. Ignorance of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will keep your thinking in the center of Satan's deadly deception. Knowledge of God will break the chains that enslave, Jesus said, "and you shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:32). "and if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).


Contact Reverend Rako >> 


Blue Warrior
Blue WarriorBlue Warrior


Ambush on America


"More young men are killed each day on the streets of America than on the worst days of carnage and loss in Iraq. There is a war at home raging every day, filling our trauma centers with so many wounded children that it sometimes makes Baghdad seem like a quiet city in Iowa". - Dr. John Pryor, U.S. Army Surgeon, KIA Christmas Day 2009


Sunday January 23rd 2011, Lamar D. Moore calmly walked into the Detroit Police Department's Northwestern District station just after shift change, and approached the front desk while concealing a pistol-grip shotgun.


Within moments, he began firing, striking officers with his shotgun at point blank range. The calm Sunday morning at the desk turned into a gun battle in an instant. Moore ambushed the DPD precenct while officers went about their Sunday morning routine.


Commander Brian Davis, stopped into his precenct to check on his officers that morning and get a briefing on an unrelated incident that occurred the previous night. He was wearing his church clothes with a small back up weapon strapped to his ankle. The officers working the desk were going about their business as they normally do on a Sunday morning that is until, Moore approached the desk and ambushed these officers.


Moore had been implicated in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a runaway teenage girl. She escaped Sunday afternoon from Moore's house and police responded, it was after this that Moore shot up the station.


Moore walked into the station and approached the desk. Before anybody could even greet Moore he pulled his shotgun and starting shooting at officers from a distance less than six feet away. Commander Davis, Sgt. Ray Saati, Sgt. Carrie Schulz, and Officer David Anderson dropped to find cover behind the desk. Two of these officers were already struck by Moores shotgun.


Moore took a couple steps back towards the door as officers started to return fire but in an instant Moore charged the desk and leaped over the high counter like something straight out of a Hollywood movie. Commander Davis couldn't believe what was happening, after all it was just another Sunday morning.


Moore was now behind the police desk shooting at the officers. Commander Davis took a handgun from one of his injured officers laying next to him. He then engaged Moore in a gun fight that lasted 37 seconds from the time the first shot rang out at a distance starting out around fifteen feet until the finally volley at each other barely two feet away. Moore stood up and continued to shoot at the officers laying on the floor another officer covered Commander Davis as to protect him and fired upon Moore, until Moore shot him.


Moore approached Commander Davis's position behind a small partition, Commander Davis stood up and greeted his adversary with the desire to nuetralize his threat at all costs. He found himself only a couple feet from the shotgun barrel Moore was pointing at him. The two engaged each other and both were struck by bullets.


Davis, fell back and Moore ran around the partition and continued to shoot Davis. Commander Davis even through a trash can at Moore as he fell back onto the floor. Shortly, after the two fired upon each other Moore fell to the ground mortally wouned.


Four of Detroits finest were laying wounded from shotgun blasts cluchting the will to survive. Commander Davis was huried to a chair in an adjoining office. As officers checked Davis for wounds. They found his hand had been shot up and a finger was destroyed. Then all of a sudden the officer checking Davis for injuries yelled for another officer to help him. They whisked Davis out of the office in the same chair he was sitting in outside to a patrol car.


Davis, still in shock wasn't clear on the need to hurry and wondered why his officers were driving so fast to the hospital. Once in the emergency room the medical staff was frantically working on Davis. He eventully overheard the doctors state to prep him for surgury. Davis, then asked a nurse why was he going to surgery? She replied that he had been shot in the back. He eventuially learns that there was a hole the size of a softball in his back from one of the shotgun rounds.


I am happy today to report that all of the DPD officers and Commander Davis survived the ambush that day in January.


Commander Davis embraced his warrior spirit as his adversary sought to kill him and his officers. That spirit is the cornerstone to survival in an era when more officers are ambushed than in recent history.


I believe strongly that the will to survive is embraced by some officers and nothing more than a statement to others. Tactical self talk can help you in such an ambush and the aftermath. Try living this statement as you patrol the streets of your city "through practice and reputition I will survive and I am in control". Training your mind to battle an ambush provides the necceasrry information that your brain will seek in that short instant your compeled into a fight for your life. Repeat this statement everyday, often until the day you get your retirement watch. The warrior spirit can be taught, and its not the only element needed in combat but its proven to help.  


Time and time again I watch videos of officers being confronted by an armed adversary and they choose dialogue over lethal force. There is an element in many humans that chose flight over fight. The fact is that many police agencies have plenty of officers that will chose not to battle for various reasons. That apprehension clearly gets cops killed, and sadly we then burry that person knowing that the outcome could have been different.


Commander Davis chose to strike his adversary, quick and hard. He didn't hesitate to obtain an injured officers gun, stand up in civilan clothes and shoot as many times as he could at a man wanting him dead. Imagine the confusion as the battle instantly unfolds and then consider how long it would take you to process the information. You must be able to react as Commander Davis did or you may end up on the losing side of this fight. After all, any hesitattion from him that morning most likely would have enabeled Moore to murder those officers laying on the precinct floor injured.


As we patrol the streets in 2012 let Commander Davis and the men and women of the Detroit Police Department remind us that the will to survive is the cornerstone to survival in an ambush that sadly some unsuspecting officer(s) will face in this New Year.


"An Army stronger in soul, will be victorious over the army of lesser"-Greek Army General




Stay safe,

Sgt. Glenn French  



Sgt. French also is the president of the Detroit Special Operations Group tactical training company and founder of the Detroit SWAT Challenge. Glenn is a columnist with www.PoliceOne.com, and his column is the"SWAT Operator".

Glenn has instructed Basic and Advanced SWAT / Tactical officer courses, Basic and Advanced Sniper courses, Cold Weather / Winter Sniper Operations and Active Shooter Response courses and others. Sgt French served in the U.S. Army and is a veteran of the Gulf war "Operation Desert Storm." During his military tenure Sgt French gained valuable experience in C.Q.B., infantry tactics and explosive breaching operations and he served as a Platoon sergeant and a squad leader.

Combat Survival

Back Up Heating during an Emergency


Now that winter is here, most of us have done all we wanted to do or were able to afford to do preparing for the cold weather. Now, we just sit back and see what happens. Did you however prepare for a worst case scenario? More than likely you're answer is "no". I understand it's hard enough just to get through the winter utility bills and for those on wood heat; it's a large enough task to go cut or purchase your wood for the season. But I found a pretty handy and fairly inexpensive way to really heat a large portion of your home in an emergency. Let's say an ice storm hits, knocks out your power for a week. This means no electric heat or cooking abilities. For those on wood this may mean using more wood than you planned on which may lead to a shortage if you didn't buy enough extra... Whatever the case, you need some heat.


You can pick up a Propane Wall Heater at your local hardware and online for under $200, I've even seen them at Goodwill from time to time (By the way if you don't look at Goodwill for survival stuff you're missing out!). These simple machines do not require electricity unless you get one with a blower and some heat up to 2000 sq. ft. But remember, this is a back up heating plan, so plan on something less than half that size, plus you don't want to buy a 500 gallon propane tank to heat your entire home. For those already on gas/propane heat this is a perfect backup option for you since you already have the tank.


For everyone else, just rig up your full gas grill cylinder and you'll get up to 3 days of heat if on a low setting leading to an average temperature of around 65 degrees F. It costs me $12 to fill a standard 20# propane gas cylinder and I normally have several sitting around for various reasons. If I just made sure they were filled up before winter, I personally would have a couple weeks worth of propane. You can typically purchase extra filled cylinders for around $25-$30. The connections for this system are very easy to obtain at any local hardware and should cost less than $20.  


I can't take credit for this system, I was shown it from a fellow firefighter and this has been his primary system for almost ten years. He's a single guy that works long hours so he only uses it when he's at the house which is why it's more practical for him. So, just add this plan to your toolbox and maybe it will be of use sometime down the line. A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. (Prov. 22:3)


About the Author

Jason Hunt is the president of Frontier Christian University and Chief Instructor at the Kentucky River Outdoor & Survival School. You can sign up for their free magazine featuring more articles like this one at www.thewildernessvoice.com 

Special Forces History
Special Forces History311 iran ship
With Charles Woodson


Clyde Sincere, one of the original founding members of the U.S. Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in the early 1950's recollects the training and early staff.


Green Berets Project:  Clyde Sincere Interview 5
Green Berets Project: Clyde Sincere Interview 5

The SOA has appointed311 iran ship Charles Woodson as their  Personal History Project Officer. They have asked me to interview, over time, their entire membership. We have started with this past reunion, in Las Vegas to interview the first group. This coming September 13th through the 17th we will be interviewing the second group. The stories, needless to say, are  incredible!

We are looking for support in this huge effort. So any interested parties can contact me at my email address I can provide additional information.


Warrior's Wisdom

Warriors Wisdom

These words spoken by Abraham Lincoln are as true today as they were then.

"All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined... could not, by force, take a drink from the Ohio... At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring upamongst us, it cannot come from abroad."

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Aesop's Fables



The Ass and the Fox, having entered into partnership together for their mutual protection, went out into the forest to hunt. They had not proceeded far when they met a Lion. The Fox, seeing imminent danger, approached the Lion and promised to contrive for him the capture of the Ass if the Lion would pledge his word not to harm the Fox. Then, upon assuring the Ass that he would not be injured, the Fox led him to a deep pit and arranged that he should fall into it. The Lion, seeing that the Ass was secured, immediately clutched the Fox, and attacked the Ass at his leisure.

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Quotes & Jokes

Mark Twain 
New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions. 
W. C. Fields   I never worry about being driven to drink; I just worry about being driven home. 
Brooks Atkinson 
Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go. 
Bill Vaughan 
Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to. 
Mark Twain 
New Year's Day... now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. 
Oscar Wilde 
Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. 
A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one Year and out the other. 
James Agate 
New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time. 
G. K. Chesterton 
The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.



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Clichs of Socialism

  "IF free enterprise really works, why the Great Depression"


To enumerate the blessings and advantages of competitive private enterprise before most any audience in this day and age is to evoke the protest: "Well, if the free enterprise system is so wonderful, how do you account for the unemployment, bank failures, and prolonged business depression of the early 1930's? Are periodic depressions an inevitable cost of freedom?"   


Free enterprise of course, does not prohibit or preclude human or business failure. Freedom to choose, to exercise one's own judgment in the conduct of his life and his business, permits mistakes as well as growth, progress, and success. Among fallible human beings, it is to be expected that some of us will fail in some of our ventures. Human failure cannot be eliminated entirely, but the harm can be localized. It is one of the advantages of competitive private enterprise that the penalties for failure are levied against those who fail-the damage is not assessed against the whole society-and that the greatest rewards go to those whom their fellows deem most worthy of success. This is self-responsibility, the other side of the coin of personal freedom to choose. To be held accountable for one's errors is to assure the optimum of responsible human action in society. This is the primary reason why the free enterprise system is so much to be preferred over the only possible alternative a system of central planning, authoritarian control, dictatorship, where one man makes all the mistakes, always on the grand scale, and always at the expense of everyone else. The great weakness of socialism is that no one, neither the leader nor any of the followers assumes any sense of accountability or responsibility, someone else is always to blame.


This is why the advocates of central planning and government control are prone to cast the blame for the Great Depression onto someone else-to make free enterprise the goat. . But there is nothing in either the theory or the practice of responsible individualism, with individuals held accountable for their inevitable errors that will explain a major depression such as the one following the boom and crash of 1929. Such massive social upheavals require some other explanation.


If one looks back upon the events and causes of World War I, he discovers that our own government had long been inhibiting free enterprise in numerous major ways. Since 1913, we have had a politically controlled fractional-reserve central banking system capable of irresponsible and uncontrollable expansion of the supply of money and credit-the engine of inflation. And this engine has been used with monotonous regularity in an attempt to finance, implement, camouflage, nullify, or offset the many other costly programs of government intervention.


We have had a steeply graduated income tax to penalize the thrifty and successful. We have had government regulation and control of transportation, public utilities, and many other business enterprises. Much of the more recent legislation giving special coercive powers to the leader of organized labor had its origin during World War I. Especially in the 1920's, we began experimenting on a major scale with farm support programs. We have had wage and hour legislation, tariffs, and many other forms of protectionism and government control. But, most and worst of all was the inflation growing out of the deficit spending of World War I and the Federal Reserve Board's artificially depressed interest rates of the 1920's.


This government promotion of cheap money during and after World War I led at that time to private speculation and investment of resources in unsound business ventures, just as similar policies are doing now. During such a boom period there always is a great deal of malinvestment of economic resources under the illusion that the government can and will keep on promoting easy money-inflation. The continuing Inflation temporarily hides many of the mistaken judgments of businessmen, tempting others to make similar mistakes instead of taking sound corrective actions. With government pumping forth the money, all businessmen are inclined to be borrowers, until bankers eventually find themselves over loaned on bad risks.


The crash of 1029 was strictly a crash of confidence in the soundness of the government's monetary policy-the government's dollar-the shocking discovery, accompanied by great despair, that government interventionism or socialism doesn't work as promised.


Free enterprise can accomplish miracles of productivity, but it is wholly incapable of causing a major boom of speculative malinvestment which inevitable ends in a crisis of readjustment called depression.

The opening question should be restated: "If government control (socialism) is so wonderful, why the Great Depression?"  What happened in 1929, what happens whenever political intervention prices the various factors of production out of the market and leaves idle plants and idle men, must be attributed to socialism-not to free enterprise.



What Has Really Changed?
What Has Really Changed?
  The Federal Aid that's really
 needed is aid to the taxpayer


For forty years the American taxpayer has been pouring out his hard-earned dollars all over his own country and the world.  


The typical American is taught from childhood that you work or starve; your only security is to spend less than you earn; no one owes you anything-you use      


Your own money for pleasure, or save it for security or give it to deserving causes as you please.


But now kindness has been replaced in too many places by pressures... "Pay me what I want or I'll go communist", and people too improvident to provide for themselves by self-denial, expect you to pay their bills by your self-denial.


The American taxpayer, who pays all these bills is being taxed at a higher rate than most of the people he benefits. Experts say we are near, and may have passed, the point where taxes kill American ambition without which there can be no program or growth.


The plain, unhappy truth is that the goose that lays the world's golden egg is being worked to death.



XF2Y-1/YF2Y-1 Sea Dart: A Jet Fighter on Water Skis   


311 iran ship 


Convair's Sea Dart waterborne jet fighter was a brilliant mistake whose time never came



"From the sea..." was a strategic doctrine that might have included jet fighters if the Convair F2Y Sea Dart had succeeded.


The Sea Dart began as Convair's entry to a 1948 U.S. Navy competition for a supersonic interceptor. It was a product of the same design team that produced the delta-winged XF-92A testbed and the F-102 Delta Dagger interceptor for the Air Force.


In the 1950s, a few Navy engineers and planners began to pursue a delta-winged supersonic fighter that could take off from and land on water. Some Navy leaders had doubts about employing supersonic fighters aboard aircraft carriers because of their long takeoff rolls, high-speed approaches and general instability.


It was a time when jet engines were thoroughly unreliable and jet aircraft had not yet fully replaced propeller-driven warplanes. Using open water to takeoff and land was an idea that appeared to offer great flexibility.

"The Sea Dart had a watertight hull and was the only flying boat fighter ever tested in the United States."

In 1951, the Navy awarded a contract to

311 iran ship
The XF2Y-1 Sea Dart pictured during a take-off run in the waters off San Diego, Calif. U.S. Naval Aviation Museum photo
Convair, the San Diego, Calif. company created by the merger of Consolidated and Vultee, to build two prototypes of a single-seat, delta-wing seaplane fighter, the F2Y Sea Dart.



Eventually, the Navy placed firm orders for no fewer than 22 of the planes, including two XF2Y-1 "experimental" versions, four YF2Y-1 "service test" aircraft and sixteen F2Y-1 production aircraft, or, roughly, enough for a squadron.


Fanciful artists' concepts from the period showed squadrons of Sea Darts operating in the open ocean, being fueled and loaded with ammunition by accompanying fleets of warships. A Washington, D.C., newspaper published a drawing of a Sea Dart operating from the Tidal Basin to defend the capital from Soviet bombers. The basin is about three feet deep and in no way suitable for any seaplane, but the image was captivating.


The Sea Dart was not without aesthetic appeal, but in engineering terms it left something to be desired. When Convair test pilot E. D. "Sam" Shannon took the first plane, designated XF2Y-1, aloft at San Diego on its first official flight on April 9, 1953, the Sea Dart was already in trouble.

 Imperfect XF2Y-1

The Sea Dart arrived full-blown in an era when jet engines were unreliable and Navy Westinghouse jet engines, especially the J40 and J46, had more problems than others. The Sea Dart was to be powered by twin 6,000-pound thrust Westinghouse XJ46-WE-02 turbojet engines. However, the XF2Y-1 prototype was finished before the XJ46 was available, so it was fitted with twin 3,400-pound thrust Westinghouse J34-WE-32s. The Sea Dart was badly underpowered with J34s (although they were more reliable than other powerplants of the era) and could not attain its intended supersonic speed. The aircraft made use of hydro-skis, which, as it turned out, provided a rough ride on takeoff and landing and were less effective than expected. When stationary or taxiing slowly in the water, the Sea Dart moved along the surface with the trailing edge of its wings brushing the water. The skis were extended when the aircraft reached about 10 miles per hour during its takeoff run.


A Navy plan for mobile bases for water-borne aircraft began to lag and, in the end, never became reality.


311 iran ship
The lone YF2Y-1 Sea Dart prototype that featured twin skis. U.S. Navy photo
Moreover, the Korean War was going on. The Navy was embarrassed that its carrier decks could not boast a conventional jet fighter with the capabilities of, say, the Air Force F-86 Sabre or the Soviet MiG-15.


The Sea Dart program went through several changes on paper and in fact as the Navy changed the number of planes it wanted from seven to 22 to, finally, just five. Several engines were considered for a production version of the Sea Dart.

For the most part, the aircraft performed well in tests, but the Navy seemed to be unable to decide what to do with it.


The program took a tragic turn on Nov. 4, 1954, when Convair test pilot Charles E. "Chuck" Richbourg was killed in the no. 2 Sea Dart, called a YF2Y-1, as it disintegrated during a low-level, high-speed fly-past with the press watching and television cameras running. Some Americans saw this happen on live television. The crash was the lead item in the day's television and print news.


As a result of the tragedy, the Navy canceled all the production F2Y-1s but stayed with its plan to build one more XF2Y-1 prototype and the three remaining YF2Y-1 service test aircraft.


Improving An Idea


Tests resumed after its makers redesigned the lone prototype XF2Y-1 with a single hydro ski replacing dual skis. An unhappy compromise, the new hydro ski was not fully retractable. Moreover, the wells for the old twin skis had not been faired over. The new single ski had a pair of retractable beaching wheels at the end, intended to permit the aircraft to beach itself. Another aircraft, a YF2Y-1, flew with a new version of twin skis - bringing to three the number of Sea Darts that actually made it into the air.


While the two surviving Sea Darts resumed the flight test program, two more were built but never flown. They were eventually scrapped.

"The sole XF2Y-1 and YF2Y-1, with their differing ski configurations, both demonstrated an ability to operate in waves up to 10 feet high and to fly faster than sound in a shallow dive. It is questionable whether a Sea Dart would have been able to prevail in a dogfight or to maintain supersonic speed in level flight as had been hoped."

311 iran ship
XF2Y-1 Sea Dart takes off from waters around San Diego, Calif., during an early test flight of the aircraft. The aircraft pictured is the first prototype of the Sea Dart. U.S. Naval Aviation Museum photo

Documents preserved at the San Diego Aerospace Museum show that Convair and Navy experts solved one technical problem after another. By 1957, they had a Sea Dart design that would have worked perfectly well in service, although its air-to-air capability remained open to question. By that time, in any event, interest in sea bases and sea-borne combat planes had waned. Moreover, the Air Force F-100 Super Sabre and the Navy F8U Crusader were now pushing the envelope farther than the Sea Dart could ever go.


According to General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecessors, by John Wegg, the Sea Dart logged over 300 flights in 46 months before the Navy discontinued the program in 1957.


The Navy abandoned plans to produce an F2Y-2 version incorporating area rule to enhance supersonic flight and powered by two 15,000-pound thrust Pratt & Whitney J75 turbojets.

Five years later, when the Pentagon's system for naming aircraft was overhauled on Oct. 1, 1962, the F2Y was re-named the F-7A. It was the only naval aircraft to be given a new name five years after it ceased flying. All four surviving Sea Darts are in the hands of various museums around the country.


The Abandoned Relief of
Wake Island

When Adm. William S. Pye took counsel of his fears
311 iran ship
Wrecked U.S. Marine Corps Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat fighters of Marine Fighting Squadron 211 (VMF-211), photographed by by the Wake Island airstrip sometime after the Japanese captured the island on Dec. 23, 1941. The plane in the foreground, "211-F-11" was flown by Capt. Henry T. Elrod during the Dec. 11 attacks that sank the Japanese destroyer Kisaragi. Damaged beyond repair at that time, "211-F-11" was subsequently used as a source of parts to keep other planes operational. National Archives

"Where oh where, is the United States Navy?"

-Tokyo Rose


Within the long list of bad war news coming out of the Pacific in December 1941, one item of good news stood out for the American public. On Dec. 11, 1941, the small Marine and Navy force on the strategic American outpost of Wake Island had repulsed an attempted Japanese amphibious assault, sinking two Japanese destroyers. The gallant success and temporary victory electrified the nation. But that force needed reinforcements fast, or it would be overwhelmed.


In one of his last acts as commander in chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, Adm. Husband E. Kimmel ordered Task Force 14, containing the aircraft carrier Saratoga and under the command of Rear Adm. Frank Jack Fletcher, to ferry supplies and a relief force to reinforce the defenders on Wake. On Dec. 15, Task Force 14 left Pearl Harbor. Three days later, Kimmel was relieved.

"The responsibility of prosecuting the U.S. Navy's war in the Pacific now belonged to Vice Adm. William S. Pye, who would hold the position until Kimmel's permanent replacement, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, arrived. The fate of the Wake garrison was now in the hands of the Pacific Fleet's former Battle Force commander, whose flagship California, and almost all of that command, was resting on the bottom of Pearl Harbor."

Pye's naval career began in 1901 when he graduated from Annapolis. During World War I he was on the staff of the Atlantic Fleet's commander in chief, where he was awarded the Navy Cross for "exceptionally distinguished" staff work (the Navy Cross did not become a combat valor-only decoration until 1942). With a stocky and pugnacious appearance that made him look more like a beat cop than an admiral, Pye was considered one of the Navy's best strategic minds. The question now was would Pye act as tough as he looked?


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The Japanese destroyer Kisaragi, destroyed by Marine Wildcats in the successful first defense of Wake Island. Kure Maritime Museum photo
 On Saturday, Dec. 6, Kimmel, through his intelligence chief Lt. Cmdr. Edwin T. Layton, asked Pye for his opinion regarding an intelligence report about Japanese fleet movement south, possibly toward the Philippines or the Dutch East Indies. Pye stated, "The Japanese will not go to war with the United States. We are too big, too powerful, and too strong." Less than twenty-four hours later and covered in oil after having left his sinking flagship, he was beside Kimmel in the War Plans Office of CINCPAC headquarters watching Japanese aircraft turn the Pacific Fleet into so much burning wreckage.

311 iran ship
Vice Adm. William S. Pye. National Archives

Pye's appointment as temporary CINCPAC shocked Layton, who vividly recalled the admiral's Dec. 6 prediction. Others noticed that Pye, after having dismissed the Imperial Japanese Fleet threat out of hand, had now done a complete about face and seemed to be particularly gun-shy about engaging it, especially when he read any intelligence report containing the words "Japanese carrier." Even so, Pye did not countermand Task Force 14's mission. He also allowed a diversionary attack on the Japanese-held Marshall Islands by the carrier Lexington to continue.


On Dec. 20 (Dec. 21, Wake time), Pye received a report that the Japanese had renewed their assault on Wake, and that one, possibly two, big Japanese carriers were providing support. Two days later, Pye received from Cmdr. Winfield Scott Cunningham, the overall commander on Wake, the message: enemy on island - issue in doubt. Delayed by fueling problems, Task Force 14 was more than 500 miles from Wake. At about the same time, Pye was handed a message from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Harold Stark that read, in part, "Wake is now and will continue to be a liability." He was authorized to evacuate the island. But by then evacuation was impossible.


Fletcher was on the bridge of the Saratogawhen he received his latest order from Pye.

311 iran ship
The Japanese destroyer Hayate, sunk by Marine Corps gun batteries during the initial defense of Wake Island. Photo from History of Japanese Destroyers, Kaigunsha Press

After he read it, he said to the staff, "We're called

back to Pearl Harbor." He then angrily threw his hat onto the deck. The outraged staff officers urged Fletcher to disobey the order. Fletcher refused, believing that Pye knew something that he didn't. The news rocketed through the ship and fleet and was received with curses. Many men hung their heads and wept.


After Nimitz assumed command, Pye was transferred to the States and made commander of Task Force One based in San Francisco, a surface fleet containing the Pacific Fleet's remaining operational battleships. In October 1942, he was appointed president of the Naval War College. He retired in 1944, having never received another operational command.


When President Franklin Roosevelt received word of the fall of Wake Island he called the news "worse than Pearl Harbor" and never quite forgave Pye for his decision to abandon its defenders.

As for the Marine Corps, it never forgave him.


The LAPD was once known as "the world's greatest police department," due largely to its stringent character screening. Back in the era of Sergeant Joe Friday, LAPD candidates were checked out as thoroughly as homicide suspects. Even a casual relationship with any known criminal excluded a candidate from being considered as a police officer.


All that is now history. In a bid to appease racial activists and meet federal decrees, strict screening and testing measures were dismantled. New black and Hispanic officer candidates were hustled into the ranks at any cost. What former deputy chief Steve Downing called "a quagmire of quota systems" was set up, and "standards were lowered and merit took a back seat to the new political imperatives."


It was back in 1981 that the LAPD first entered into a federal consent decree that instituted quotas for female and minority hiring. To meet these demands, the standards for physical capability, intellectual capacity, and personal character were lowered. The result was that many incapable or mediocre recruits--even significant numbers with criminal links or gang associations--were accepted into the department.


L.A. is not the only city that damaged its police force in a headlong rush for "diversity." During the 1990s, Washington , D.C. had to fire or indict 250 cops after a similar lowering of standards, and New Orleans indicted more than 100 crooked or inept cops who had been hired--it was later found--due to "political pressures." Miami had a similar scandal after scores of cops hastily recruited in response to race riots and an immigration surge got involved in robbing cocaine dealers and reselling their drugs. "We didn't get the quality of officers we should have," acknowledged department spokesman Dave Magnusson.


A scholarly study published in April 2000 in the professional journal Economic Inquiry found that aggressive "affirmative action" hiring raised crime rates in many parts of the U.S. In careful statistical analysis of 1987-1993 U.S. Department of Justice data from hundreds of cities, economist John Lott (then of the Yale School of Law, now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute) found that quotas requiring more black and minority police officers clearly increase crime rates. When affirmative action rules take over, he reports, the standards on physical strength tests, mental aptitude tests, and other forms of screening are lowered. The result is a reduced quality of officers--both minority and non-minority recruits end up being less impressive.


Politicians refuse to admit that dropping standards can create problems, but other L.A. authorities are blunt about it. Los Angeles 's police academy, training experts say, can no longer reliably be used as "a de-selector" (to use the P.C.-speak). "I had mediocre trainees, some just plain incompetent. They were giving us trash. I finally transferred out because I didn't want to go out in the field with these kids anymore," explained retired LAPD training officer Jim Peasha. When he got a bad minority recruit, Peasha couldn't drum him or her out, no matter what. "I had some fantastic minority recruits. One black kid was the best I ever had. But I also had one guy who I knew was on drugs and I couldn't get him out. He wound up getting caught working as a guard at a rock [cocaine] house. An off-duty cop!"


Rot protected by race


On March 16, 1997 , black off-duty LAPD officer Kevin Gaines was shot and killed in a "road rage" dispute. Gaines, angry and out of control, had pulled a gun on motorist Frank Lyga and threatened to "cap his ass." Lyga, it turned out, was an undercover LAPD narcotics detective. He drew his 9 mm pistol and shot Gaines through the heart. Only later did he learn that Gaines was also LAPD. The incident made international headlines: "Cop Kills Cop."


Russell Poole, who had a reputation as one of the LAPD's best homicide detectives, was assigned to investigate the shooting. He discovered that Kevin Gaines drove an expensive Mercedes Benz, wore $5,000 suits, $1,000 Versace shirts, and lived his off-duty life in the fast lane of L.A. and Las Vegas nightclubs, a lifestyle he obviously didn't maintain on his $55,000-per-year policeman's salary. Gaines had many credit cards with expenses like the $952 he had dropped just the month before for lunch at Monty's Steakhouse in Westwood, a favorite hangout for black gangster rappers. And at the time of his death, Gaines was living with the ex-wife of gangster rap music mogul Suge Knight--whose own criminal history included eight felony convictions.


It turned out that Gaines, like a significant number of other LAPD officers, was working on the side to provide "security" for Death Row Records, Knight's notorious hoodlum rap music business that was deeply enmeshed in drugs and gang violence. The FBI had been following Gaines, who they suspected was moving drugs and money around L.A. for Death Row. Gaines was shameless. The vanity plates on his Mercedes read "ITS OK IA"--a brash taunt to the department's Internal Affairs department.


While investigating Gaines, Poole was led to another flashy black cop named David Mack. Mack had grown up in a gang-infested Compton neighborhood before being hired by the LAPD. His nearly inseparable friend was fellow police officer Rafael Perez. Like Gaines, Mack and Perez lived large--nightclubs, girls, expensive cars and clothes.


In December 1997, David Mack was arrested for the armed robbery of a Bank of America branch in which he got away with $772,000. He was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison. Meanwhile, Perez's coming and goings--and his astounding number of short cellular phone calls--convinced investigators he was dealing drugs. Following a six-month investigation, he was arrested for stealing eight pounds of cocaine from LAPD evidence lockers. Perez cut a deal for a 12-year prison sentence and talked.


The discovery of these dirty cops became known as the Rampart Scandal, the worst in LAPD history. Perez's confession exposed a group of police officers who engaged in theft, drug dealing, perjury, improper shootings, evidence tampering, false arrests, witness intimidation, and beatings. They cribbed up in bachelor pad apartments for sex parties with hookers. These men were as out of control as the gangs they were supposed to police--in too many cases they were from the gangs they were supposed to police.


More than 30 officers were suspended or fired in the Rampart probe. Hundreds of criminal convictions tainted by links to Rampart cops were overturned. Although it did not receive much attention in the mainstream media, an embarrassing truth was exposed: Many L.A. cops had been corrupted by black gangsters (just as many New York cops were corrupted in another era by the Italian mob). "Rampart wasn't about cops who became gangsters," explained former LAPD deputy chief Downing. "It was about gangsters who became cops."


How did city officials react to this painful lesson? By paying $70 million in settlements. By doing nothing about the P.C. race rules that opened the floodgates. And by agreeing to a consent decree that turned control of the LAPD over to the Feds. The consent decree drained crucial resources from crime fighting--nearly 350 department supervisors were permanently assigned to reporting on the decree, and tens of thousands of hours were spent by other officers on its mandates.


This was salt in the wounds of a department already hogtied by paperwork. After the Rodney King riots, the Christopher Commission (chaired by Bill Clinton's future Secretary of State) demanded that the LAPD investigate every single civilian complaint against any officer, no matter how frivolous. This required three or four supervisors at each division to spend full time on complaint duty. Department investigators often ended up devoting more days to interviewing witnesses about bogus complaints, and meeting P.C. mandates on domestic violence cases, than to investigating crimes. Motivated by the media-fueled presumption that brutality and racism were "endemic" in the LAPD, Bill Clinton's Justice Department also demanded detailed racial data to see if cops were "racially profiling." Not surprisingly, serious felonies rose dramatically during this period in Los Angeles .


Ignoring root causes


Police Chief Bernard Parks fired more than 100 police officers at about this time, citing a wide range of infractions including unapproved off-duty work as security guards at gangster rap functions. Many believe he was quietly trying to purge the department of cops who had gang associations. But officially, the city of Los Angeles never faced up to how it had gotten into this dreadful mess.


One indication is the $250,000 payment to the family of gangster-cop Kevin Gaines that city fathers quietly agreed to in 1999. Race-baiting attorney Johnny Cochran had sued the city for $100 million, accusing Frank Lyga of being an out-of-control white racist officer. The backroom deal, brokered by city attorney James Hahn (now L.A. 's mayor), and approved by Chief Parks (who ran for mayor in 2005), was deliberately shielded from the public and the L.A. City Council.


Lyga's shooting of Gaines had been found justifiable by three board panels. The Police Commission ruled that he acted in self-defense. Yet the city paid off Johnny Cochran to bury the evidence that his client was part of a cancerous knot of minority cops hurriedly introduced into the force without adequate screening, and left there even after evidence accumulated that they were not law-abiding citizens themselves. The city hung Detective Lyga out to dry.


Poole believes that had natural leads been followed, the Rampart miscreants and other incompetent or corrupt officers could have been exposed at least a year before Rafael Perez spilled his guts. Poole had alerted Chief Parks--an African American brought in to generate racial amity after the Rodney King riots--that Rampart Division was out of control, but he was told to limit his investigations. Poole was so distraught, he resigned. "I left because the department literally wanted me to lie and keep things from the D.A.'s office. They knew the seriousness of what was going on, but they did not want to pursue it aggressively. They just wanted to let it go." It was all too embarassing to liberal pieties.


After Rampart blew up, hundreds of experts eventually produced three major reports on the scandal. Each concluded that department standards had been lowered. "But not a single one dealt with the core problem," says Steve Downing. "Where did all these crooked cops come from? How did they ever get hired in the first place? That's the question nobody will address." Because it is politically incorrect.


The core problem behind L.A. 's Rampart, and similar corruption and competence scandals in other police departments, was that politicians insisted on forcing racial minorities into police ranks no matter what. Even now, years after the sour fruits of such efforts have been exposed, elected officials refuse to state out loud the obvious: Institutionalized practice of reverse racial discrimination "allowed persons of poor character to be hired," as Downing summarizes.


At one time in the late 1990s, as many as 25 black police officers in the Los Angeles Police Department were believed to have direct ties to the criminal gangs they were supposed to be stamping out. The problem extended to other police departments in the area as well, including Hawthorne , Inglewood , Compton , and the L.A. County sheriffs. "This is not an LAPD problem," stated one top LAPD official during the Rampart scandal. "This is a black problem."


The local and national press were no braver than the politicians at facing this issue. Despite a supertanker of ink spilled on Rampart stories, no reporters or editors had the stomach to address its causes. Only a few radio hosts broached the truth voiced by virtually every L.A. cop. "The corruption of affirmative action," states Steve Downing, "has been treated as if it never occurred."


The racial no-fly zone


For the past 25 years, Los Angeles has been like Russia under Krushchev: Everybody knows the truth, but nobody dares to speak it. Much as Pravda ignored Moscow meat and bread shortages, the Los Angeles Times has adamantly refused to report on the damage caused by racial demogoguery and quotas. No one dares challenge the party line lest he be punished. "Don't ask me to go there," a city official once told me. "I have a family, a mortgage, a car, and a dog, and I have to work in this city."


Late last year, the Times finally ran a four-part expose on Martin Luther King Hospital in south Los Angeles . A team of reporters spent a year examining the scandalous number of unexplained deaths and administrative peculiarities that led to the closure of the hospital's trauma center and the loss of its national accreditation. One of the conclusions of the series was that the hospital, which may be forced to close completely, had avoided normal scrutiny for the past 30 years due to racial politics. "Why Supervisors Let Deadly Problems Slide," read one headline. "Fearful of provoking black protests, they shied away from imposing tough remedies on inept administrators," read the subhead.


For three decades, nobody would speak the truth about MLK Hospital . The Times celebrated with champagne when its series won a Pulitzer in April--but the paper could have prevented the tragedy by writing two decades earlier. Everybody knew MLK was substandard, that's why folks in South Central dubbed it "Killer King." Alternative publications wrote about it, but the Times and network TV wouldn't touch it. Their refusal to hold incompetent blacks accountable allowed the disaster to compound.


Politically correct reporting on the LAPD has had even more tragic consequences. The media have not only failed to acknowledge the corruption of affirmative action, they have leapt at every opportunity to brand the LAPD as racist, undercutting many dedicated officers, and deeply corroding the force's ability to battle crime.


The tragedy that took place this February 6 is the latest example. A little before 4 a.m., two officers in an LAPD patrol car saw a Toyota Camry run a red light. When they tried to pull the car over, the driver took off. After a high speed chase lasting several minutes, the car left the road and slid to a halt. Disregarding commands to leave the vehicle, the driver then backed up directly at officer Steve Garcia as he exited the squad car's passenger door. In fear for his life, Garcia shot several times as the Toyota smashed into his cruiser.


The car was found to be stolen. The driver--who died from gunshot wounds--turned out to be a black 13-year-old named Devin Brown. Neighbors reported that the teenager had become involved with the local Van Ness Bloods gang, and police stated that he had been at a gang gathering prior to this incident. The media described Brown as unarmed, ignoring how lethal a car can be when used as a weapon.


A mob of politicians and race activists, including inflammatory Congresswoman Maxine Waters, immediately condemned the act as yet another example of LAPD racism. Crowds gathered at the scene chanting "No Justice, No Peace," and waving placards that read "LAPD = KKK" and "Kill The Pigs."


"Children tend to be mischievous," one woman complained at a subsequent protest, "but they shouldn't have to die.... Children do stuff like that all the time." To which an L.A. police officer writing in National Review Online answered, "Children? Mischievous? Devin Brown, God rest his soul, was not out toilet-papering the gym teacher's house. He committed at least three felonies, crimes which might have resulted in the death of a police officer, his own passenger, or some innocent bystander." This same officer later noted that more than 20 U.S. police
officers have been killed over the last five years by suspects deliberately running them over with cars.


Before the investigation into this event even got serious, Mayor James Hahn convinced the L.A. Police Commission to change regulations. A new policy now prohibits officers from firing into moving vehicles. In one more little way, the police have been hamstrung by the racialized fallout of a sad criminal incident.


A presumption of prejudice


Ever since the Watts riots of 1964, the media have pandered to the presumption of prejudice in the LAPD. Black Los Angeleno Eulia Love was shot and killed in 1979 by two cops. One of the officers was black, one Hispanic-Native American, yet they were both vilified as racists. Today, whenever the L.A. media refer to this incident they invariably report that Ms. Love was killed over a $20 gas bill. They always fail to mention that she attacked the gasman with a shovel, or that the hysterical, mentally deranged, foaming at the mouth Ms. Love threw a knife at the officers who responded to his complaint. Race had nothing to do with the tragic demise of Eulia Love, yet thanks to years of politically correct commentary, most Los Angelenos now believe it to be an historic fact that she was a victim of a "racist shooting."


Another notorious case involved Clarence Chance and Benny Powell, two black men who spent 17 years in prison for killing a black L.A. County sheriff. They were freed in 1992--shortly after a spasm of post-Rodney King guilt swept liberal Los Angeles--because it was alleged they had been "framed by the LAPD." The L.A. City Council awarded them $7 million, and the media turned them into international folk heroes, second only to Rodney King himself as symbols of racial injustice in America .


The truth is that Chance and Powell were released due to an expedient and highly symbolic decision by L.A. officials. With Daryl Gates, Mark Fuhrman, and the rest of the LAPD on the roasting spit, nobody dared question claims of an LAPD racist frame-up. It didn't seem to matter that the murder victim was black, or that the eyewitness who identified Chance and Powell was black, or that 17 years later she stuck to her ID.


Upon his release, Benny Powell, now a millionaire, was feted on TV talk shows. He also embarked on a rampage of drugs, rape, beatings, car chases, and shootings. One shootout landed him in the hospital--between two paid speaking engagements. After a brutal day-long cocaine-fueled motel rape of a UCLA student (in which he employed an ax handle as his raping tool), he was finally arrested for good when a witness saw Powell in a field chasing a nude woman with her hands tied behind her as Powell beat her with a stick.


Nobody in the media ever interviewed the UCLA coed except me. I remember her thousand-mile stare, a life ruined, as she explained why she had agreed to go on a road trip with Benny Powell. "I thought he was found innocent," she stated, having read all about Benny Powell in the Los Angeles Times, including what a sad victim and genuine hero he was. Her innocence combined with politically correct lies nearly cost her her life.


The Nazi cops myth


The O. J. Simpson verdict just two years later, which ended with the judgment that O. J. had been framed, was built on the assumption that LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman was a racist. When I wrote a story for Los Angeles magazine on Fuhrman's former partners, none of them, including blacks and Hispanics, believed he was racist. One black female cop who had only praise for Fuhrman begged me not to quote her because, she explained, "it would ruin my career and my life." The Oscar Joel Bryant Association, the LAPD's black officers group, would blackball her. Her kids would come home from school crying that she was an Aunt Thomasina.


In another feature I wrote for the same magazine, about L.A. cops who retired to Idaho , I brushed up against the virulent anti-cop bias of many reporters, which helped form the mindset of the O. J. jurors. So many L.A. cops retire near Coeur d'Alene , Idaho , that they have an annual retired-LAPD barbecue there. Police officers move there for affordable housing, and because it is a hunter's and fisherman's paradise. But that's not what the public was told Mark Fuhrman wanted up there.


The week after Fuhrman moved to Sandpoint , Idaho , the founder of the white supremacist group Aryan Nations, Richard Butler, was quoted from nearby Hayden Lake by every national TV network, wire service, and newspaper. In each interview (a swastika visible over his shoulder), Butler claimed that cops who came to Idaho were racists. The media never questioned the assertion.


I was the only reporter who bothered to fly up to Butler's Hayden Lake "compound" (five small clapboard shacks in the middle of the woods) and ask him about his assertions.


Q: "Mr. Butler, do you know Mark Fuhrman?"
A: "Well, no."


Q: "Have you ever talked to Mark Fuhrman?"
A: "Uh, well, no."


Q: "Has Mark Fuhrman ever visited you?"
A: "No."


Q: "Is Mark Fuhrman a member of your organization?"
A: "No."


Q: "Are any cops members of your organization?"
A: "No."


Richard Butler turned out to be a pathetic, doddering old man. His "followers"--as many as two at any given time--were marginal characters more worthy of pity than fear.


But just before my trip to Idaho, the Sunday New York Times Magazine had run a cover story with a two-page photo of a Hayden Lake cross-burning. Millions of people saw that
picture. What they didn't know was that only five people witnessed the event in person: Richard Butler with his German Shepherd, two of Butler's followers, and the Times photo-grapher and his assistant--for whose benefit the cross had been set aflame in the first place. Mike Feiler, managing editor of the Coeur d'Alene Press, described to me the reporters who had swarmed the area after Fuhrman's arrival: "Every one of them has come in here with marching orders, not to get the truth, but to get the story of white supremacist cops in north Idaho."


The Aryan Nations is a powerless group listened to by nobody. But the Times newspapers of Los Angeles and New York influence millions of people every day. And they rarely pass up an opportunity to lambaste "the racist LAPD" and drive a wedge into the heart of my city.


When diversity trumps truth and justice


Three decades of deplorable coverage of Los Angeles policing--from Rodney King to O. J. to Rampart and now Devin Brown--have left all Americans with a horrific legacy. Today, cops all across the United States battle a foe as destructive as crime itself: the presumption of common prejudice. "You only stopped me because I'm black."


This view has been fanned by a media elite which has made "diversity" its virtual religion. Since the late 1980s, newspapers have mandated diversity management seminars, held multicultural weekend retreats, and hired diversity consultants to remake their newsrooms and reporting guidelines. Editors' salaries are often based on the number of minorities they hire and promote. There are editorial guidelines for racial and ethnic balance in sourcing. Minorities are encouraged to complain about any perceived slights to their particular group, and to challenge the assumptions of "the white male hegemony." At one point the Los Angeles Times put a hiring freeze on white males, and issued highly tendentious style guides to its writers, along with lists of forbidden "insensitive" terms.


Minority journalists regularly circulate petitions demanding that un-P.C. colleagues be chastised or fired. They demand meetings with management to discuss editorial transgressions. The chill that this racial mau-mauing exerts on frank reporting is profound. When someone in the newsroom cries "racism," "sexism," or "homophobia," everyone backs away. Even the most dedicated reporters eventually give up and stop following leads on stories they know will never see print, and could even lead to persecution.


Hence, most of the elite media's sins are now sins of omission--the stories never told. Propaganda, as Orwell said, is in what gets left out. This syndrome extends far beyond reporting on crime and policing. To demonstrate "moral neutrality," terrorists are no longer identified as terrorists at many publications; AIDS is misrepresented as a primarily heterosexual disease in the West in order to show sensitivity to gays; troubling realities that plague our urban underclass, like illegitimacy, welfare dependency, and criminal behavior, are ignored. These evasions cause problems to be mis- and undiagnosed, and lead to millions of misspent dollars and unnecessary deaths.


But the literal life-and-death risks of political correctness are nowhere more visible than in policing. Blind eyes have been turned to the grave risks created by quota hiring, lowered standards, the fomenting of racialized suspicions in the citizenry, P.C. policies toward aliens and immigrants, draconian restraint of officers in the field, the explosion of complaints and lawsuits that shake down officers with claims of harassment and excessive force.


Meanwhile, police-attackers like Sara Jane Olson are often lionized. In 2001, Olson finally pled guilty to her role in placing a bomb under an LAPD squad car in 1975. But the '60s radical had turned "respectable" Minnesota housewife during her years on the run, and generated sympathy from the left-wing aristocracy as deep as the outrage she inspired from police officers. She became one more focal point for the political forces that have long embraced violent outlaws like the Black Panthers and various criminals and gang members when they become locked in conflicts with law enforcement.


These Sara Janes in policy-making positions, activist organizations, law offices, and newsrooms have wreaked more havoc on civic peace and safe streets than any bomb placed under a squad car. Radicals no longer call for people to "Kill the Pigs," they now bring down whole police departments with procedural coups. They turned "motorist Rodney King" (a violent, intoxicated, out-of-control, fleeing felon) into an international symbol of racial injustice, and the 1992 L.A. riots into a political "uprising." They have assassinated the character of scores of officers, and painted the whole department as racist. They have pandered to the paranoia that "O. J. was framed by the LAPD," and turned the indispensable tool of "criminal profiling" into the unacceptable horror of "racial profiling." They shut down the LAPD's Intelligence Division, making it (among other things) impossible for the city to identify foreign terrorists. They have fostered a view of police officers as bullies and oppressors not to be cooperated with. Collectively, the Sara Janes have made it nearly impossible for the LAPD to suppress gangs, control drugs, arrest criminals, or keep the peace. The result is that many neighborhoods (though not the wealthy ones the Sara Janes live in) are run by hoodlums, and thousands of innocents live in fear.


The victims of political correctness


Los Angeles County averages 1,000 murders every year, two thirds of them carried out by gangs. Most of the victims never make the papers (though every charge of "racial profiling" by an ACLU attorney gets headlines). After the Rampart scandal, L.A.'s anti-gang units were disbanded, leaving the gang-directed narcotics trade virtually unpoliced. During the year that followed, crime increased 10 percent, and the murder rate rose 25 percent, while arrests dropped 25 percent. The best cops fled to jobs at more supportive departments and communities.


By 2001, the LAPD was 884 officers short of full strength. Half the cops on the street suddenly had less than five years experience. The remaining veterans continued to leave in droves; at some divisions, 40 percent of the officers were applying for jobs at other departments. The attrition rate was double the hiring rate. Special units were disbanded or cannibalized just to keep officers on the street.


"We have money to hire officers but we can't get them," explained Dennis Zine of the Los Angeles Police Protective League in 2001. Good candidates "won't go to a police department in turmoil. And the message in the recent verdicts is that Los Angelenos are going to believe the gangbangers. There's a 'hang the cops at the airport' mentality." Zine was so appalled by the city's failed leadership that he ran for city council, and won. "The city leaders were culpable for allowing the LAPD to get into a situation where officers were afraid to do their jobs. And they cost the taxpayers millions. They settled every lawsuit. They rolled over and accepted a consent decree. They wouldn't fight for the department."


Local newspapers suggested officers were leaving because they had suddenly found more convenient schedules, fatter benefits, or better retirement packages at other departments. But the real issues driving cops away, wholly ignored by the media, were racial suspicions, absurd constraints, and the hostile complaint system imposed upon the LAPD by politically correct "reformers."


Any citizen complaint, no matter how petty, was required to be fully investigated, a process that could take as long as a year, stalling promotions, raises, or transfers, and blackening an officer's name. For a while, the LAPD was investigating ten times the number of complaints as most departments. Nearly one third of all LAPD man-hours were spent investigating each other. And the gangbangers knew this. By filing a complaint, they could "jam up" a cop--while simultaneously taking another officer off the streets to investigate the complaint.


In response, the LAPD resorted to a "3-12" work schedule. This allows cops to work three 12-hour shifts while taking the rest of the week off. The mass exodus of officers stopped, but no one asked why "the nation's best police department" needed to give its employees four days off every week (one third of them now hold a second job during that time) to make them stay.


This coincided with the arrival of Bill Bratton as L.A.'s new police chief in 2002. The renowned former Boston and New York City chief knew he had to take emergency measures to stanch the bleeding at the department, and he has. By most accounts, Bratton has pulled the department back from the precipice with a combination of good leadership, smart personnel choices, a return to reasonable discretion in the complaint process (reformers be damned), along with some tireless hand-holding with the black community.


The result has been an 18 percent decline in violent crime from the recent peaks. Bratton has won the respect of citizens and officers alike, achieving an 85 percent vote of confidence among the police rank and file. But the LAPD still has 215 fewer officers than when Bratton arrived. A ballot initiative that would have provided funding for an additional 1,260 officers failed to pass last November--in part due to the anti-police attitudes long fomented among Los Angelenos. "The LAPD is struggling to hold off an inferno of criminal activity," Bratton has said of his undermanned force. "As soon as the department puts out one fire by mustering its scarce resources to respond to a flashpoint of violent crime, the violence jumps to a new location."


Despite Bratton's admirable improvements, the LAPD remains on a knife's edge, one politicized incident away from disaster. How will the media and local citizens react to the next "racial incident"? Has anyone learned anything from the disaster of the last decades?


Cops and Gender P.C.
By Erica Walter


An Atlanta courthouse was recently the scene of slaughter as a six-foot-one former linebacker awaiting trial for rape took the gun from his lone guard, a five-foot, 50-something grandmother. After murdering a judge, a court reporter, and a deputy, Brian Nichols allegedly killed a fourth person before kidnapping Ashley Smith at two o'clock in the morning, taking her back to her apartment, and tying the young woman up in her bathtub.


The story ended with a twist: The murderous chaos the first woman allowed to erupt was ended by the second woman, as Ashley Smith in just a few hours managed to gain the man's trust, and then to change his course from violence to peace. The gunman let Smith go and surrendered to the police around noon.


Almost no press stories dared say much about the politically incorrect aspect of this bloodbath: that a 210-pound man charged with a violent crime, who only a week before had been found with metal shanks hidden in his socks, should not have been guarded by a petite grandmother who had been forced to take remedial firearms training the year before. This and other similar stories confirm that, whether anyone cares to admit it, sex differences remain a powerful fact of life--and when ignored in fields like policing can have deadly repercussions.


Take the Rodney King arrest. When an intoxicated King zoomed past California Highway Patrol officer Melanie Singer, she started a high-speed pursuit. By the time he stopped, several LAPD cops had joined the chase and watched as Singer, not a physically prepossessing woman, approached the large, bizarrely acting King with her gun drawn. This dangerous tack was too much for the LAPD cops, who pulled rank, told Singer to "stand back," and took over the arrest. The most experienced officers on the scene became upset when Singer approached King with her gun drawn. They envisioned bad consequences--either an unarmed suspect needlessly shot (as would apparently happen a few months later in a Washington, D.C. case) or (as we just saw in Atlanta) a large criminal taking a small female cop's gun and inflicting mayhem. Or, one other LAPD cop worried, the criminal may lunge at the woman and cause the less experienced officers at the scene to shoot them both in a desperate attempt to save her.


The Rodney King arrest involves many other issues besides female cops, but in Official Negligence, his definitive history of the case, Washington Post reporter Lou Cannon makes clear that the LAPD veterans were legitimately disturbed at Melanie Singer's actions. King's reaction to the fact that it was a female cop barking orders at him was part of the problem. He was disrespectful and sexual: "He grabbed his butt with both hands and began to shake and gyrate his fanny in a sexually suggestive fashion," Stacey Koon of the LAPD stated. The chain of events that followed led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots that raged for six days, leaving 34 people dead, 1,032 injured, and millions of dollars of property stolen and destroyed.


A smaller but also traumatic incident that occurred in Washington, D.C. a couple of months after King's arrest was perhaps a more representative example of the same problem. In the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, whose population includes many poor Latino immigrants, two Hispanic men were drunk and disorderly, according to the initial police report. As they were being arrested by two female police officers, Girsel Del Valle and her rookie partner Angela Jewell, a third man, Daniel Enrique Gomez, became disorderly. As the officers tried to subdue Gomez, a fourth man began to assault the cops, who by now numbered three women and one man. Gomez was not fully handcuffed; he pulled out a knife and thrust it at Jewell. Drawing her revolver while backing away, she ordered him to drop the knife. He lunged at her, and she shot him.


That is not, however, the way other Latinos who were watching the arrest saw things, and they became angry because they thought the shooting unjustified. Some said that they saw no knife and that the man who was shot had both hands behind his back, although they admitted he was walking toward Jewell and using foul language. Within hours, riots broke out in Mount Pleasant and adjoining neighborhoods and continued through the next two nights, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to cars and businesses.


At trial, the police dropped any claim that Gomez had lunged at Jewell with the knife, and the "fourth man" disappeared from the story. Given these discrepancies and the fierce anger of nearby observers, one may suspect that Gomez, who was drunk and probably using foul language, while approaching Jewell, managed both to offend and frighten her, which led to her shooting him, perhaps unnecessarily.


A veteran detective, who asked to remain anonymous, reports having seen similar problems again and again. He points out that very few men measuring five to five-and-a-half feet tall, 100 to 130 pounds, are hired, yet most female officers fit that description and are in danger of being overpowered by big thugs. (A few years ago, the LAPD, in reaction to pressure from feminist groups, even dropped its requirement that officers be at least five feet tall.) "Most bad guys fall into two categories," reports the detective. "Either they show no respect to female cops because they know they can take them, or they fear female cops because they know the women know they can be taken and will shoot quickly."


He also observes that typical men who become cops "have already been exposed to the fist fights, pushing matches, and other physical contact of the job. They also read other men better--the physical stances, clenching of fists, rolling up on the balls of the feet to get ready to fight." Most male cops, but few female ones, have also played contact sports and had some exposure to firearms. They've bloodied and been bloodied by others. He says male cops, in his experience, are also more likely to enjoy gun practice and physical exercise, and more likely to be experienced and competent at the aggressive high-speed driving sometimes required of officers. Conversely, most of the women couldn't carry a wounded officer to safety, though he adds, "Some would try. It isn't a case of bravery or sacrifice. It's a matter of strength."


None of this means we should denigrate the risks and sacrifices made by women police, or that all male cops are excellent.


Another complicating factor in the Rodney King case was a male officer who wasn't in good physical shape, hadn't mastered his baton, and didn't keep his composure once the fight broke out. That only further illustrates the importance of strength, size, weapons proficiency, and mental toughness.


One study of public safety officers found that the women had only half to two thirds the upper body strength, and half to four fifths the lower body strength of male counterparts. Presumably this explains the finding by AEI economist John Lott, drawing on U.S. Department of Justice statistics, that increasing the number of female officers in a police force by 1 percentage point appears to increase assaults on police by 15 to 19 percent.


Women can be amazingly courageous. Ashley Smith's taming of the Atlanta shooter proves that. At one point the murderer told Smith to follow him in her car while he drove a stolen truck. She could have escaped then, but didn't because she feared if she did, he would kill more people.


But when the murderer put his guns down in her apartment, Smith didn't grab them and try to overpower him, tough-guy style. Instead of using the classic masculine virtues, she used the classic feminine ones. She listened to him, cooked him breakfast, opened up her heart and persuaded him to open up his.


She encouraged him by telling him she had faith in his ability to make amends for the wrongs he'd committed, and she urged him to improve his life. The hope Smith held out for him was not that some judge would let him off, but that once he was in prison he could share the Christian faith he and Smith had in common, with other inmates. It was Smith's "gentle" virtues--and perhaps that they were displayed by a woman--that made this violent man willing to drop his guard and act right.


These same virtues are why women are often excellent police officers outside of the aspects of the job that involve violence and physical confrontation. As policing expert and former TAE editor Eli Lehrer points out:


Policing is fundamentally a helping profession, and the non-violent parts of the job involve talking with people and human relations--things that women are generally better at than men. For some crimes, like domestic violence, women are better at dealing with it in almost all cases. Women also do a better job building cases based on detailed evidence, like solving car break-ins. Male cops are perpetrators in 95 percent of police bribery cases. They're not as good at report writing (the key to getting bad guys locked up). Good departments, therefore, need both male and female officers.


The key, then, is for police forces to respect the reality that male and female officers are not interchangeable. The real-world results of pretending are ugly. They can be seen on the Atlanta videotape showing Brian Nichols smashing a grandmother's head on the courthouse floor, sending her to the hospital in critical condition before he sends four more victims to the morgue.


Our refusal to acknowledge differences between men and women, and the ways those differences affect our social interactions, can be called many things. Just don't call it progress for women.


Erica Walter is a mother and writer in Alexandria, Virginia.   

Prosthetics: State of the Art and Beyond

311 iran ship
The prosthetic legs of a Paralympic Military Sports Camp participant frame U.S. Navy volunteers at Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Calif., Oct. 5, 2010. Prosthetics today have progressed far beyond the state of the art a decade ago. DoD photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza, U.S. Navy

In the past few years, increased funding and effort have gone into pushing the boundaries of the possible, of going beyond even the most advanced traditional prosthetics to technologies that have long been the staple of science fiction, not clinical reality. These include bone and tissue regeneration, hand and face transplants, biomechanical interfaces (which could provide brain control of prosthetic arms and hands, being able to "feel" objects, etc.), cloning replacement parts using the recipient's own DNA to avoid rejection, and more.


It all began with a change in attitude and perspective among doctors, both those in the battlespace dealing with wounded warfighters in the "golden hour" after injury and those at advanced treatment and rehabilitation facilities in the United States and at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the first stop between combat and CONUS for most severely wounded warriors.

"Early in the war there were issues related to the salvaging of limbs. When we discovered better ways to do that, we got that information to the field to ensure all limbs that can be saved are saved," Dr. Jonathan Woodson, the assistant secretary of Defense-Health Affairs, said. "So the system has done a good job of being a learning organization and improving strategies for care."

Like Woodson (an Army Reserve brigadier general), Air Force Lt. Col. Michael R. Davis, chief of Reconstructive Surgery & Regenerative Medicine at the Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR) - has served as a combat surgeon. His experiences in theater and at USAF hospitals in the United States led him to focus on finding faster and less painful ways to improve both functionality and aesthetics for warfighters with extremities loss or severe damage.


"As a surgeon stationed in Afghanistan, I witnessed firsthand the impact of that on our troops and, back here, I have seen an increasing capability in being able to care for these injured soldiers," he said. "We have a great responsibility to develop techniques and technologies for those in need. And with the conflicts drawing to a close, there will be a heavy emphasis within the military medical community to further those advances.


311 iran ship
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Jordan Pierson climbs a 30-foot rock-climbing wall during a therapy session in the new Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care (C5) facility. C5 is a program of care that manages severely injured or ill patients from medical evacuation through inpatient care, outpatient rehabilitation, and their return to active duty or transition from the military. Prosthetics today must be designed with active-duty personnel in mind, because many amputees are choosing to remain in the armed forces. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Greg Mitchell

"In the past, the standard was to reconstruct everyone,

salvage every possible limb. But over time, as prosthetics have become more advanced and the benefit of a prosthesis has gone up, we have seen many cases where patients are more debilitated than they would have been with primary amputation. That has caused a paradigm shift in the orthopedic and reconstruction communities about how they feel about reconstruction versus primary amputation and prosthesis."


The new prosthetics provide more than just better functionality, added Lt. Col. John M. Scherer, director of the Army's Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine Research Program (CRMRP), they offer the prospect of a return to duty or a far more "normal" civilian life.


"Most prosthetics before were not designed with a highly active 20-year-old amputee in mind. In addition, we now are looking at them from a combat environment requirement, because we have deployed people back into the combat zone with lower extremity prostheses," he explained.


"Outside the military, they normally don't have to be waterproof or sandproof because, if the weather is bad in the U.S. and you have a powered prosthetic limb, you either don't go out or make sure it is protected from the weather. You can't do that in combat, so there have been changes to make the batteries last longer and function in harsh environments - sand, heat, water, exposure - as well as giving them additional functions, such as the ability to go backwards."


CRMRP is working with the Military Amputee Research Program to capitalize on advancements in neural interfaces, nanotechnology, and prosthetic design to improve foot and knee prosthetics, knee prosthetic control, and haptic [touch] feedback. Their coordinated research is designed to improve prosthetic performance through advanced clinical practices and strategies, but also will contribute to the overall advancement beyond prosthetics.


The vast majority of advances during the current conflict have involved replacing amputated feet and legs.

"Microprocessors in the knee have replaced control by the physics of the prosthetic movement. Basically, that makes you fall less and your gait is closer to normal, so you don't injure the healthy limb. From that perspective, there has been a huge improvement in the ability to walk in a normal way compared to how you would have moved prior to these advancements," Scherer said.

"There really has not been a lot of effort in changing the current state of the art for upper extremities - which includes the 'hook' that has been used for quite a while. There are lots of reasons for that, but DARPA's [the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's] prosthetics program has brought a lot of robotic improvements to upper extremity devices and we hope to go into clinical trials soon. Most of the biomechanical neural interfaces to prosthetic limbs also are being done by DARPA. And that is the holy grail - making the prosthetic work with a neural interface, with feedback, so you can actually feel in your 'fingertips' what you are touching and do direct movement."


Advancements in lower limb prosthetics that have enabled many amputees to regain a more normal life also have resulted in a new development that concerns many in military medicine: Warfighters whose damaged feet or legs were saved by advances in battlefield and follow-up surgery asking to have the limb amputated anyway because they believe a prosthetic would give them greater functionality than their reduced capability real foot or leg. Those advances also give warfighters other "positive" arguments for amputation.


"Someone who undergoes primary amputation will heal and get through the process of rehab much faster. Someone who undergoes limb salvage could face 10 or more operations over a period of years before they see adequate healing and rehabilitation - if they ever get to a point of full functionality. So it requires very careful patient selection for complex reconstruction and who we recommend for primary amputation and fitting of an advanced prosthesis," Davis said, but added new options are becoming available. "You can't compare a prosthesis to a natural limb, but you can compare it to a reconstructed limb using techniques such as free tissue transfers and bone grafting."

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Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry salutes former Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. with his prosthetic hand at the Center for the Intrepid on Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Nov. 17, 2008. Prety received the Medal of Honor on July 12, 2011. U.S. Army photo by D. Myles Cullen

Historically, medical research has been an isolated pursuit, both in terms of competition in academia and industry and in a single-issue or application focus, such as brain injuries, orthopaedics, dentistry, etc. In recent years, however, the U.S. Military Health System has sought to bring multiple university and commercial researchers and disciplines together to pursue specific issues but also to share knowledge and find new applications for what works in one area to the needs of another.


Col. Robert G. Hale, commander of the Army Dental Corps' Dental and Trauma Research Detachment (DTRD), spends the majority of his time on issues related to regenerating bone, tissue, muscle, and nerves, including face transplants, and ways to block or kill biofilm, which causes plaque and gum disease in the mouth but also keeps open wounds from healing. Tapping into DoD-sponsored multidiscipline research has brought new solutions to his concerns, while DTRD advances are finding applications in amputation and prosthetics - and moving beyond both.


"Advanced bone regeneration biomaterials, better than our most recent capabilities, could improve patient outcomes with fewer and less invasive surgeries, both for craniofacial and limb salvage. Another advance is adipose fat, which regenerates very quickly. If we can tap into the regenerative abilities we know exist in fat and place that into a wound, it can heal with less scarring and improve mobility anywhere on the body there is movement," he said.

"A follow-on, perhaps starting next year, will be a stem cell-enriched fat. We may not be able to regenerate an arm muscle in the next 10 years, but maybe in 15 or 20 years we can slide a scaffold under the skin, then inject stem cells that will homein on that scaffold and help patients recover better."

"Tissue scaffolds are considered the medical implants of the future. Made of fully degradable biomaterials, they support cells at the site of injury and assist the body in growing new, functional tissue. Once that new tissue has successfully replaced damaged or lost tissue, the body's natural systems will dissolve and recycle the scaffold."

Currently, the cells used in that process are either produced synthetically or taken from the patient's body and processed for application to the wound or transplant area. That process is expected to become substantially more successful with the use of stem cells - unspecialized cells with the ability to transform into specialized cells in the body. Adult stem cells, recently found to be both more plentiful and more adaptable than previously thought, are at the center of many medical research programs.


While those efforts cannot regenerate entire limbs - yet - in combination with bioactive factors and biomaterials, stem cells can form new bone, nerves, and soft tissue (skin, tendons, muscles, blood vessels) to replace damaged tissues and speed recovery. Even if salamander-like limb regrowth does become possible, however, growing a new hand, arm, foot, or leg that would be a true part of the patient's body may have more drawbacks than advantages.


"There are studies under way to figure out how other organisms can regenerate body tissues and hopefully translate that into a human ability to do the same. The answer probably will lie with stem cells, but to regenerate something as complex as a hand is still science fiction," Davis said.

"In another hundred years, will we be further along in terms of that kind of capability? Yes. The problem is, when someone needs a functionalized limb, growing one can cause substantial delay. So even if that becomes possible in the future, the time involved to complete the process may be prohibitive."


Continued advances in limb salvage that return the damaged hand or leg to an acceptable level of function and appearance are seen as the best hope to avoid future amputations. For those who already have lost a limb or future wounded warriors whose limbs cannot be saved, if full regeneration is not a viable option, the ultimate answer may lie in improved biomechanical interfaces and - for hands, at least - transplants, from human donors or using hands cloned from the patient's DNA.


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Rear Adm. Elaine Wagner, director of Medical Resources Plans and Policy Division and chief of the Navy Dental Corps, is shown the advanced features of various prosthetics by Dr. Joanne Smith, president and chief executive officer of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, during a Chicago Navy Week 2011 event. U.S. Navy photo by Valerie A. Kremer
Because a cloned limb would take as long to grow into adult size and appearance as the original, that source for a hand transplant would be a long-term solution, requiring some other approach immediately after amputation. While using a donated hand for transplant appears to offer the best choice, as with any surgical procedure, it has drawbacks, including an average 16-hour operation - twice that of a heart transplant. Finding a match also is more difficult than with a heart - in addition to all the usual blood and tissue match requirements, it also has to match the recipient's age, sex, hand size, and skin color.


"There is a debate over what would make a hand transplant standard care. For a bilateral hand amputee, there is no better way to rehabilitate someone than through a transplant. But what if it is a single hand - either dominant or non-dominant? Those questions are still subject to determination, and whether they are still experimental or part of standard care is still a great debate within the military and civilian medical communities," Davis explained.


"There needs to be great collaboration among the facilities doing these procedures to answer those questions and advance the field. And we are seeing that, with centers coming together and forming groups to answer these questions. We really need to go forth responsibly, not just doing transplants because we can, but because we should. Ultimately, those are patient decisions, but we need to be in the best position to recommend a course of care."


One of those facilities is the Atlanta VA Medical Center and its affiliate, Emory University, where Dr.  Linda Cendales performs hand transplants and is conducting a new VA study tracking transplant patients.

"In my experience, patients report the new hand has been better for them than the prostheses they were wearing," she said. "It's a human hand, not a device. The hand recovers sensation and patients are able to perform activities such as turning doorknobs, holding the newspaper, tying their shoes. It's not a life-saving organ - it's a quality-of-life transplant.

"We have a multidisciplinary team that is patient-centered. Our program aims to provide another option for a selected group of patients and to provide the best options overall for our amputees. If it's a prosthesis, the best prosthesis; if it's a hand, the best-matched human hand."


The other leading option for the future is a greatly improved biomechanical interface - linking the amputee's living tissue to a prosthesis. Some elements of that already are available, some are in or close to beginning clinical trials, some are still in the lab, and, for a few, science and technology have not yet advanced far enough to move them from science fiction to science fact.

One that recently did make that transition is 3-D bio-printing - similar to industrial fast prototyping, where a solid object is built, layer by layer, from special plastics or other materials. In this case, researchers at Wake Forest University have successfully "printed" human skin. While a revolutionary leap in current technology, it may be years from wide-scale clinical use for other body parts.


"Being able to print biological materials, such as skin, will greatly advance our ability to create functionalized synthetic reconstructive tissues. It holds a lot of promise, but bio tissues are complex and much more difficult to synthesize and print than industrial materials," Davis noted. "So I think that capability will come, but not in the near term."


In the meantime, tissue regeneration in vitro, using processed body cells or adult stem cells, may be combined with new titanium bone implants to resolve a number of problems with the interface of prosthetics and human bodies. First on that list is bacteria entering the space where the prosthetic connects to the body; second is the body's tendency to reject the prosthetic as a "foreign body."

Both are being addressed by VA-sponsored research led by Thomas Webster, associate professor of engineering and orthopaedics at Brown University. Webster's team has developed two techniques, which may work together: first, modifying the surface of titanium leg implants to promote cell growth and create a natural skin layer to seal the gap; second, covering the implant connection point with a molecular chain of proteins to hasten skin growth.

"You definitely have a complete layer of skin," Webster said of the process. "There's no more gap for the bacteria to go through."


Improving prosthetics and how they connect to and work with the body, and developing new techniques to replace prosthetics or even avoid the need for amputation are subjects of active and intense research across the DoD, VA, academia, and industry. While spurred by a modern record number of severe combat limb injuries and amputations, it is an effort that will continue long after the last U.S. warfighter leaves Afghanistan.


"The biggest point to all this is we have a responsibility to get the best possible outcome for our wounded service members, who risk their lives every day and many suffer devastating injuries. I've seen these injuries firsthand while stationed in Bagram [Air Base, Afghanistan] and, knowing our current capabilities, realized the long-term outcome was not nearly as good as we could achieve. And they deserve the best outcome possible," Davis concluded.


"Many within the military have the capability to advance these techniques, which in combination with top-level support and funding for this research, creates an environment where we can help them. What this does is create hope for our warfighters, which is one of the most positive outcomes of what we do, that a wounded service member can regain functionality they lost to injury."


This article first appeared in The Year in Veterans Affairs & Military Medicine: 2011-2012 Edition.


China's first aircraft carrier
spotted at sea

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(AP) DENVER - A commercial U.S. satellite company said it has captured a photo of China's first aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea off the Chinese coast.


DigitalGlobe Inc. said Wednesday one of its satellites photographed the carrier Dec. 8. A DigitalGlobe analyst found the image Tuesday while searching through photos.


Stephen Wood, director of DigitalGlobe's analysis center, said he's confident the ship is the Chinese carrier because of the location and date of the photo. The carrier was on a sea trial at the time.


DigitalGlobe, based in Longmont, Colorado, sells satellite imagery and analysis to clients that include the U.S. military, emergency response agencies and private companies. DigitalGlobe has three orbiting satellites and a fourth is under construction.


The aircraft carrier has generated intense international interest because of what it might portend about China's intentions as a military power.


The former Soviet Union started building the carrier, which it called the Varyag, but never finished it. When the Soviet Union collapsed, it ended up in the hands of Ukraine, a former Soviet republic.


China bought the ship from Ukraine in 1998 and spent years refurbishing it. It had no engines, weaponry or navigation systems when China acquired it.


China has said the carrier is intended for research and training, which has led to speculation that it plans to build future copies.


China initially said little about its plans for the carrier but has been more open in recent years, said Bonnie S. Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"It wasn't until the Chinese actually announced they were sending it out on a trial run they admitted, `Yes, we are actually launching a carrier,"' she said.


China publicly announced two sea trials for the carrier that occurred this year, she said.

The carrier's progress is in line with the U.S. military's expectations, said Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Defense Department spokeswoman.


A Defense Department report to Congress this year said the carrier could become operationally available to the Chinese navy by the end of next year but without aircraft.


"From that point, it will take several additional years before the carrier has an operationally viable air group," Hull-Ryde said in an email.


She declined to comment on the DigitalGlobe photo, saying it was an intelligence matter.


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Seals tell of killing 'Bert' Laden Upset by the official account, US Navy Seals commandos reveal the truth of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, nicknames and all.

Osama Bin Laden was killed within 90 seconds of the US Navy Seals landing in his compound and not after a protracted gun battle, according to the first account by the men who carried out the raid. The operation was so clinical that only 12 bullets were fired. 


The Seals have spoken out because they were angered at the version given by politicians, which they see as portraying them as cold-blooded murderers on a "kill mission". They were also shocked that President Barack Obama announced Bin Laden's death on television the same evening, rendering useless much of the intelligence they had seized. 


Chuck Pfarrer, a former commander of Seal Team 6, which conducted the operation, has interviewed many of those who took part for a book, Seal Target Geronimo, to be published in the US this week. 


The Seals' own accounts differ from the White House version, which gave the impression that Bin Laden was killed at the end of the operation rather than in its opening seconds. Pfarrer insists Bin Laden would have been captured had he surrendered. 


"There isn't a politician in the world who could resist trying to take credit for getting Bin Laden but it devalued the 'intel' and gave time for every other Al-Qaeda leader to scurry to another bolthole," said Pfarrer. "The men who did this and their valorous act deserve better. It's a pretty shabby way to treat these guys." 


The first hint of the mission came in January last year when the team's commanding officer was called to a meeting at the headquarters of joint special operations command. The meeting was held in a soundproof bunker three story's below ground with his boss, Admiral William McRaven, and a CIA officer. 


They told him a walled compound in Pakistan had been under surveillance for a couple of weeks. They were certain a high-value individual was inside and needed a plan to present to the president. 


It had to be someone important. "So is this Bert or Ernie?" he asked. The Seals' nicknames for Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are a reference to two Muppets in Sesame Street, one tall and thin and the other short and fat. "We have a voice print," said the CIA officer, "and we're 60% or 70% certain it's our guy." McRaven added that a reconnaissance satellite had measured the target's shadow. "Over 6ft tall." 


When McRaven added they would use Ghost Hawk helicopters, the team leader had no doubt. "These are the most classified, sophisticated stealth helicopters ever developed," said Pfarrer. "They are kept in locked hangars and fly so quiet we call it 'whisper mode'." 


Over the next couple of months a plan was hatched. A mock-up of the compound was built at Tall Pines, an army facility in a national forest somewhere in the eastern US. 


Four reconnaissance satellites were placed in orbit over the compound, sending back video and communications intercepts. A tall figure seen walking up and down was named "the Pacer". 


Obama gave the go-ahead and Seal Team 6, known as the Jedi, was deployed to Afghanistan. The White House cancelled plans to provide air cover using jet fighters, fearing this might endanger relations with Pakistan. 


Sending in the Ghost Hawks without air cover was considered too risky so the Seals had to use older Stealth Hawks. A Prowler electronic warfare aircraft from the carrier USS Carl Vinson was used to jam Pakistan's radar and create decoy targets. 


Operation Neptune's Spear was initially planned for April 30 but bad weather delayed it until May 1, a moonless night. The commandos flew on two Stealth Hawks, codenamed Razor 1 and 2, followed by two Chinooks five minutes behind, known as "Command Bird" and the "gun platform". On board, each Seal was clad in body armour and night vision goggles and equipped with laser targets, radios and sawn-off M4 rifles. They were expecting up to 30 people in the main house, including Bin Laden and three of his wives, two sons, Khalid and Hamza, his courier, Abu Ahmed al- Kuwaiti, four bodyguards and a number of children. At 56 minutes past midnight the compound came into sight and the code "Palm Beach" signaled three minutes to landing. 


Razor 1 hovered above the main house, a three-storey building where Bin Laden lived on the top floor. Twelve Seals abseiled the 5ft-6ft down onto the roof and then jumped to a third-floor patio, where they kicked in the windows and entered. 


The first person the Seals encountered was a terrified woman, Bin Laden's third wife, Khaira, who ran into the hall. Blinded by a searing white strobe light they shone at her, she stumbled back. A Seal grabbed her by the arm and threw her to the floor. 


Bin Laden's bedroom was along a short hall. The door opened; he popped out and then slammed the door shut. "Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo," radioed one Seal, meaning "eyes on target". 


At the same time lights came on from the floor below and Bin Laden's son Khalid came running up the stairs towards the Seals. He was shot dead. 


Two Seals kicked in Bin Laden's door. The room, they later recalled, "smelt like old clothing, like a guest bedroom in a grandmother's house". Inside was the Al-Qaeda leader and his youngest wife, Amal, who was screaming as he pushed her in front of him. 


"No, no, don't do this!" she shouted as her husband reached across the king-size bed for his AK-47 assault rifle. The Seals reacted instantly, firing in the same second. One round thudded into the mattress. The other, aimed at Bin Laden's head, grazed Amal in the calf. As his hand reached for the gun, they each fired again: one shot hit his breastbone, the other his skull, killing him instantly and blowing out the back of his head. 


Meanwhile Razor 2 was heading for the guesthouse, a low, shoebox-like building, where Bin Laden's courier, Kuwaiti, and his brother lived. 


As the helicopter neared, a door opened and two figures appeared, one waving an AK-47. This was Kuwaiti. In the moonless night he could see nothing and lifted his rifle, spraying bullets wildly. 


He did not see the Stealth Hawk. On board someone shouted, "Bust him!", and a sniper fired two shots. Kuwaiti was killed, as was the person behind him, who turned out to be his wife. Also on board were a CIA agent, a Pakistani- American who would act as interpreter, and a sniffer dog called Karo, wearing dog body armour and goggles. 


Within two minutes the Seals from Razor 2 had cleared the guesthouse and removed the women and children. 


They then ran to the main house and entered from the ground floor, checking the rooms. One of Bin Laden's bodyguards was waiting with his AK-47. The Seals shot him twice and he toppled over.


Five minutes into the operation the command Chinook landed outside the compound, disgorging the commanding officer and more men. They blasted through the compound wall and rushed in.

The commander made his way to the third floor, where Bin Laden's body lay on the floor face up. Photographs were taken, and the commander called on his satellite phone to headquarters with the words: "Geronimo Echo KIA" - Bin Laden enemy killed in action. 


"This was the first time the White House knew he was dead and it was probably 20 minutes into the raid," said Pfarrer. 


A sample of Bin Laden's DNA was taken and the body was bagged. They kept his rifle. It is now mounted on the wall of their team room at their headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia, alongside photographs of a dozen colleagues killed in action in the past 20 years. 


At this point things started to go wrong. Razor 1 took off but the top secret "green unit" that controls the electronics failed. The aircraft went into a spin and crashed tail-first into the compound. 


The Seals were alarmed, thinking it had been shot down, and several rushed to the wreckage. The crew climbed out, shaken but unharmed.

The commanding officer ordered them to destroy Razor 2, to remove the green unit, and to smash the avionics. They then laid explosive charges. 


They loaded Bin Laden's body onto the Chinook along with the cache of intelligence in plastic bin bags and headed toward the USS Carl Vinson. As they flew off they blew up Razor 2. The whole operation had taken 38 minutes. 


The following morning White House officials announced that the helicopter had crashed as it arrived, forcing the Seals to abandon plans to enter from the roof. A photograph of the situation room showed a shocked Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, with her hand to her mouth. 


Why did they get it so wrong? What they were watching was live video but it was shot from 20,000ft by a drone circling overhead and relayed in real time to the White House and Leon Panetta, the CIA director, in Langley. The Seals were not wearing helmet cameras, and those watching in Washington had no idea what was happening inside the buildings. 


"They don't understand our terminology, so when someone said the 'insertion helicopter' has crashed, they assumed it meant on entry," said Pfarrer. 


What infuriated the Seals, according to Pfarrer, was the description of the raid as a kill mission. "I've been a Seal for 30 years and I never heard the words 'kill mission'," he said. "It's a Beltway [Washington insider's] ]fantasy word. If it was a kill mission you don't need Seal Team 6; you need a box of hand grenades."


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