This is the tale of a small pen, one set against a background of larger-than-life real heroes. If you like it, please share it with your friends.
Here is a picture of my lucky pen. I use it for signings of my Thriller novels. A good friend, Norm Jones, then in his twilight years, made it for me. We go back a LONG way and Norm is a paragon of the old American exceptionalism. I once bought an airplane from him on a handshake, sight unseen, but that’s another story.
What’s special about my pen, other than that Norm made it as a special gift? A lot. As a 20-year-old Marine in World War II, Norm was once flat on his face in the sand, pinned down in an exposed position on the beach in Saipan which was being raked by heavy enemy fire.
Our most modern battleship was the Pacific Fleet Flagship USS Missouri (BB-63). On that long-ago day in 1945, the brand new Missouri charged into Harm’s Way. She stood close to shore and laid down a hard rain of 16-inch shells from her Main Batteries on the Japanese gun positions. Norm says he’ll never forget the sound as they passed over his head. He told me you could see the huge shells go over with a cyclic whistling sound and feel the world shake as they exploded on target.
Norm and most of his buddies survived. Later, they were part of the force staged to invade Japan. Over a million casualties were expected. Most in his outfit expected to die, but were spared this fate when our use of Nukes ended the war. Thus it was that the Missouri eventually anchored in Tokyo Bay. The Articles of Surrender that ended the war were signed on her deck on September 2, 1945.
A Soldier Died Today (poem)
Exceptionalism 1945 (World War II)
This clip shows us how it really was ——We MUST NOT forget…but so many already have and so many of our young people have never been informed. Sound On.
Then click on the gun mount.
On April 16, 1945, the destroyer USS Laffey (DD-724) got crashed by seven kamikaze planes and hit by bombs dropped by two other Japanese aircraft. Laffey managed to stay afloat despite fires, inoperable guns, and a jammed rudder, but 32 men died and 71 men were wounded in the attacks in which Laffey fought for 80 minutes against 22 Japanese kamikaze planes and conventional bombers. The ship was hit more times by kamikaze aircraft in a single day than any other ship. The heroic story of her survival due to the efforts of Captain F. Julian Becton and the crew has remained famous until today due to books, articles, documentaries, and the ship herself docked at Patriots Point (Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina). Since 1982, Laffey has served as a museum ship where visitors can view the famed destroyer.
Exceptionalism 2014 (The Arab Spring/Islamic Winter)
Times have changed. We no longer seek to win wars or teach civics classes in our High Schools. Instead of avoiding war except for our own safety and strategic interests, those in power now freely put our troops at risk without Congressional approval for UN-type feel-good reasons, like R2P, “responsibility to protect.”
This article about another exceptional American, Eric Prince, is from the January 24-26, 2014 Wall Street Journal. This unsettling story is about how our best and brightest are giving up on the American Dream. Patriotism is being discouraged, even punished.
Out of Blackwater and Into China
“Erik Prince —ex-Navy SEAL, ex-CIA spy, ex-CEO of private-security firm Blackwater —calls himself an “accidental tourist” whose modest business boomed after 9/11, expanded into Iraq and Afghanistan, and then was “blowtorched by politics.” To critics and conspiracy theorists, he is a mercenary war-profiteer. To admirers, he’s a patriot who has repeatedly answered America’s call with bravery and creativity.
Now, sitting in a boardroom above Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor, he explains his newest title, acquired this month: chairman of Frontier Services Group, an Africa-focused security and Logistics Company with intimate ties to China’s largest state-owned conglomerate, Citic Group. Beijing has titanic ambitions to tap Africa’s resources—including $1 trillion in planned spending on roads, railways and airports by 2025—and Mr. Prince wants in.
With a public listing in Hong Kong, and with Citic as its second-largest shareholder (a 15% stake) and Citic executives sitting on its board, Frontier Services Group is a long way from Blackwater’s CIA ties and $2 billion in U.S. government contracts. For that, Mr. Prince is relieved.”
“I would rather deal with the vagaries of investing in Africa than in figuring out what the hell else Washington is going to do to the entrepreneur next,” says the crew-cut 44-year-old.
Having launched Blackwater in 1997 as a rural North Carolina training facility for U.S. soldiers and police, Mr. Prince says he “kept saying ‘yes’ as the demand curve called—Columbine, the USS Cole and then 9/11.” In 100,000 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, he says, Blackwater contractors never lost a U.S. official under their protection. But the company gained a trigger-happy reputation, especially after a September 2007 shootout that left 17 civilians dead in Baghdad’s Nisour Square.
At that point, charges Mr. Prince, Blackwater was “completely thrown under the bus by a fickle customer”—the U.S. government, and especially the State Department. He says Washington opted to “churn up the entire federal bureaucracy” and sic it on Blackwater “like a bunch of rabid dogs.” According to Mr. Prince, IRS auditors told his colleagues that they had “never been under so much pressure to get someone as to get Erik Prince,” and congressional staffers promised, “We’re going to ride you till you’re out of business.”
And so they did. The article makes for a thought provoking read. Here is how it ends:
“Look,” (Prince) says, grasping to end on an optimistic note, “America can pull its head out at any time. That happens at the ballot box. Ballot boxes have consequences still in America.” He continues: “But the American electorate has to actually pay attention, has to turn off the Xbox long enough to pay attention. Otherwise they’re going to continue to elect the government they deserve.”
For the full article, see WSJ.com – The WSJ Weekend Interview with Erik Prince: Out of Blackwater and Into China. Link.
For more, Mr. Prince has written a book Civilian Warriors. I also recommend the book Betrayed, about a little-known debacle called “Extortion 17” (a few weeks after Obama did his media victory lap for killing Osama, and about a year before Benghazi) that killed most of SEAL TEAM 6. This was the greatest single loss in our SPEC OPS history.
“In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1798
“Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” – Daniel Webster 1837
Note: My next novel, Raven’s Run, planned for Fall, 2014, will feature an old WW II era destroyer, one much like the Laffey, in a supporting role. Several recent novels, including my own Privacy Wars and Brad Thor’s best-selling Black List, feature the “weaponization” of Federal Bureaucracies (IRS, NSA, etc.) to target political enemies.