U.S. Navy Frogmen Diving in the Artic Ocean
June 1963. Three frogmen heading toward the North Pole. I was missing my old swim buddy Jack. Had it been a month? Jack and I went through UDT Team training together. He was one of those guys that things always seemed to go right for – a great swimmer, a fine athlete, light-haired and light-hearted, wiry and strong, an easy-going, handsome Navy swimmer and a very laid back guy. He was raised in Florida and very much at home in the oceans of the world.
We were catching a lift on an ice breaking vessel to a Distant Early Warning Site. The guys up there guard against nuclear missiles that might be aimed at the USA. This ship was bringing supplies to the men who manned that station on 18 month assignments in the frigid north. This was early summer, however, and the ship could almost get into shore — except some icebergs in the harbor still blocked the way. Good job for Navy Frogmen with plastic explosives.
I asked the captain of the Icebreaker to lay over for a while. My men and I leapt into the icy arctic waters wearing dry-suits, rubber mittens and booties inside our long fins and even rubber head gear. Only our faces outside our facemasks were exposed to the ice water. In this way – just for fun — we swam across the Arctic Circle. After swimming for a while, we headed back toward the ship. For some reason I took off the rubber mittens — just for a few minutes. Maybe I was checking my depth gauge or loosening the knife on my belt. But when I tried to climb the rope-ladder back onto the ship, I had to be hauled aboard. I’d lost so many heat calories through my hands in just those couple minutes that I was nearly out of strength. Learn and live.
Hard to believe just a few weeks ago I was in the Caribbean swimming with dolphins, going on deep water Scuba dives with Jack, or blowing up cliff sides on a deserted island. We were practicing making landing ramps for Marines who would want to hit the beach running. One day for some adventure we re-mixed the gas in our air tanks, lowering the oxygen percentage so if we went way down we wouldn’t absorb too much oxygen and get drunk down there – Raptures of the Deep, they call it – and it’s dangerous. Swimmers have been known to take off their Scuba bottles and mouthpieces and hand them to fish passing by. A mile or so off the coast of St. Thomas we swam way, way down 350-400 feet. We found an old wreck and several thick, smoky oval-shaped ale or water bottles that British sailors must have tossed over a century or more before. I still have one.
Just then — in the deep — a huge, but gossamer thin angel fish swam between us. It was big as we were. I could see Jack’s outline through the translucent body of the angel fish, very cool. The Caribbean water is clear as glass for hundreds of feet. You can stand on the deck and see a silver anchor 500 feet below; it’s so beautiful.
On the way back to the surface we had to stop about 20 feet down for about 15 minutes and decompress — letting the compressed air out of our blood streams, back into our lungs and exhaled out into the sea. We’d get the bends if we went right up to the surface after being that deep for that long.
While we were hovering there waiting, a school of yellow sharks swam over and began to circle around us. A shark is a mean looking fish, but sort of stupid. Fish in the sea won’t usually attack anything their size or bigger. Let me tell you, those sharks looked very big to me. Underwater everything always appears about one fifth larger than it really is. Maybe they were just four feet long, but they looked big and strong — and they were sure checking us out. Together with our fins moving we must have appeared to be about seven or eight feet long.
We slid the large metal air tanks off our backs and, wrapping the straps around our right arms, held them as shields before us. Behind us, we gripped each others’ left arm drawing our backs almost together, moving our fins gently to stay in place. Let those ugly monsters circle round and round. If they attacked, all they’d get would be a mouthful of metal – I hoped.
We definitely had each others’ backs covered. I looked around at Jack. The man was smiling. When you smile underwater some ocean water gets inside the face mask and that looks pretty funny. I couldn’t believe the guy was smiling.
Five more minutes seemed like an hour to me. I kept looking at my watch. Finally our time was up and we swam to the surface. Those yellow sharks never attacked. As we got out of the water and climbed up the side of a waiting ship I saw that seamen were holding loaded rifles to shoot at the sharks if they had attacked. I didn’t think those bullets would have done anything at that depth.
Though it’s not so deep as a sunken ship, swimming underneath an iceberg is something you never forget. It’s like a gigantic crystal with the sun rainbowing through the ice in a magnificent color spectrum. Sometimes you can see more underwater than above the surface. I hesitated to blow up this beauty. But the men assigned here needed food and supplies and we had to make a path for the Icebreaker to get to shore.
Being in the arctic during the summer, sunset and sunrise are the same thing at the same time. The sun never goes all the way down. It goes about two thirds the way and then turns back up again; it never really gets dark. It was fun up there. I goofed around with some native Eskimos in their hunting kayaks. They lifted their javelins as if they’d found a strange sea creature coming up out of the water. We smiled and laughed together — the only language that we shared. They invited us to their igloos to meet their wives and kids.
But there was a gnawing in my gut and a vast emptiness in my heart. Just a few weeks back on a Saturday afternoon in the Virgin Islands, Jack had gone with a date to the white sand beach by the beautiful blue waters of Magen’s Bay. A freak thing happened. A white hammerhead shark, a really big one, somehow found its way into this popular swimmers’ beach – hungry, and struck – of all people, my swim buddy. He cried out. His gal and others began to run in to get him. But Jack shouted at them, “No, don’t come in. Don’t come in.” And he was struck again — and again. And killed.
And I wasn’t there to cover his back. Immediately they sent me away to the Arctic to blow up icebergs because my swim buddy was killed in St. Thomas and there was nothing I could do about it. I was already gone when the whole team went out to Magen’s Bay the next day and went into the water with weapons and found that big hammerhead and killed it. They found Jack’s arm inside the shark’s belly with his Rolex underwater watch still on his wrist running just fine.
I’ve been waiting 50 years for what happened to Jack to make some sort of sense to me. It’s not that death is such a big surprise as it used to be. Stunning inexplicable tragedies happen all around the world, probably every day, mixed right in with lots of beautiful stuff. But I’ve never made peace with the terrible way Jack died.
He was a real hero. He refused to let anyone else come in the water to save him. A warrior can be a hero without even going to war.
There’s a cave mentioned in the Book of Genesis, where the patriarchs and matriarchs lie buried, the Cave of Makpela, which means the double cave, the cave inside the cave. The Zohar, the Book of Splendor, says that the Cave of Makpela is the gateway to Eden. It’s where all noble warriors go when they die. This is their gateway home.
Accused of committing war crimes photo: Sean Gallagher
Special Operations Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher is a decorated Navy SEAL, but he is now being accused of committing war crimes. (Courtesy Sean Gallagher)
Glen Collins R.I.P. 1965 – 2016
to: Doc Riojas and Bcc to SEAL email list
Subj: Roger Cook eamil about the UDT SEAL Museum statue at entrance of Bldg.
About the statue on the strand. I am glad it is being done.. I was president of the UDT-SEAL museum shortly after it opened back in the mid eighties. The museum had a paper mannequin of a frogman displayed in the shallow pond at the entrance to the museum on the south side. Back in those days the museum grounds was wide open to the public. We always had problems with people destroying our naked warrior statue.
At the time I was employed by a company only a few miles away. The president of our company was J Seward Johnson of Johnson&Johnson Corp. Seward had a son J Seward Johnson Jr. who had a sculpting studio in Princeton N.J. I contacted Mr. Johnson for a bid on a bronze statue to replace our paper version,knowing it would hold up much better. I took a photo of of Steve Nelson, whom I had just hired. Steve had just left the Navy and SEAL team1.
Steve wore the gear from my war bag accept I used fins and facemask from WW2 to give the statue a broader appeal. The sculpting studio wanted to add additional features to the statue to make it more appealing according to them. I said no several times that the statue had to be exactly like the photo.I traveled to Princeton twice during construction to ensure the statue was exactly like the photo. While the statue was being made the county of Ft. Peirce, whom we were controlled by at the time decided to install a wire fence around the property.
The rubber mold of the original statue is what is being used to reproduce the new naked warrior statues. This will be the third statue of the original naked warrior. The original statue was produced for $30, 000, far less than the newer models! Statue #2 is in Hawaii. We contacted several studios that produce bronze items, but Mr. Johnson’s bid was the lowest. One of the studios was located only a short distance from the museum.
Hershel “Hersel Frog” Davis
“We stretched the rules a bit,” Leveron remembered. “The SEALs had to stay in safe areas, so we declared
any area behind us on a mission to be a safe area.” Davis and his fellow SEALs started going out on missions
with the Bolivians and the DEA, and if questioned where they had been, would make up excuses, such as
they were downtown looking for hookers. stash his web gear under the seats of the helicopter to
avoid the prying gaze of a US Special Forces warrant officer in their area. The man was hated by his own
men who also wanted to go out on missions. Davis threatened to kill the Greet Beret if he ever dropped dime
to MilGroup about his extracurricular activities
Carl Douglas “Pete” O’Dell
R.I.P. 1929 – 2016
Carl Douglas “Pete” O’Dell, 89, 22 February 2016
early graduate of Training in Fort Pierce, Florida
and Maui, Hawaii, and served with
Underwater Demolition Team TWENTY-TWO during WWII.
R.I.P. 1932 – 2016
Don C. Marler has edited Fifties Frog Journal Magazine since the late 2013. It denotes his
love of books and the study of mankind’s diversifies. I own a complete MARLER library of books he has written and published. I am currently investigating a way for him to be awarded a PHD for his works In the preservation of rural history from the LSU school of social studies from which he already has a Masters Degree.
Nick Null Memorial Foundation
email: FoxtrotTangoCharlie: divejob [at] aol DOT com: “My cousin was a good man. “
The Nick Null Memorial Foundation was started by Nick’s Mother Tracy, to honor and celebrate the life of Fallen Soldier Nicholas Heath Null. Chief Null is our hometown hero! Nick was born on March 30, 1981 in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He later graduated from Parkersburg South High School with the class of 1999. Nick Leaves Behind his widow and his three beautiful young boys.
DEVGRU Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EWS/SW/aw/FPJ) CPO Nicholas H. Null was a highly decorated combat veteran with numerous awards including Two Bronze Star Medals with Valor and Exceptional Heroism, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor, Purple Heart Medal, Two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Valor, Two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Two Iraqi Campaign Medals, Two Afghanistan Campaign Medals, Global War on Terrorism (Service) Medal, Global War on Terrorism (Expeditionary) Medal, Combat Action Ribbon (Operation Iraqi Freedom), Combat Action Ribbon (Operation Enduring Freedom), National Defense Service Medal, Presidential Unit Commendation, and numerous other personal and unit decorations.
Burley J. Penninger
R.I.P. 1922 – 2016
graduate of Training in Fort Pierce, Florida, and served with Underwater
Demolition Teams SEVEN and THIRTY during WWII.
West Coast SEAL Reunion 2015
David Michael Collins 1969- 2014 R.I.P.
David Michael Collins, 45, of Virgina Beach, Va., died March 12, 2014.
Born in Williamsport, Dave graduated from Lock Haven High School.
He served for 25 years in the Navy and was a SEAL. Article Photos
During his career, he served in the first Gulf War, the Iraq War and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
He received many commendations during his distinguished career, including the Bronze Star and a Letter of Recognition from Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
After retiring from the Navy, he worked for Blackbird Technologies.
Dave was known by his friends and family as a kind soul who befriended everyone he met. He made everyone feel special and took deliberate care to look after those who were less fortunate in a myriad of ways.
He was a fiercely patriotic man and believed it was his duty to protect the freedoms we all enjoy.
A deeply spiritual and religious man, he was honored to serve his church, Star of the Sea. Dave was an amazing father and husband and taught his children the most important lessons in life – humility, kindness, loyalty and love. In addition to that love for his wife and children, he had a deep and abiding love for his brothers in the SEAL teams and forever had a missing piece in his heart for his fallen teammates.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Children of David Collins Memorial Fund, c/o Navy Federal Credit Union, 1952 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, Va. 23454.
David Michael Collins 1969- 2014 R.I.P.
From: Martin Mapes mailto: martin.mapes@
to:Martin’s SEAL Email list
Subject: Submarine Lockouts in the 1961-62
We did this this lockout while submerged and under way in 1961 or ’62. It didn’t go well because the sub had passed the drop off point before everyone got out. The skipper decided to make a circle and give it another shot. The problem was men were still coming out of the lockout chambers while he was making this maneuver. There were five men in the aft chamber and only two had their heads above water so we didn’t get the word to stop lockuts. Being the youngest, I was the bottom one in an L-shaped chamber. There was a forward chamber also but I can’t remimber how many men it held.That sub scattered men all over the ocean off San Clemente Island. The props almost got me on that one.
As far as special bunks-we had to “hot rack it”. You used a boat sailor’s rack until he came off a four hour watch and then you had to give it up and go look for another empty one. The racks were spaced so close together verically that you could not roll over in the rack. You had to slide out and hang from the overhead, make your flip and slide back in. Todays sailors would think that we were just making up these stories.
SEALs in Vietnam Question
From: Ruth Mc Sween
To: Doc RIojas
Date: Nov 11, 2013
Subject: UDT SEAL Assn inquiry forwarded to you
Kirsten Arnold’s enquiry? Please read her email to the Museum.
Thank you, Ruth
Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2013 7:05 PM
Subj: SEALs in Vietnam QuestionDear Master Chief Kaiser,
As an executive director of the National Navy SEAL Museum, I realize you are extremely busy. However, I hope you are willing to help me with a question.
A little about me; I earned an MA in Naval Warfare from the American Military University. I was the manager of the Oral History program for the Naval Historical Foundation in DC for six years and contracted with them for eight years before moving to DC. I also contract with the Marine Corps History Division working with their oral history program and still contract with them on a case by case basis. Last year, I moved back to my home state of Wyoming where I work at the local museum as a curator and as a oral historian for a local program. I am also a writer of romance fiction.
In my current fiction project, the hero is a Vietnam era SEAL. I want the SEAL in my story to be as authentic and true to the Teams as possible. Part takes place in country and the second half in the States adjusting to life after a career-ending injury. Below are the resources I have used to study the Teams during Vietnam and to get an idea, as much as anyone can without serving with the SEALs, about how these men operated and a bit about their downtime, as well.
If you could point me in the direction of any other sources that would prove valuable to understanding these first SEALs, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you so much for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you.
Resources used to date:
Bosiljevac, T.L. SEALs: UDT/SEAL Operations in Vietnam. New York: Ivy Press,
Cummings, Dennis J. The Men Behind the Trident: SEAL Team One in Vietnam. New
York: Bantam Books, 1997.
Dockery, Kevin. Navy SEALs: A History of the Early Years. New York: Berkley Books,
2001____________. Navy SEALs: A History Part II, The Vietnam Years. New York: Berkley
____________. SEALs in Action. New York: Avon Books, 1991.
Fawcett, Bill. ed. Hunters and Shooters: An Oral History of the U.S. Navy SEALs in
Vietnam. New York: Avon Books, 1995.
___________ and Kevin Dockery.eds. The Teams: An Oral History of the U.S. Navy
SEALs. New York: Avon Books, 1998.
Marolda, Edward. The U.S. Navy in the Vietnam War. Potomac Books, 2003.
Sasser, Charles W. Encyclopedia of the Navy SEALs. New York: Facts on File, Inc.
SEAL Teams in Naval Special Warfare. Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of
Naval Operations. Washington, D.C., 1963.
Vietnamese Commandos. Hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence of the
United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, Second Session on Vietnamese
Commandos, Wednesday, June 19, 1996. Washington: U.S. Government Printing
Walsh, Lt. Cmdr. Michael J USN (Ret.). SEAL! From Vietnam’s Phoenix Program to
Central America’s Drug Wars: Twenty-Six Years with a Special Operations Warrior.
New York: Pocket Books, 1994.
Watson, Chief James U.S. Navy (Ret.) and Kevin Dockery. Point Man. New York: Avon
Young, Darryl. The Element of Surprise: Navy SEALs in Vietnam. New York: Ivy Books,
I would also like to extend my condolences in the passing of Chief Watson. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet the Chief, but through his books and stories I’ve heard, I sincerely wish I could have.
from: Erasmo “Doc” Riojas
Date: 11 Nov 2013
Who is Kirsten Arnold?
NOTE: beware. Book by Orr Kelly has false information !
NEVER FIGHT FAIR book by Kelly ORR. Doc Riojas wrote the publisher and their response was that the book will not be published anymore.
Robert Clark, then HM1 stole Erasmo Riojas thunder.
Every thing he said he did is a a fabrication.
Doc Riojas was THE ONE THAT rescued Bob Christopher and John Brewton and you need to ready the story on the book .
The truth was later written in another book describing this same patrol; SEAL WARRIOR,
by Tom Keith who was also acknowledged by Doc Clark to have been there.
tom was up front like #3 in that patrol. I was #5. Doc Clark was rear security in a column of about 14 SEALs walking in knee deep water in the jungle of the Rung Sat Special Zone Vietnam. Any questions, i will be glad to answer and if you need wit5nesses besides TOM KEITH,
there are several SEALs that were on that patrol still alive.
From : Ruth McSween / Rick
To : Doc Rio
Doc, I don’t know Kristen Arnold. I was contacted by her asking if I could help her with a fictional book project, she’s working on. It deals with a Vietnam era SEAL. Her email about herself and the project is below, if you wish to contact her, her email is kanavyhist <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
SEAL WaRRIOR by Tom Keith
Jeffrey Keith Reynolds R.I.P.
JOSEPH “RED” COYLE
R.I.P. 1934 – 2014
The Arlington National Cemetery burial date for Navy SEAL James “Patches” Watson is Friday April 11th. You must be at the Admin building by 1:15 for the 2PM service. Please feel free to share this information.
Chief Watson is an original plank owner of SEAL Team Two and, as one of the original “men with green faces,” served three tours in Vietnam. For his valor, he earned sixteen combat decorations, four of which are Bronze Stars, all with Combat “V”. His twenty year Navy… career included twenty-five training schools, eleven years on the SEAL teams, including serving as a CIA-sponsored adviser to the Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) Program in South Vietnam. These units investigated and attacked covert communist operations in South Vietnam. He also served with the Vietnamese LDNN (Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai, Vietnamese SEAL counterparts trained by the U.S. in eleven missions into Cambodia.
I am going to say something, and I figure by the time I am done you will drop me off your list like a hot rock. Of all the folk that travelled to see Chief off, only two were in uniform. an SOC and CDR, both from the Pentagon, both told to be there, both didn’t want to be there and had no idea who Chief was.
When the flag was folded it was not a SEAL that presented it to his family, it was the Chaplin. The Chaplin told the crowd that the chief ashes will be left on the stand for a few minutes so that those that wish may leave a parting gift or token. After about 10 minutes the CDR walked up to the stand and just shook his head.
I came up behind him and asked if it is ok, and set my River War Pin on the stand. That was the only anything left with him. Was I wrong? The one thing that several of the folk there talked about, was not who was there, but who was not there.
I am going to say something, and I figure by the time I am done you will drop me off your list like a hot rock.
Of all the folk that travelled to see Chief off, only two were in uniform. an SOC and CDR, both from the Pentagon, When the flag was folded it was not a SEAL that presented it to his family, it was the Chaplin. The Chaplin told the crowd that the chief ashes will be left on the stand for a few minutes so that those that wish may leave a parting gift or token. After about 10 minutes the CDR walked up to the stand. I came up behind him and asked if it is ok, and set my River War Pin on the stand. That was the only anything left with him. The one thing that several of the folk there talked about, was not who was there, but who was not there.
Webmaster’s Note: The majority of the Frogmen that worked with “Jimbo” are either dead, or crippled, or on fixed income. I did not go because I am to old to make the trip from Texas to D.C. without getting there in a world of hurt. My traveling companion works full time.
Arlington National Cemetery burial for James “Patches” Watson, was Friday April 11th
Weather was perfect, Ceremony: dignified and solemn, attendance was adequate.
Family had a copy of “Point Man” signed by attendees.
Bob Gallagher was in attendance. It was great to see him up and about.
His locomotion is a bit unsteady however he remains feisty.
TOM ? find his picture !
Tom graduated UDTR Training with Class 16 on 16 May 1956 at Little Creek and served with UDT-21
Fellow Association Member Bill Baker provided the following information: Born 29 Oct. 1936
o Entered the Navy 1956
o Graduated from Little Creek, Class 16
o Served in UDT 21
o Left the Navy in 1960 and entered the active Navy reserve
o Graduated from University of Houston
o Continued in active reserve, attaining the rank of Commander
o Was a resident of Spicewood, Texas
o He Leaves his Wife Claire, his brother Don, his sons, John and Mathew, and a daughter Anne.
Another son, Luke, preceded him in death.
Christopher Beck, SEAL retired, changed his sex to female.
A former Navy SEAL who identified herself as transgender after 20 years serving on the elite team is fighting claims that she’s became a tool in Pentagon efforts to recruit transgender people.
Kristen Beck was called Chris while she served in the Navy SEAL squad which gained international recognition for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
A recent Washington Times story called her a ‘poster girl’ for recruiting transgenders, noting that she tweeted ‘Transgender service in the armed forces, yes it will happen soon.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2672534/Transgender-woman-served-Navy-SEAL-calls-claims-shes-recruitment-tool-Pentagon-ridiculous.html#ixzz36MOxiph2
Jun 25, 2015
to: Doc Riojas
From: gus <gustaylor AT aol DOT com
Just wanted to tell you that I was with Chris Beck at Firebase Chamkani in Eastern Afghanistan for about 2 months in the spring of 2010. None of us had a clue as to Chris’ internal conflicts.
The only unusual thing I noticed was that he was beyond brave. One night, some of our Afghan Local Police (ALP) were caught in an ambush, with over 40 Taliban firing on them. Chris Beck rallied up one Gun Truck with a 7.62mm Minigun and some SF guys and drove out to rescue the ALP. He did that. We called in some fast-movers and between the jets and the mini-gun, Chris and the SF guys got all the ALP out alive.
I found out later from his family that Chris has had this girl-thing issue all his life, since he was little. Anyway, here is a photo of Chris and me as I remember him. Hope you would all reflect a bit on this, as I have.
Webmaster’s NOTE: Once a SEAL, always a SEAL. Beck wants to be a girl; none of my business.
Len Conti, Class 27 Little Creek
email 10 Oct 2009
Somewhere in your voluminous photo album there is a shot of the UDT
Training cadre dated Puerto Rico, 1966.
Tyree, Blais, Newell, Hammond and others are listed. Also is one
person shown as LT ? (unknown person).
For your info, this is LT Woodaman, Class 27 EC, and USNA graduate.
Don’t remember his first name.
Also, noticed several photos of John Francis Rabbitt. Could not find his bio. Where is he now? Is he still with us? He was in my platoon
(1st platoon UDT 21) for a Med Cruise and a Carribean cruise. First
class aviation tech then. Glad to see he made Chief.
Doc Riojas NOTE: J.F.Rabbitt bio is on the Navy Memorial, the Navy Log. http://elticitl.tripod.com/indexofalltripod.htm Go to these LINKs of my many other FREE web sites. JFR may be in there. You may be in there?
PS: here it is, i found it: http://elticitl.tripod.com/johnnyfrbt.html If you would have gone to my page SEALSWINLOSE the ARCHIEVES you would have run across that link.
We have a ass hole in our DAV post getting Compensation for PTSD– he was a seaman aboard a ship in the far east and a Russian plane was seen flying within eyesight of his ship. He says he still has bad dreams because of the incident.
They are considering giving the Purple Heart for PTSD which will open up another can of worms, it will take funds from other areas where they are really needed- and will degrade the Purple Heart to a so what status
If everyone were honest and above board in their actions and thoughts that would be one thing but too many people lie through their ass attempting to gain compensation for something that never happened which makes it even more difficult for men with real injuries to obtain what is justly due them.
Guys with real PTSD get compensation and help anyway Mostly Army guys Why do some think they should have the Purple Heart?
Back when UDT training was what it was and Tom Blais and Chuck Newell were training instructors. Every man they trained could claim PTS after training but never would ever do it.
I am telling you for real if TB or CN ever looked into your face and saw fear caused by the training you would wish you were dead because they would Give you some personal instruction. If you got through that the PTSD would have never mattered and you would never ever get it because you had already had it and never wanted any of it again.
The thing about their personal instruction is that those who got it behind them and stuck it out could always be relied on to never quit or be effected by tough times– When Blais would get pissed and his face turned red and his eyes dilated and his teeth clenched then he would smile. You knew you were in for something you never dreamed of happening to your little self.
There was one guy in my class the got crossed up with TB someway and when he realized it he ran away, went over the hill, hauled ass. and we never saw him again–and at the time I couldn’t blame him– we all knew he was going to be dead meat and if he came through it he would always be demented.
We had a another guy in my class who had four years service and was a seaman (E3 if you don’t remember). this guy had been stationed on Naval Air bases and had always worked in the gym and weight room, when he went aboard a carrier he took care of the weight room and ran around the flight deck. To look at him you would think he was Charles Atlas.
This guy got crossed up with CN and for a couple of day survived but one day Newell walked up to him and told him he was going to run him to death–This guy was no push over either and the next run we were on he knew what was coming up and faked a pass out, We had just had some class on physiology and the word medulla oblongota (medulla)was mentioned, anyway when they brought him around he told them his medulla oblongota was swollen up and he couldn’t breathe.
Blais and Newell and Wadell went high order then made some of the guys drag him out into the surf and then made the whole class run over him–They said if anyone that didn’t get a Boon Doctor on his ass they would wish they had, and they meant it too!
We never saw this guy again. The Ambulance came and hauled him away then they ran us down the beach and up down ever sand dune until there were guys strung out for miles– then the Jeep got between the pack and the stragglers and that night the stragglers were kept up squat jumping until muster the next morning.
Once you got in deep like that it made every day harder and harder until there was nothing left, you could only hope for a week end so you could recover well enough to make it through the next week. Just sharing memories—
Webmaster’s NOTE: He is one of my best friends. Fred was WIA in ‘nam. He was shot through the femur of one of his legs and damn near lost it. He was medically discharged. He rehabilitated himself while a civilian, and although he had one leg shorter than the other one attempted to rejoin the Navy and was declined. The U.S.Army accepted him and he retired as a Major. He was the foremost knowlegable weapons officer in the USA and is now a Gunsmith in Iowa.
To: Doc Riojas
Date: 24 Dec 2013
Subj: Tom Blais
Doc, I talked to Tom Blais, Jim Cook, and Chuck Newell yesterday. We had good conversations and laughed about old times with the teams and UDT/R. They were instructors when I went through training and they were great instructors.
They all said “Quit, you stinkin trainee”. But I didn’t think they really meant it; so I kept my helmet on and stayed away from that dreaded bell.
I really enjoyed your action packed Christmas letter. I will turn 74 on 29 Dec, Rudy’s birthday is 20 Jan 1928 (he will be 86 but looks 12 years younger), and yours is 14 Aug 1931 (as if you didn’t know; and you look 15 years younger).
Take care and Happy New Year to you and your special family.
In Christ my brother,
Lt. to Rt: standing: Tyree, Sullivan, Tom Blais, Chuck Newell, LT Woodaman, Doc Painter. Sitting: Art Hammond, Jim Cook, Herb Clements, Gene Fraley
Len Conti, Class 27 Little Creek
To: Doc Riojas
SUbj: John Wayne in Puerto Rico
I’m sending you one of my favorite navy memories. If you’ve already seen this story (with attachment), I’ve added to it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR,
Left to Right: The man bending over with his back to us and the other man with sunglasses were with John Wayne, next is Chester Coggeshall, PO1 Bob Auger, Ens Bill Langley (standing on a chair), Doc Meyers (hat), John “The Duke” Wayne, Fud Miller, Chief Gene Gayman, an Army Capt, PO3 Marshall, SN Stein, Jim Zultewicz, an Army Lt, Grossmouth (now a Navy surgeon), and Dwight Plumlee. Tom Winter was also with the UDT survey team but was not in the picture. This picture was taken in 1972 at a beach in Rio Hato, Panama. It was taken about two hours after the completion of a beach survey conducted jointly by UDT-21 2nd Platoon and a Panamanian frogman detachment.
UDT-21 2nd Platoon and a Panamanian swimmer team of about 6 – 8 men were tasked to conduct a shallow water survey of a beach near President Omar Torrijos’ villa at Rio Hato, Panama. The president’s villa and the barracks the UDT detachment stayed in were both located near the beach. The night before the survey, President Omar Torrijos invited the Panamanian officer, Chief Gene Gayman, Ensign Bill Langley, and an Army officer to his villa for a brief visit. President Torrijos, while lying comfortably in a hammock in a screened-in porch, welcomed them to Panama, invited them to have tea, and thanked them for coming to Rio Hato to conduct the beach survey. President Torrijos told them that John Wayne was scheduled to visit with him the next day. We had no idea that the president would tell John Wayne about us, what we were doing, and where we were.
The president’s villa was fairly well guarded. An armed guard was stationed on each side of his hammock and several more were strategically located around the outside of the villa. No doubt there were more armed guards on alert nearby. While drinking tea with the president as he relaxed in his hammock, one Panamanian citizen at a time would come in from a line that had formed outside to express their problems or concerns. After listening to them, he would decide quickly and tell his aid what to do. They would leave after thanking him and the next person would come in. The president appeared to be very concerned and accessible to the Panamanian people in the area.
The next morning SN Stien conducted reveille by riding into the barracks on the back of a 5 foot tall elephant trumpeting loudly, which was an unusual beginning to a very special day. The survey went smoothly with the exception that sharks were spotted about halfway through the survey. The sighting of sharks made everyone swim a little faster so the survey finished quickly and the Panamanian frogmen left the area immediately after all soundings were turned in to the cartographer. During the survey a small plane flew over and someone commented, “There goes John Wayne”. President Torrijos must have told John Wayne who we were and what we were doing because as we were cleaning our gear, a large car pulls up and out steps John Wayne. He was a big man (6’5″) and he was extremely gracious, nice, and friendly toward everyone. He told us that he admired and respected the UDT/SEAL community and the U S military. He had a few beers, smoked a big cigar and socialized with us in John Wayne style for at least an hour.
Remembering the frogman tradition of throwing someone in the water for almost anything, I think it was Stein that said, “Let’s throw him in the water”, to which John Wayne replied, “I’ll bury you boy”. We all laughed and a short time later John Wayne’s staff knew that it was time to leave and move on to take the airplane to their next destination. For that brief hour we all felt like we were on a movie set with “The Duke / Big John”. I wrote to John and asked him to autograph a picture for the UDT-21 hallway. I also sent him a “Freddie the Frog” cigarette lighter. He returned several autographed pictures with a handwritten letter and a Zippo lighter inscribed on one side “M V Wild Goose” and on the other side “Stolen From John Wayne”. The Wild Goose was the name of his private yacht, a converted WWII U S Navy mine sweeper. He was a good man and a generous man. It was an honor to meet him and to know him, if only for a brief time.
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To: Email List
Subj: Tom Blais BUD/S insturctor
Just a short 7 months to our big 50th Reunion at Little Creek, VA!! It was so sad to hear of the passing of Instructor Bernie Waddell last fall, and other fallen include Instructors Fraley, Hammond, Clemens (my best buddy in SEAL Team 2),Bakkalar (sp?), and I’m sure I’ve missed a few.
Anyway, I’ve always felt that Instructor Tom Blais represented the “glue” that held our class together. He sure was the ONE who made sure that I was never allowed to turn in that “Red Helmet”!!
Also, as most of you know, Tom lost his dear son, Rock, in a jump that went terribly bad over Raymond James Stadium in Fla. I had the honor of spending an hour with Rock about a year before his death. I had just completed a triathlon in VA. and dropped into my old alma mater – SEAL Team 2, unannounced! Rock made a point of making me feel most welcome – he was slated to become SEAL 2 next XO when he made LCDR.
All this said, I was just talking to Doc RIO tonight about Tom. Tom is in a Nursing Home in Va. Beach. Master Chief Thomas Blais First Colonial Inn
845 First Colonial Road Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Tom’s private Phone: (757) Upon your request via email to Me, Frank CLeary.
Suzie & I plan to send an Edible Arrangement and call on Christmas Day. How about we all try to give Tom a call on Christmas Day to say Hi and we’re ready to drop for 50 upon his command and also provide transportation for him at our reunion.
Best Wishes and Merry Christmas to All!
Date: On Sun, Dec 22, 2013
To: SEAL Email List
Anybody know Tom’s own class # ?
On Dec 23, 2013
From: “Erasmo \”Doc\” Riojas” <docrio45@>
To: Chris; <frogfather@ >
Subj: Tom Blais Class number
you mean Class Numbers? plural?
I do not know the numbers of his classes: TWO !
Michael Oyer R.I.P.
Chris Cassidy Lieutenant Commander Chris Cassidy was born on January 4, 1970 in Salem, Massachusetts, but considers York, Maine, his hometown. He is married and a father of three children.
Lieutenant Commander Cassidy received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1993 and a Master’s degree in Ocean engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000.
He was the honor graduate of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Class 192 and spent ten years with the SEAL Teams, serving as the Executive Officer and Operations Officer of Special Boat Unit TWENTY in Norfolk, VA; a Platoon Commander in SEAL Team THREE in Coronado, CA; and a Platoon Commander in SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO in Norfolk, VA. Lieutenant Commander Cassidy’s dedicated service earned him two Bronze Stars for leading a nine-day operation at the Zharwar Kili cave complex in Afghanistan – a national priority objective.
Besides making four, six-month deployments to Afghanistan and two to the Mediterranean, Cassidy also volunteered for and completed a week-long, 180-mile charity kayak paddle from Norfolk, VA to Washington, D.C. to raise money and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
In May 2004, Cassidy was selected for the space program by NASA. In February 2006 he completed Astronaut Candidate Training, consisting of scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training. Completion of this initial training qualifies him for various technical assignments within the Astronaut Office and future flight assignment as a mission specialist.
On June 13th, 2009, Cassidy will be one of seven astronauts launched to the International Space Station on Space Shuttle ENDEAVOR (STS-127). This is the 29th mission to the space station, the 10th anniversary of the station and ENDEAVOR’s 22nd flight into space. More…
Navy SEAL headed to ISS: Chris Cassidy will launch to the International Space Station and is only the second Navy SEAL to be selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps. Video couresty of NASA-TV. Posted March 28, 2013
R. William Vogel
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of R. William Vogel, 96, on 01 May 2013 in Cincinnati, OH. Bill was an early graduate of NCD Training at Fort Pierce, Florida and served with NCDU-110 and Underwater Demolition Team SEVEN during WWII. click on the below link for more information:, on 01 May 2013 in Cincinnati, OH. Bill was an early graduate of NCD Training at Fort Pierce, Florida and served with NCDU-110 and Underwater Demolition Team SEVEN during WWII. click on the below link for more information:
R. William Vogel
Campton, Ronald M.
Ronald M. Campton, 80, of Marshall, IL, and former resident of Scottsdale, AZ passed away May 2, 2013 at his home. He was born Dec. 6, 1932 at Washington, IN, the son of Roberta Tabler and Ernest Campton. After high school he joined the Navy, served with Underwater Demolition Team ONE, and was a Korean War veteran. On Oct. 1, 1955
GulfCoast SEALs Christmas Party in Houston TX 4 Nov 2010
docrio45 [at] gmail DOT com
GulfCoast SEALs Christmas Party in Houston TX 4 Nov 2010
Enrico “Hank” Tonga’s Photo Album
Enrico “Hank” Tonga book
These guys, in these photos, are all from UDT 4, I signed up at seventeen in 1946 dischared at Twenty one in 1949; I left UDT 4 in oct. 1949, Some got out and some made the NAVY their career , WhenCook mentioned big JOHN and you talked a bout Scolice I went looking at some pictures I have I thought you might like to see, they are yours my man.
Take care you hear Have a good day Hank
<style=”background: #e4e4e4;=”” font:=”” 10pt=”” arial;=”” font-color:=”” black”=””> From: James Cook <style=”font: 10pt=”” arial”=””>
To: Doc Rio <style=”font: 10pt=”” arial”=””>
Sent: Sunday, February 21, 2010 11:49 AM <style=”font: 10pt=”” arial”=””>
Subject: Who is Hank Togna </style=”font:></style=”font:></style=”font:></style=”background:>
Hank Togna was in class “ALFA” in the spring of 1947; I was in class “BRAVO” in the Fall of that same year .After that they started to number the classes 2,3,4, etc. No one knows who the first “FROGMAN was; who gives a shit! Jim
Enrico “Hank” Togna
Randolph NJ 07869
I wrote the middle of the book first. Let me explain. About 11 or12 years ago a woman named Pam Russell called me from Colorado she and her husband R.D. Russel (who was a SEAL) have this Naval Archives that they are trying to keep U.D.T. history alive and how the SEALs developed. Asking me questions me giving her all the information I could remember writing letters back an forth.
I would give her names that I remembered in U.D.T. to help her gather information. She would ask me questions from the information from them, we were going backwards instead of forward, so I said “look” I will write you a long letter telling you how I got into U.D.T. and out. The letter became a short story. We exchanged about 50 letters each during this ordeal. I never met her. She was very pleased about the story “My Navy Years.”
I can’t type as you can see. I wrote the story long hand and she typed it and sent me a copy.
Then I thought I would like to tell her about my life before I went into the Navy. I asked her if she would type the story, she said she would be glad too, and she was queries to know about me.
After we did “Early Years” I said a story has to have an enging, so I wrote “I finally made it tough all the way” Pam typed it all for me and we still write and E-Mail each other. They are good people.
I volunteered at a Veterans hospital one day a week when I retired for about 15 years. About 10 years ago they had college kids working there during the summer and they earned credits for school. One, of the project was “Veterans History project” they wanted to use me I told them I did not have any war stories to tell, even though I was a veteran, I joined before the deadline of being a veteran was up. They made this interview on this DVD “enclosed” and put together some information for the Library of Congress in Washing D.C. it is about 90% per cent right there is a lot of mistakes, Remember they were kids and volunteers. I never did proof read it. I didn’t know they were doing this until I got a letter about two years later that they did this
I hope you find this interesting
Friday, March 05, 2010
—– Original Message —–
To: Hank Togna
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 8:35 PM
Subject: THank you very much for sending me your book and the DVD
I am in awe that you want me to share your life.
I Not only found your letter and the Veterans History Project interesting, i find it extremely well done.
I am reading between your lines that you are giving me permission to post some of your book on my web site. Am I correct? Thanking you in advance.
Here is your letter to me for your records and rememerances:
—– Original Message —–
From: Pam Russell
To: Hank Togna ; docrio ; jfcph442003 [at] yahoo.com
Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 7:49 PM
Subject: Newest Togna’s pictures are here on page 02 ,www.sealtwo.org
that is so nice of you to write the note about me and how you and I started a friendship so many years ago. I can still remember how fun it was to read your life story and type it up for you, at the same time learning about the people who were most important in your life. It was a privilege and I enjoyed it. And I haven’t forgotten how you send me all that money to thank me for typing for you. Although we’ve never met I feel I know your heart and it’s a good one, solid gold.
Thanks again, Hank. You helped me learn about early UDT on the East Coast, about the very first class and who was in it. I’m forever grateful.
Fondly, Pam Russell
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Doc Rio, I found a new way to write a letter. Look on the back of each picture. You can keep them. They are copys. Enjoy, Hank
Email: “Hank Togna” : HankTogna [at] verizon DOT net
biography of Enrico “Hank” Tonga
Doc; Dick Pearson I am sending these photos of Henry Tindall RIP. I hope it is a long time before you receive my obit.
Share with all teammates. R.P. Rio’s Note: Thank you very much Dick.
From: susierauch [at] aol.com
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008
To: tfrank [at] cox.net
Subject: Harry Tindal
I just found out that Harry Tindall Passed away on January 20, 2008. I do not have any other info. I am in Nevada with the Grandkids and can’t figure out how to send out from my address book.
Will you please forward this on the guys. I would appreciate it.
I think it takes a Bosun Mate, not an ET, to master the art of coffee brewing. Why just look what a grand job Dad Warren did running the coffee mess the final six-months he was in the Navy!
Terry Fowler wrote:
I learned a lot from Harry, but was unable to man the coffee mess. When I was due to get out in 1968, it was traditional to spend the last week taking care of the coffee mess. Now I didn’t and still don’t drink coffee so I tried to follow Harry’s instructions closely knowing that coffee was a very big deal to most of the Team.
I brewed up my first batch on my own and Harry came by to inspect. He took a sip, tasted it carefully, and told me “You know you can’t make it too strong. If a man wants it a little weaker, he can always add hot water.”
I said “Aye Aye Chief”, and the next morning added a couple extra measures to the coffee pot. Harry came by to inspect, sipped the coffee, and got a very sour look on his face. After a bit he said, “Fowler, don’t bother with the coffee from now on.” And my internship at the coffee locker came to an end.
From: Franklin Anderson
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2008
To: Frank Toms;
Re: Another Icon done gone
Harry broke in many young frogs when they first came into the team; They learned what the Frogs were all about. Harry was the TEAM ELEVEN Master at Arms for many years and kept the team running like a well oiled machine. You could set your watch on when he would arrive in the morning and make sure the coffee was brewing. He reserved the weekends for washing his car and mowing his lawn–He was a perfectionist and passed these traits on to the men. He was one of the best examples of a “TRUE FROG” that you could find. Back in 1957 Harry was one of Two BM-s to make Chief in the entire USN. GOD BLESS HIM –
Original Message —–
From: Frank Toms
To: Al C. Sent: Friday, February 15, 2008
Subject: Another Icon done gone
RIP Harry……………the first Master Chief I ever saw. He was all about being a good Frog, PT, running, sunning, volley ball and gardening. He started many young Frogs on landscaping careers. It looks like he and Doc Williams passed on the same day. A sad day for all Frogs and SEALs.
Ed Chiasson, Gerry Woolf, Tim Jones
1:29 PM (3 hours ago)
to edudt22, me, frogfather
Hi Tim Thanks for sending along Doc,s picture of you me & Woolfe 3 good lookin Frogs, Huh? Thanks Bud see ya at the Creek in July… Ed I now remember you at the Reunion, Remember we sat together, We both have changed, I recognize the gold chain and wanted one. Doc Ed Chaisson is the frog on the left and was in class 32 with me. I am ready for the home for the mentally challenged, Ed who is Woolfe ? ( full name) please. Doc is determined to identify all three of us, See you at the 50th reunion. Your friend and classmate. Tim
From: Frog21 [at] aol DOT com
To: me, edudt22, deepdivebob
I won’t forget you. See you at the 50th reunion. Why did’t you go to the 40th? Thanks for the Info,
From: edudt22 [at] comcast DOT net
Subj: Re: 3 frogs Ed Chaisson, Tom Wolf, and Tim Jones
T J, Tim, that’s Gerry Woolf in the middle. I think Gerry came thru class30/ He was in team 21. Finest kind we’ve been in touch lota yr’s. Stay thirsty my friend.
Ed Chiasson PS
don’t you ever forget me again********
To: docrio45[at] gmail DOT com; edudt22 [at] comcast DOT net; deepdivebob [at] yahoo DOT com; frog21 [at] aol DOT com
Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2013
Subject: 3 frogs Ed Chaisson, Tom Wolf, and Tim Jones
Tim, The person in the middle is Tom Wolf. I think.
Ed Chiasson, Gerry Woolf, Tim Jones
Isaac George“Ike” Rodriguez TM2(SEAL) ST-4 KIA Panama
Thank you. Although I did know Pepper Tagle just by virtue of being around he team areas; we never really worked or spent any time together. However, if I may remember Isaac “Ike” Rodriguez to you all at Teams PML, it would be my honor and privilege. I inherited Ike as a TM2 (I think he was a PO2 at the time) when I was assigned to the Weapons Department at SDV Team TWO in November of 1987. He was one of my Techs for the Eight Boat and command small arms. He and Tony Gilles another of my TMs were both hell bent on becoming SEALs. They were both good kids and I helped move their requests up through the C-o-C for approval.
Some of the background on Ike: I goes back to one day with the WEAPS Gang back in the shop shooting the breeze as I’m sure you all can relate. I don’t recall the exact sequence of our discussion but there were two overriding points to it: (1) we discussed MOH recipients and (2) Ike’s intense motivation for wanting to become a SEAL; he being basically a land lubber from Eagle Pass, TX. However the discussion went, the discussion came around to the last MOH awarded for the Viet Nam by President Reagan back in 1981. I had remembered the occasion because of the circumstances surrounding it; an SF Sergeant who had gone into a hot LZ to pull out an encircled Recon Team single-handed and that because of all the wounds he’d suffered all the Detachment had thought he’d died. They’d managed a to get him a Distinguished Service Cross before he was sent to Saigon and out. Ike informed me that that Sergeant, subsequently a Master Sergeant, Roy Benavidez was a relative ( second or third cousin) and that the story of Roy Benavidez was the source of his motivation. I couldn’t argue against such a role model and I knew Ike’s work ethic.
Webmaster’s NOTE: THe book: “Medal of Honor, A Vietnam Warrior’s Story” by M. Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez, USA, SF (Ret) and John R. Craig
I left SDVT-2 in Jan 1989 and Ike and Tony finally got their orders to BUD/S and graduated. I don’t recall how long they had been at ST-4 before Operation Just Cause and the Paitilla Airfield op on Dec. 18, 1989; I just know that we lost Ike and three others that day; LT. John P. Conners, ENC Donald L. McFaul, and BM1 Chris Tilghman. Don McFaul I’d know from my ST-1 tour 83 – 85.
I can only hope that these few short sentences remembered Ike well. May they all be remembered well by their Teammates, families, loved ones and friends.
Twenty years is a long time. It spans the entire life of many a young Sailor and Marine. Twenty years is four Presidents ago. Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall had just come down, and the impact of that event was yet to be known to East or West Germany, to the United States, or to the Soviet Union. Heady times, and a hopeful if uncertain future.
Twenty years ago today, just five weeks after the momentous events in Europe, US forces were in action in Panama. Operation JUST CAUSE led to the capture of Manuel Noriega, in a short, sometimes sharp fight that was far less costly than predicted estimates. Twenty three American servicemen were killed, as were about two hundred Panamanian soldiers.
I wasn’t there. A First Lieutenant assigned to MCRD Parris Island, I was overseeing recruits being made into Marines. But I remember JUST CAUSE very vividly. That day, I was the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion Officer of the Day (OOD), and upon completing my squad bay checks at 0200 I flipped on the TV in the duty room. The 24-hour news cycle was in its infancy, but there was coverage on every channel of US forces engaged in a number of firefights, with a byline of “Fort Sherman, Panama”. It took a while to sort out the details, well into the next day. The news dominated discussion in the Bn CP the next morning, with some fairly amusing comments from the old man about this being what happens when you choose the wrong dictator. Casualties were reported as very light, thankfully.
That evening, as I ironed my uniform for the next day, the phone rang. The voice of my friend on the other end of the line said, “Don’t know if you heard, but Connors was killed. He was killed in action some time yesterday, in Panama”. Wow. Jee-zus. John was not the first friend of mine who had been killed in service to his country. Nor was he even the first to be killed in action. A high school friend had died in the Marine barracks in Beirut.
But John was the first of my friends to die who’d seemed, I don’t know, bulletproof, invincible. John was a piece of work. He was sharp, motivated, and dedicated. Funny as hell, too. And he was very, very smart. He had graduated from WPI, for chrissakes. He was one of the toughest guys I have ever known. In the time since I’d last spoken to him, he had completed SEAL training, and had been assigned to his team. In order to make the mission in Panama, he dragged himself out of a hospital bed, where he had been battling an intestinal parasite. How the hell does a guy like THAT get killed?
He shouldn’t have been on that mission, could have stayed in his hospital bed and continued his recovery. But anyone who knew John was not surprised that he would find a way to be with his men when they needed him most. They would also not be surprised to know that John was a top-shelf leader in a community of top-shelf leaders.
But LTJG John Patrick Connors was not bullet-proof. He and three members of his team died coming to the aid of comrades who were pinned down. (Chief McFaul, TM2 Rodriguez, and BM1 Tilghman were the other SEALs who had been killed.) They had followed their leader into harm’s way.
John Connors was not the first friend to die for his country. He certainly wouldn’t be the last. Indeed, the list is far longer than I care to remember these days. But when I hear the notes of Taps playing, and I think of all of those brave souls who gave their tomorrows so that we could have our todays, it is John’s face I see first. LTJG John Connors was 25.
Maybe twenty years isn’t such a long time after all. You are missed, my friend.
Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Navy, Uncategorized, history
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5 Responses to “LTJG John Connors, USN”
Gone but not forgotten…
December 19th, 2009 at 6:33 pm
Forrest Kocher Says:
I had the pleasure of knowing John Connors when I was a midshipman in the NROTC program at Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. This is to say that I knew of him and the kind of example that he set and also how those around him held him in such high regard. John was only a couple of years ahead of me in seniority but light years ahead of me and everyone else in just about every other way.
My first recollection of John was when he stuck his head in the office of the NROTC Unit’s Executive Officer. It was the summer before my senior year in high school and my father had brought me in for an informational interview. Commander Paul Bennett, a decorated riverboat driver of the Vietnam War, excused himself and spoke with John briefly before turning his attention back to my father and myself. More than two decades later, I still recall the respect and admiration in his voice when he said that it was John’s intention to become a SEAL and that he would go far.
My last recollection of John was approximately two years later just before his graduation. I was at a liquor store (it was college) with two of his closer friends. He bumped into us just as we were realizing that we did not have enough money for a keg which seemed so incredibly important at the time. Without knowing how much we needed, he reached into his wallet and said that he would cover the rest. Coughing up a five spot, he told us to have a great time and to forget about paying him back. And that was it.
A couple of years later, I was home on Christmas leave at a college friend’s house in Belmont, MA reading an article about an area SEAL who had died fighting in Panama. John’s grim official photo stared back at me and I knew that he was gone. I cut out that small article and placed it in a frame; carrying it with me in every stateroom, apartment, and home that I have lived in since.
I now live in Hebron, CT where I am a member of the VFW and the American Legion. Ironically, this past week (12/23/09) I was speaking with a new member who is an active duty SEAL and I asked if he had ever heard of John. He mentioned that his name was on a plaque somewhere.
I have carried his framed article with his official photo and some brass saluting a flag draped coffin that I like to think is his for a long time now. I only realize now that it has been for twenty years. I am going to send it back down to Virginia when my SEAL acquaintance returns in February with a $5 bill sealed to the reverse side. I am requesting that it be placed somewhere special to SEALs. John would not like this kind of attention and he most certainly deserves better but it is the best that a passing acquaintance can do. While I do not claim to have known John well or even reasonably well, I do know that God does not create many men like John. I thank God for having known him a little.
December 28th, 2009 at 1:03 pm
Jon A. Hall Says:
I knew John when he was a student at WPI. I met through one of his roommates who was a friend of my family.
An incredibly smart and funny guy, John kept himself in great physical shape and did very well in a very tough school.
One cold winter’s day there was a big snowstorm, with very deep drifts. John jumped off a second-story balcony into a large drift. All we could hear was him laughing from inside the snow drift.
I was in California when my friend called to tell me that John had been killed in Panama.
About ten years ago our town created a memorial out of bricks that had people’s names carved into them. I bought one for LtJG John Patrick Connors, and every time I pass though the town square I stop to look at it, and consider that there was NOTHING “Junior Grade” about John.
May 29th, 2010 at 10:04 am
CAPT Karen Tsiantas, USN Says:
Like Mark Stanovich, I too recall the events in 1989.
I came home to my home in Aiea over looking Pearl Harbor after a long mid-watch on Ford Island at Commander, Undersea Surveillance Pacific. Flipped on the TV, and they were showing Andrews Air Force Base, with the remains of a fallen SEAL being brought home. Some how, I heard the name John Connor and I immediately brought all my attention to the TV screen. I was in denial and I rushed to the telephone and called Kara Jacobson, Holy Cross ROTC 1987 grad, who was just up the hill in Pearl City living with Jim Hensler, HC ‘87. I told her to turn the TV on–every thing surreal.
When we were all stashed as Ensigns after graduation in May 1987 at the unit, we spent a lot of time with John, watching the NBA championships in the apartment that Kara and I were renting. John was working out and getting himself ready for BUDs, so, the times we went scorpion bowling at a local watering hole, he was the Duty Driver. I now have a photo of him and I on my desk which was taken at one of the Navy Birthday balls when we were midshipmen.
After John’s death, every time I have been promoted to date, I have remembered him at my promotion ceremonies, mentioning the fact that he gave his life for his country, hence not being afforded the same opportunities to be promoted as the rest of the HC ROTC Class of 1987.
May 30th, 2010 at 8:05 am
Mike skiotis Says:
John was a friend of mine who I met through his brother Joe who I played rugby with. I gave my son, born in 1990, the middle name John Patrick in honor of John. Every year on Memorial Day I take my son to the cemetery in Arlington, MA and visit John’s grave with my son and say a prayer and shed a tear. God Bless the Connors family and God Bless America!
May 30th, 2010 at 5:52 pm
Jim Fox Jump Pay was $55.00 a month.
From : Richard “Demo Dick” Marcinko
To : Doc Riojas
While scrolling thru the pics so far here’s names I found missing. You may not have added them due to space or too tired at the time…(senior citizen disease)..haha
Page #2 Jerry hammerle ( rite above Ollie).
IBS drop..I think he was one of the riggers; Jeerry “??? I think, Jim Fox & I were the first to do the IBS drop out of the UDTY/21 then UDT 22 riggers loft.
Under PR training class pic..Gov Janus..aka Jessse Ventura
Next to MOH Kerry , Chuck LeMoyne
Doc Rio’s NOTE: Thank you CDR Marcinko aka: “Demo Dick” then aka: Rogue Warrior.
ROGUE WARRIOR: “Deplaning for his first combat assignment, he writes, he inhaled deeply and “knew instantly that I was going to like Vietnam a whole lot.” He revels in “the wonderful lethal odor of cordite wafting over me” and tells us that after one particularly hairy action, “I dreamt of warm women and cold beer.”
C.O. Trung Ta Trinh Hoa Hiep, died of Cancer in L.A. CA.
Tran Van Qua was an instructor of LDNN. He is still lives in Saigon.
Le Van Manh is Unkown where is he.
Le Van Tuong was an instructor in Cam Ranh bay his task is same Qua. Tuong is living in San Diego, CA.
Trung Uy Vu Trong Son is living in Santa Anna, CA. But he is isolated to our LDNN.
Thats all my information. Hope this will help you.
Kiet Nguyen LDNN
Kiet Nguyen LDNN, awarded the Navy Cross for Heroic action in Vietnam war
Stew Smith is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, former Navy SEAL Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness and self defense books such as The Complete
Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, and Maximum Fitness. As a military fitness trainer, Stew has trained hundreds of students for Navy SEAL, SpecialForces, Air Force PJ, Ranger Training,and other physical law enforcement.
Roy Boehm (1st SEAL) Said That
To Doc Rio,
I will not comment on the amount of incoming each of the people you have mentioned have seen. I would not recognize delayed Stress Syndrome; if I fell over it, so far from what I have observed if you cry and need mommy’s comfort and protection, can’t find a job, can’t hold a job, suck on drugs, and dive under the couch when a car backfires your lazy ass was lying on while holding a can of kickapoo joy juice as a pacifier.
This is a good indicator that you have not been in combat and have stolen Valor, and defaced a true Man-O-Warsman. As a veterans employment representative for the State of Florida I found the best cure for their ailment to be the exposure of their DD 240. assisted by cutting off their unemployment compensation.
Just a little known fact about my post service life. It was the Pompano Florida office for about ten years.
Now for the picture you requested
Roy Said that
Your Pad is ready,Freddy
Composed especially for Erasmo Riojas,
on 06/03/07 by Thomas E. Blais
As said last night at eleven
You called while I was in heaven
Still, I was not in the least upset
Yet, a rhyme or two I could not beget.
I was delighted to hear your tone
As it travled from phone to phone
your words were calm and nice
Not designed to entrap or intice.
You refered to a, perhaps ethos affair
Were you serious; are we going there
My home would have to be a fort
To entertain such an exotic sport.,
What the hell, why not change our luck
We will use my beat up old truck
Driving into the devil’s black night
Our chant may stimulate a grand fight.
Of course this ditty was written in jest
But, the words, no less, straight from the vest.
I’ll look after you team mate; never fear
Your welcomed visit is fully secure.
Peter Wentworth MM1 (SW) 12Apr2016
I’m in Florida now and my bootcamp ‘cruisebook’ is back in Illinois – but when I get back, I’ll send a photo. Don’t really have stories of any interest… One time, our company had screwed up sufficiently to really piss Chief Boisvert off. He took us out to the grinder to run laps (with him in the lead) A significant number of recruits couldn’t keep up and we were leaving a trail of passed out recruits in our wake. As whomever was carrying the guidon would bail out, he’d hand it off to someone else. Finally, a LT. came out and told Chief Boisvert to knock it off! – Out of a company of about 80 there were approx 10 of us left standing.
v/r Peter Wentworth MM1(SW) peter [AT] musicalsaw.com
On Behalf Of Erasmo Riojas via LinkedIn
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 2:17 PM
To: dillard blancett
Subject: RE: Louis boisvert
Louis Boisvert and I were in the same boat crew through class # 35 in Tommy Nelson’s boat crew, went to jump school together in Okinawa , were only six of us that went up there from Subic, was on the same jump where he got his arm hung up in his static cord. I’ve asked but hadn’t found anyone that knows what happened to him. I saw where you had been training LDNN’s with Loui.
hEY Dillard ! I worked with Loui in CamRanhBay, Vietnam we were LDNN advisors at the training camp. He is one of the greatest guys I have ever met from UDT west coast. Is he still around? How can I get ahold of him. I have one picture of him on www.sealtwo.org
Send me some of you from the old days and now that you are retired. thanks a million
BTW: I do not go into the LINKEDIN much, only to steal photos for my web site.
Doc Rio Erasmo Riojas HMC ret ST-2
to: Doc Riojas
Thanks for the quick response,
Louie was one of the best athelites ever, he was my swim buddy at san clemete Is. Also paddle man on rt. Side of front of boat., I was on left side, coming back to compound on last hell week paddle from mud flats we were all falling asleep, having illusions, falling out of the IBS, Louie didn’t have those problems , he got pissed at the rest of us-he just wanted to go home-He said in his French accent-you all don’t know how to paddle-watch me stroke , stroke, stroke – we all straigtened up and paddled like everything and laughed the rest of the way.
On the obstical course, Louie didn’t muscle his self up to the next level of the tower with three levels, he could swing his self up- I asked how do you do that? Louis used to be in a circus, he could do all kinds of acrobatics. You probably saw some of it.—
Coming down Colorado river, we were caught very first day, they took all our sea rations- when we got down to Needles Louie went to town and started knocking on doors-the first one he knocked on was the Sheriff’s wife- he told her we were starving, the instructors took all our food
She gave him money , food , beer, we thought we were doing good until we got captured by the enemy “Barry Enoch, Fredrickson etc-asked us silly questions “what are you doing on my river you Yankee Pig.
Never forget the experience. You too—Love those guys—Funny: Gardner” a class mate, when asked what’s your name? He said god “GOD” All of us laying on those sharp rocks all night were miserable, but we sure laughed out loud about that—Poor old Gardner sure didn’t wish to go through that experience again.
You can imagine the adjustment he experienced.
Darryl Young SEAL Team ONE
Subject: Re: Erasmo “Doc Rio” Riojas SEAL Web Page has changed
Date: Sat, 07 Feb 1998 16:36:55 -0700
From: email@example.com (Darryl Young)
References: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 SEAL 1 Home of “The Element of Surprise” & “SEALs, UDT, Frogmen”
Warning!!! The NSWA (Naval Special Warfare Archives) has determined
that viewing these pages for wannabe’s is hazardous to their health! This is not a
web page for fake, phony UDT/SEAL Wannabe’s! If you’re a Wannabe get out
now & go to www. http://members.tripod.com/~fakeseal/ Your name & photo
could very well end up here!!!
Doc… Appreciate the help… Do you want my user name & password… I’ll call if u need them???
Thanks… the DD
Doc Rio wrote:
no way in two years! send me what you want on it. I’ll get it going for you. by the way I wrote Marsweb to let me get into their help pages so i can see how they upload their graphics. Lets get it goin.
Erasmo “Doc Rio” Riojas aka: El Ticitl
Subject: more plates
Date: Sun, 08 Feb 1998 10:39:15 -0700
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Darryl Young)
Doc… Great chattin with you this AM… Here are 3 more plates… Dont know if u want the Trident plate on the web or not… Frog plate belongs to Harlem Funkhouser & NvySEAL plate belongs to Lance Green…If u get a chance check out www.mirc.com Download for free… RD & I are on a “Dalnet” server on channel #awv (American War Vets)… I will help you get setup once u get online…
Doc, Thanks for helpin me get started on the web page… I’m a real dummy when it comes to some of this shit… Once I get “hands on” experiance I’ll do fine!!! Let me know what u need… the DD
Erasmo “Doc Rio” Riojas wrote:
Thanks Mr. Young,
Please let me know what you have in mind for web coverage on wannabe’s, i don’t believe i can beat RD Russell and Kent Dillingham. They got things well covered there. you see http://www.frii.com/~rdruss/hey, is that you holding the stoner and the M-60 the picture is in may article titled: THE HAS BEANS. thanks, my man, i am 66 years old, couldn’t fight myself out of a wet paper bag. I got a terrible back (too many night full equiment jumps?). I want to go watch you guys kick some ass though.You gonna be in Ft. Pierce, I would be very pleased to meet you and get you to sign my book.
thanks your brother in arms,
Subject: Re: Signed Guestbook
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 97 16:19:29 +0000
From: email@example.com (Darryl Young)
Doc!!! Thanks for the email… Yes that is me holding the Stoner & M-60 on RD’s web… I’m also on Brian Curl’s web at www.navysealteams.com… I would like to come to the muster but do not fly!!! Maybe I’ll just drive… Long ways from Montana …
Doc… Yes… That is my picture… I have the negative & the original… There’s not much I sweat out anymore & when I become 66 I may fly too…LOL… But I have a little ways to go before then!!! My door is always open to you!!!
i got work to do in this page, one of the plates is much too large. agree? http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/6485/plates.html
Erasmo “Doc Rio” Riojas aka: El Ticitl
By all accounts, Scott Helvenston (SEAL), who joined Blackwater in March 2004, was well prepared for security work. He had been a Navy SEAL instructor and was a world class athlete. But he was in debt and Blackwater’s pay — about $600 a day — was a chief reason for signing on for a two-month contract. He told a friend he expected to be guarding Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. But he never met Bremer. Blackwater had a new contract with a catering company, ESS, and they were scrambling to find new guards.
A final e-mail — Written on the eve of his departure for the mission, it’s addressed to Blackwater officials. He complains about last-minute changes in pulling the team together and some problems with a team member. But he declares his resolve to stick with the mission.
A Blackwater colleague pays tribute — In a letter written to Helvenston’s family after his death, she writes about the kind of man he was and his attitude toward his job in Iraq.
Read Helvenston’s full story — “Scotty Bod Grows Up” — as reported in the Raleigh News & Observer’s special series on the Fallujah killings, “The Bridge.” (Note: Free registration required for this series.)
Salem Post office, friends remember Ron Quear
WHAT: Ron Quear Memorial Breakfast
WHERE: Washingtonville VFW Post 5532, 575 Leetonia Road, Washingtonville
WHEN: From 8 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Feb. 3
WHY: Proceeds will help family toward medical costs for late cancer victim Ron Quear
SALEM — If you stood in line at the Salem Post Office, you probably saw or were waited on by Ron Quear.
He was the tall and big fellow with dark, neatly cropped hair, a mustache and wearing glasses.
He would send an acknowledging smile out in front of a relaxed “I can take you over here” greeting.
Not that others didn’t have it, just that his helpful demeanor came across stronger and that pretty much said it as far as customers were concerned.
Longtime co-worker Gene Smith said, “Everyone will remember Ron most for his outgoing, friendly service.”
Few people knew that this 57-year-old gentleman, who died on Jan. 17, had been fighting cancer for 10 years.
Even fewer knew that he was a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran, served two tours of duty in Vietnam, was awarded the Purple Heart and was also a member of the U.S. Navy SEALs.
SEALs is the acronym for the Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) forces — the elite Special Operations Forces (or Special forces) of the navy.
They are deployed in unconventional warfare, guerrilla warfare, foreign internal defense, direct action, counter-terrorism, and special reconnaissance operations.
Ron was a New Castle, Pa. native, graduate of Mohawk High School and loved the outdoors.
His obituary said he was “a true outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting and fishing.”
He began working for the postal service five years after retiring from the navy in 1989 and was assigned to the Salem Branch while residing in North Jackson.
Ron was father, grandfather, brother and husband who waged a long, costly battle with cancer.
Who is Mike Lumpkin?
TC Cummings – Master Coach TC Cummings, former U.S. Navy Seal Commando, honors the standards and philosophies embraced by Jim Rohn. TC has an exceptional history of overcoming adversities. His story begins in New York, where at age 16, he assumed sole responsibility of his own financial support. Through 8 years as an Operator and Corpsman in the elite U.S. Navy commando SEAL Teams, he traveled the world learning communication and teamwork on the cutting edge. His 6 plus years of working with individuals and corporations in professional coaching and speaking infuses his presentations with energy and insight.
To learn more about TC Cummings, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-929-0439.
A 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former platoon commander of SEAL Team One, conducted one of the only successful POW rescues of the Vietnam War. He later served as a maritime operations officer with the CIA. Now living on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, Couch is a captain in the Naval Reserve and recently retired from his duties as senior serving reserve SEAL officer. This is his fourth novel.
Jeffrey Allen Lucas. Electronics Technician First Class, U.S. Navy (SEAL). Born 17th September,1971, killed in action June 28,2005 in Afghanistan. While on a mission to rescue 4 Navy SEALS who were surrounded and under intense enemy fire, members of the Army Special Forces, SEAL Delivery Team One, and SEAL Team 10’s task was to remove the trapped SEALS from danger. An enemy RPG struck the rescue helicopter killing all 16 on board. Three SEALs on the ground died and one SEAL, was wounded and was rescued. To Jeff, this mission was a success, although it cost him his life, it saved the life of a brother SEAL. Ever since the 4th Grade Jeff believed he would become a SEAL, because they were the best. To his credit and memory he achieved this goal graduating from Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL class 191 in January 1994.
The news of Jeff;s death struck hard in the small communities of Corbett and Aims, Oregon where he went to school and lived until graduation from High School. I knew him since he was a child, growing up to be a marksman by shooting mice with a BB gun. Practicing RECON by sneeking into Trout Creek Bible Camp, and making away with some campers candy. Dedication, determination, a sense of humor, that we all enjoyed and miss. He loved Golf, but I was told he was the worst golfer there ever was, but that was his game. With 10 years as a Navy SEAL, Jeff left this world to be with the Almighty, who needed a good man, husband, father, son and grandson.
–Anonymous , Mosier, OR (submitted on May 14, 2007)
Robert J. Fay
Doc Riojas, if you want to publish it on your website, here’s a humorous trailer for you of my next book. IF not, enjoy the read…. Later, Carl
Howdy men, I hope everybody is impatiently awaiting the arrival of the third installment in The Indomitable Patriot series. The book takes us back to 1943 and the submarine USS Great White (SS-299), commanded by LCDR Marcus Spencer. You will recall the Great White and Captain Spencer from the first book, FERTIG, along with Evelyn “Pinky” Pinkert and LCDR (detailed OSS) David Meyers from both FERTIG and book two, DEAN. The Great White is at Mare Island for overhaul and installation of some OSS communications gear. After attending meetings at OSS headquarters, Spencer, Meyers and Pinky drive the the OSS training academy, the former Congressional County Club. All right, here’s a short, humorous trailer from book three….
The meeting continued for a couple more hours before breaking. Meyers, Captain Spencer and Pinky drove to the Country Club to spend the night with Pinky in the guesthouse. The following morning they would fly to Fort Monmouth in Pinky’s Staggerwing Beechcraft.
“It never fails to amaze me, whenever I come down here,” Meyers said as they parked in front of the administration building. “I’ll never forget the first two weeks of the academy when Pinky shared a bunk in a dormitory with twenty-three other men.”
“That’s all right, Mister Meyers,” Pinky said, ice in her voice. “We can save that story for another time!”
“Now my interest is peaked,” Spencer replied.
“Later, sir,” Pinky replied as she deeply blushed. “Only after a martini will I be able to tell that story.”
“My humble command,” Pinky said when Meyers and Spencer stopped and stared at the barbed-wire encased Quonset huts. “Come inside administration for a moment and I will introduce you to Colonel Godfrey, our administrator. Not even the Colonel has clearance to enter the barbed wire. After meeting the Colonel, David and I will give you a tour of the facility.”
As they drove around the complex, David and Pinky explained the training program for OSS Special Agents. They were parked at one of the five-hundred yard ranges when Spencer asked, “You went through all this firearms training, Pinky?”
“Captain Spencer,” Meyers answered, “Pinky is a distinguished master with a rifle. She can outshoot me.”
Spencer glanced at Pinky. “My COB, or Chief Of the Boat on the Great White is a thin, wiry fellow. Almost soft-spoken, but get under his skin or fail to obey a command, he instantly becomes a grizzly bear. I suspect, ma’am, the two of you are not that different.”
Pinky started up and then abruptly stopped their Jeep. “You see that man out there, Captain, the one leading that squad. He will be going to Tinian with you. His name is Carlos Hathcock, Senior. He can outshoot all of our firearms instructors. He can hit bull’s eyes at a thousand yards with an iron-sighted rifle.”
Spencer slowly shook his head as Pinky started up again. “Such young men we produce, to go in harm’s way,” he muttered under his breath.
Captain Spencer, David and I ate in the cadet’s mess. The food service was very good for cafeteria-style service. Afterward, we adjourned to the recreation room where I fixed martinis for the three of us. David brought up the subject of the academy again… to my great embarrassment.
“You delight in forcing me to tell that story, don’t you, Mister Meyers,” Pinky said as she broke out in laughter.
“Marcus (Spencer had told them to dispense with the Captain Spencer routine), my family owns this place, the former Congressional Country Club. I lived in the guesthouse when they leased it to the OSS for the duration of the war, under the condition I continue residing in the guesthouse. My uncles didn’t want me moving back to Chicago where I would be too close to them. The OSS hired me, and I applied for special agent training. David and I were in the first academy class.”
“For the first two weeks of physical, as well as stress training, everybody lived in open barracks. If you survived that period, you moved into individual rooms for the remainder of the training. Their theory, the enemy would neither discriminate nor go easy on a female, so they lumped everybody together.”
“Sunday afternoon, the day before the training officially began; I’m arranging my uniforms and gear in my locker… in an open bay with twenty-three other guys.”
Marcus began to chuckle and then laugh aloud. “Excuse me, Pinky, I’m picturing you bunking in the crew quarters on a sub and being with eighty men who have not bathed in a week or two. It gets pretty foul at times on a boat!”
“We are all tending to our gear while our drill instructor marches up and down the aisle, screaming ‘The enemy intends to kill you, pretty women as quickly as big, tough men,’ and all that.”
“And then Gunny stops at my bunk. I come to attention. The rim of his Smokey Bear hat a fraction of an inch from my forehead. ‘Pinkert, you get one privilege,’ he screams… spittle landing all over my face. ‘There is one stall in the head with a curtain. That stall is yours alone. In exchange for that privilege, you shall not use the men’s urinal. Do you understand that?’”
“Sir, yes sir,” I screamed in Gunny’s face, biting my tongue to keep from laughing. Then Gunny screams, “Men, you will report immediately if you catch Pinkert using your urinal. Do you understand that?”
“A chorus of ‘Sir, yes sir,’ rang throughout the barracks. By now I’m about to explode with laughter.”
“It got worse when Gunny yelled at us about one shower for everybody,” David interrupted. “I’ll save Pinky further embarrassment and leave that to your imagination.”
“Pinky, water is in such short supply on a sub that bathing usually amounts to a gallon of water, once a week if you’re lucky,” Marcus replied. “There is an officer’s head on board, but it’s usually crammed full of supplies for most of a patrol. Everybody uses one head in the after torpedo room. That, too, becomes pretty foul after weeks at sea.”
THE INDOMITABLE PATRIOT Fertig, The Guerrilla General
One of our guys, although he had the misfortune of going Army instead of Navy, has become a writer in
his old age. His first few books were about the paranormal… he likes to chase ghosts in his spare time. But his latest
endeavor; Wow! He has started a new series of books he calls Behind the Lines. His first book, recently completed and
published is titled “THE INDOMITABLE PATRIOT: Fertig, the Guerrilla General.” It’s a historically correct novel about Wendell Fertig in the Philippines in World War II. Here’s what the book looks like.
Cover Final :
May, 1942. General Wainwright has just surrendered the Philippines. Wendell Fertig, a Corps of Engineers Lieutenant Colonel, refuses to comply and flees into the mountains of Mindanao. Fertig is soon
joined by dozens of former Philippino Army scouts who encourage him to form a guerrilla Army. Over the next few months Fertig is joined by several other displaced American soldiers, one of whom builds a small, makeshift transmitter and establishes contact with the Navy.
General MacArthur denounces Fertig, going on record claiming it’s impossible for a guerrilla movement in the Philippines to succeed. The O.S.S. decide to take a chance and covertly supplies Fertig by submarine. Once he receives the tools to wage war, his achievements become legendary. By the time MacArthur returns to the Philippines in 1944 he is met on the beach at Leyte by a force of over twenty thousand of Fertig’s guerrilla Army.
This fictional accounting is based upon the actual military records and reports of one man’s impossible achievements against overwhelming odds; against an enemy who outnumbered him a hundred to one. Wendell Fertig, a civil engineer and untrained amateur in the ways of war, defied the predictions of the experts and brought the Japanese Army to its knees. Enjoy this first installment in the new Behind The Lines series of combat thrillers based upon historical records.
The book is available from Amazon in either print or Kindle versions, or by special order from almost any book retailer.
(He’s not Tom Clancy yet. They don’t stock his books but they can order them). These links will take you to the Amazon listings. If you look at the Kindle listing there is a Look Inside feature that lets you read through the first chapter.
About the Author Carl’s professional career began as an Army and then FAA air traffic controller. He advanced from a small radar van in the Central Highlands of Vietnam to the TRACON in one of our nation’s busiest airports. He also became a commercial pilot and flight instructor, retiring after thirty-nine years of flying. By 1986 he was experiencing severe burnout. He put himself through the police academy, resigned from the FAA and became a deputy Sheriff in Reno, Nevada. He retired after a distinguished career on the street. Not only the cop on the beat, Carl became a renowned traffic accident reconstructionist on his departments Major Accident Investigation Team, as well as a highly acclaimed crime scene investigator. Throughout his life Carl has been a student of the paranormal and often experienced the effects of the supernatural in his personal life. In 2012 he became involved in the saga of the haunted Allen House in Monticello, Arkansas and its resident spirit, Ladell Allen Bonner. The result of dozens upon dozens of paranormal interactions with Ladell led Carl to write his first book about Ladell’s life and death. Writing that first book sparked a latent avocation in his life: writing. Carl has always been a connoisseur of military history, and that interest began a new direction for his writing. This latest book is the story of Wendell Fertig, and the beginning of a thrilling new series, ‘Behind The Lines.’ While the stories are fictionalized, they are all based upon factual military history. Join in with Carl and enjoy his books as you gain an interesting new insight in what war is all about.
The following is typical of the reviews I’m receiving on the book:
Just finished your book and you get 4.0 marks from this old Navy Seal. Really enjoyed and it adds to my hobby of WWII.
Spent 22 years of my 34 in and out of the PI. Have traveled every island and was trained a marksman by RJ when we were
stationed at Team 2 during Vietnam. Still a very good friend I keep in contact with. Going to recommend it to my friends,
at least the ones that can read.
THE INDOMITABLE PATRIOT Fertig, The Guerrilla General
Doc Riojas Comment: Once i started reading this book, i have find myself hard to putting it down! because of my very old age (84 yr old eyes and at the end of being able to correct my vision) I find that the way the paragraphs are other important text are spaced to be extremly easy to read.
Having retired from the Navy and traveled to that part of the orient reminds me of my days as a guerrilla combatant as part of the Navy SPecial Warfare serving as a Navy SEAL in the Jungles of Vietnam.
The author is equally as good a military writter as Tom Clancy. This story may possibly be material for a great movie similar to the the movie produced about the POW rescue in WWII by Filipino Guerilla fighters and the U.S. Army Rangers. “The Great Raid”
Do not wait to buy it tomorrow, order it today ! It was recommended to me by CDR R.D. Thomas (recommended for the Medal of Honor by the US Army, but our politically correct US Navy downgraded it to a Navy Cross. SHame on them !