December 17, 2019 was a sad day. As a long-time dog lover, stories like these always touch my heart. I have had dogs my whole life. Beagles, Dobermans, Labs, Plott Hounds, mutts, and currently … an amazing German Shepherd named Sophie. You could not ask for a truer, more loyal friend than a dog.
And while stories like this do sadden me, I realize that these amazingly loyal and courageous dogs unhesitatingly put themselves between their human partners and danger. That is a true bond of unconditional love, and I suppose in some ways, may be similar to the bonds of brotherhood forged by soldiers in combat.
So, Rest in Peace Agent Bulder. Your loyal service and willing sacrifice will be remembered. Thank you for your service. You are a hero in the true sense of the word.
Below is the story as reported by American Military News:
Border Patrol K-9 killed Tuesday in shootout identified as Agent Bulder
Agent Bulder, a U.S. Border Patrol K-9, was the dog killed Tuesday during a shootout when a suspect fired multiple shots at law enforcement.
According to FBI El Paso Division officials, Agent Bulder was killed in the line of duty as he was helping law enforcement execute search and arrest warrants at a Northeast El Paso home.
U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, along with FBI, U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit agents and El Paso Police Department officers, executed the warrants about 6 a.m. Tuesday at a home in the 4500 block of Capricorn Drive in Northeast El Paso, police officials said.
The suspect, who has only been identified as a 62-year-old man, confronted agents in the backyard of the home and allegedly fired several shots at agents.
Agent Bulder was struck by a bullet and died at the scene.
Law enforcement then returned fired and killed the suspect.
Officials said that the warrant was related to illegal federal firearm charges.
It is often interesting to me how we take other people we meet for granted, not bothering to listen to or learn about one another. I recently met a man named Calvin who I discovered, served in the 101st Airborne Division. This turned into a conversation, because I too, served with the 101st. But, by that time it had been transformed into the 101st Air Assault Division. Of course, Calvin is about 85 and I am 59. So, we served during different eras.
And as a side note, I recently learned that at least some units of the 101st have gone back to being Airborne.
Veteran and artist!
During the course of our discussions, it came out that I had published my first novel, titled Serpents Underfoot, a short time back, and that I am now working on its sequel, Montagnard. Of course, he wanted a signed hard-cover copy of Serpents Underfoot which I provided.
An artist utilizing vibrant colors and sharp contrast!
I then learned that, Calvin too was also an artist … a painter. And that he’d been painting for about 30 years. I learned that Vincent Van Gogh was one of his favorite painters and you can see that influence in the work he does. He is also was a fan of Frederic Remington, a painter and sculptor focusing on the American west, and a favorite of mine.
Calvin Edney has been a soldier, a grocer, a bookstore owner, a vegetable store owner, a butcher, and now … a painter. He was active in several Asheville galleries in previous years, but now mostly paints in his apartment relying on memories of scenes which stuck in his mind and are created on the canvas. Calvin has sold a good number of his paintings, including one to a former Ingles CEO. He also hosts exhibits at his apartment home.
December 7th Show
Saturday, December 7, 2019 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM Tree Top Apartments Asheville, NC
This is Calvin’s home. Over 140 originals hang on his walls. For more information, click here!
If you are going to be in the Asheville area on December 7th, you should stop by and meet this 101st Airborne Veteran and amazing painter. I think you will enjoy the paintings and the conversation, as well as the wine, cheese, and crackers he serves during the show.
I will start saving up my pennies, so I can afford one of his paintings some time soon.
I discovered this story about James Elliott “Willy” Williams in the Navy Times November 8, 2018 Edition. It was written by Doug Sterner. It is really quite a story and the man is most certainly an American hero! You can read the story here, or click here to read this on the Navy Times website
Willy Williams, the most decorated enlisted sailor in Navy history
By: Doug Sterner November 8, 2018
In the history of the U.S. Navy only seven men have earned all of the “Big Three” valor awards: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross and Silver Star Medal. Six were World War II officers, including one aviator and four submarine commanders. The seventh was enlisted sailor James Elliott “Willy” Williams in Vietnam.
In 1947, Williams, a 16-year-old from Fort Mill, South Carolina, enlisted in the Navy with a fraudulent birth certificate. His first 19 years in the Navy included service aboard the destroyer USS Douglas H. Fox during the Korean War and tours on a variety of naval vessels from 1953 to 1965.
In May 1966 Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Williams was assigned to River Squadron 5 in South Vietnam to command Patrol Boat, River 105. The approximately 30-foot fiberglass boat usually carried a four-man crew who patrolled inland waterways to prevent the Viet Cong from using them to transport troops and supplies.
On July 1 Williams led a patrol that came under fire from a Viet Cong sampan. His deft maneuvers and accurate fire killed five VC and resulted in capture of the enemy boat, earning Williams a Bronze Star Medal with a “V” for valor. Twenty-two days later the capture of another sampan brought Williams a second Bronze Star for valor. Less than a month later, he received a Silver Star and his first Purple Heart.
On Halloween, Oct. 31, 1966, Williams was commanding a two-boat patrol on the Mekong River when he was fired on by two sampans. He and his crew killed the occupants of one and then went after the other. That pursuit put the Navy boats into a VC staging area containing two junks and eight sampans, supported by machine guns on the river banks. Williams called for helicopter gunship support while holding the enemy at bay. During this movement he discovered an even larger force. Not waiting for the armed helicopters, Williams attacked. Maneuvering through devastating fire from enemy boats and the shore, his two-boat patrol fought a three-hour battle that destroyed or damaged 65 VC boats and eliminated some 1,200 Communist troops. For his actions, Williams was nominated for the Medal of Honor.
On Jan. 9, 1967, the Navy dredge Jamaica Bay was blown up by mines in the Mekong Delta, and PBR-105 arrived to pick up seven of the survivors. Another man was trapped in the rapidly sinking dredge. Williams dove into the water and, with a rope attached to a nearby tug, pulled clear an obstruction, then swam through a hatch to recover the sailor.
Six days later Williams was wounded while leading a three-boat patrol that interdicted a crossing attempt by three VC heavy-weapons companies of 400 fighters. He and his boats accounted for 16 VC killed, 20 wounded and the destruction of nine sampans and junks. Williams was awarded the Navy Cross.
When Williams returned home in spring 1967, he had a list of awards unmatched by any enlisted man in Navy history. He retired after 20 years of service and began a career in the U.S. Marshals Service.
On May 14, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented Williams with the Medal of Honor. For his lifesaving actions at the sinking Jamaica Bay, he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, often called “the noncombat medal of honor.”
During his last seven months in the Navy, Williams received every sea-service award for heroism including the Legion of Merit with “V,” two Navy Commendation Medals for valor and three Purple Hearts.
Williams died on Oct. 13, 1999, and in 2003 his widow, Elaine, watched the launching of the Arleigh Burke class destroyer, USS James E. Williams.
Doug Sterner, an Army veteran who served two tours in Vietnam, is curator of the world’s largest database of U.S. military valor awards.
This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Vietnam Magazine, a Military Times sister publication. For more information on Vietnam Magazine and all of the HistoryNet publications, visit historynet.com.
Click here for more interesting blog posts and book reviews.
Be on the watch for my new thriller, Montagnard, coming out this summer, and check out the original JD Cordell military action thriller available on Amazon.com.
We all have our boundaries. And we expect people to respect them. For instance, people should respect the privacy of your home. You have the right to lock your doors and windows, not because you hate what is outside, but because you love what is inside … your spouse, your children, your dog, your car, your DVD collection. Whatever it is, you have a right to secure and protect it.
Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choose
Gerard Manley Hopkins
You might even put up a fence to contain and protect your dog. Or, you may want to keep intruders out. Perhaps it just serves as a privacy screen. However, it is your right to put up your fence and it is not, in any way, an immoral act.
Thoughts on Scale
Boundaries are not complete inviolable. You have neighbors. You might take a casserole over to a neighbor who is ill, or share your grill for a neighborhood July 4th block party.
On the other side of the coin, if you see your neighbor’s house being burglarized you might call the police. If you see the neighbor’s children having a spat, you might observe just to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand. If somebody is about to get hurt, you might even step in to cool things off. In a worse case scenario, where a child is being abused, you might step up and go to the aid of the child. It is nice to be able to look at yourself in the mirror.
What is the difference in personal boundaries and those between countries? It is only a difference of scale. Why? Because countries are made up of people. People need their boundaries. And, so do countries.
Boundaries are a Separation of Ideas!
I recently heard someone say, “Boundaries are a physical manifestation of the line between good and bad ideas. That statement really struck me. And, after thinking about it, I had to agree. Here is an example of what I mean.
In the controversy over our border with Mexico, some have compared the wall being built along sections of our border to the wall around West Berlin, which was finally torn down.
To put it plainly, this is a terrible and totally dishonest comparison.
At the end of World War II, Europe was carved up into two portions. One portion was allowed to continue on as before. However, the other portion fell under the control of the Soviet Union. This was done to placate Joseph Stalin, whose military forces had indeed helped defeat Adolf Hitler’s armies. As part of the peace plan, Stalin was granted half of Germany and half of Berlin. However, Berlin was deep inside what would become known as East Germany
The Berlin Wall, or Berliner Mauer in German, was a barrier that surrounded West Berlin and prevented access to it from East Berlin and adjacent areas of East Germany during the period from 1961 to 1989. From 1949 to 1961, approximately 2.5 million East Germans fled from East to West Germany. This included many skilled workers, professionals, and intellectuals. Their loss threatened to destroy the economic viability of the East German state. In response, East Germany built a barrier to close off East Germans’ access to West Berlin and hence West Germany.
The original wall, built of barbed wire and cinder blocks, was subsequently replaced by a series of 15 foot concrete walls, topped with barbed wire and guarded with watchtowers, gun emplacements, and mines. By the 1980s that system of walls, electrified fences, and fortifications extended 28 miles dividing the city of Berlin into two parts, and extending a further 75 miles around West Berlin, separating it from the rest of East Germany.
The point is the Berlin wall was not built to keep illegal immigration under control, or to try and block shipments of drugs, or to help prevent human and child sex trafficking by criminal cartels. It was built to keep East Germans in! Nobody, with the possible exception of western spies or the occasional crazies, was ever shot trying to get into East Germany or East Berlin. However, between 1961 and 1989, over 239 people were killed trying to get out. As a child, I remember we would get occasional letters from a relative trapped in East Germany. I remember when the letters stopped. We have no idea what happened.
The Berlin Wall separated ideas of freedom, democracy, and individual rights from the iron hand of totalitarianism. collectivism. and individual subjugation.
A Lack of Boundaries Invites a Lack of Respect
Mexico has a fascinating history and culture, and one that should be respected and appreciated. Then again, so does the United States. But, our cultures are different.
Most Americans would probably say they do not want the Unites States to become another Mexico. Despite Mexico’s interesting history and culture, the country has a long history of governmental corruption and criminal cartels engaged in drug smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, and human trafficking. Hopefully, improvements are being made, but only the passage of time will tell.
Human Trafficking is an abomination. In my opinion, anyone who “just cannot seem too understand” the role border security plays in helping to prevent human trafficking (or any of these other crimes) from occurring is either willfully ignorant or has another agenda, one that is not in the best interests of the United States and its citizens. Or, the victims of these horrific crimes.
Legal … Not Illegal Immigration
Yes. America is a country built on immigration. It was built by immigrants. My ancestors came here from Germany and Switzerland, and possibly England. They worked hard to become good Americans. They did not try to turn America into another Germany or Switzerland; … because they believed in the American dream and wanted to be part of it. Not destroy it!
America has become a force for good on this planet. Does that mean we have never made mistakes. Of course not. But more Americans have given their lives in the defense of other people and countries than any nation on this planet. More American taxpayer dollars have been spent in foreign aid than any other countries. And of course, America should continue to be a force for good! But there is nothing wrong in asking other countries to step up and do their share.
It is neither economically nor physically feasible for the United States to become the refugee camp for the entire planet.
The people of Honduras, El Savador, Guatemala, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, and Somalia, or any other country need to stand up and fight for their country and their people’s interests, just as Americans did over 243 years ago.
America and other countries can certainly help, just as France helped us. But there is an old saying, “You can’t help someone who won’t help themselves.” That saying still holds true today.
Keep America Healthy and Strong
You also cannot help anyone if you are sick, unstable, emotionally, or intellectually bankrupt yourself. The same holds true for a country. In order to be a force for good on the planet, America must be healthy and strong. That means economically, militarily, and emotionally.
Patriotism is not a bad thing.
Patriotism is the driving force behind the success of any country. Patriotism is also what allows a people to withstand periods of trouble and turmoil for the good of the nation. Do you remember the victory gardens or Rosie the Riveter from WW II?
And, perhaps more importantly:
Patriotism is not obedience to government. Patriotism is obedience to the principles for which the government is supposed to stand.
The Circle is Complete …
So America needs to be healthy to maintain its role as a force for good on this planet. America is a defender of freedom, liberty, and human rights around the world.
Boundaries are healthy, normal and necessary for people. This would also include groups of people … and even countries. Boundaries (and borders) are neither immoral nor a “manhood thing” as some want to suggest. They are essential to the health of this Nation.
Clear and healthy borders keep us from selfish desires and wanting to control others. They also protect us from those who lack self-control and yet still want to control us.
Well, it finally happened. I offended somebody simply by wearing my “Unapologetically American” T-shirt! I really don’t give a crap. If you are offended by someone who is proud of the country you are living in, you are the one with the problem. And besides, you can always move.
No, that’s not me in the T-shirt. I didn’t want to offend anyone!
That’s the T-shirt model from Ranger Up where I ordered the shirt sometime ago. And, this is not really a plug for the shirt or Ranger Up. I just wanted you to see exactly what it was this snowflake was offended by. But, if you want to order a shirt to see who you can offend, click here!
What really offends me is how people are now so easily offended!
I have just a couple of things to say about people who are that easily offended.
Being offended doesn’t make you right
If you are shocked by what I say, then you really have no clue as to who I am.
If you don’t care enough to learn about who I am, why should I waste anytime on you?
So, boys and girls, buck up … and put your adult underwear on. This country would not exist today if early explorers, our Founding Fathers, or those who fought to build and protect this great nation were offended every time they heard an opinion that differed from their own.
Put down your cocoa, turn loose that puppy, wipe away those tears, hitch up your britches, and get out into the real world. Develop some backbone and a thicker skin. You will be happier, healthier, and probably live longer.
And, that’s about all I have to say about that!
By the way, if I haven’t offended you so much that you are now quivering in your Nikes, on the verge of tears, and hear the cocoa calling your name, check out the cover to my new book and let me know what you think. Just click here!
Back in 2015, the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum hosted a panel discussion of the Green Berets’ Use of Montagnard Tribesmen During the War in Vietnam
I have been to Patriot Point several times and always enjoy touring the aircraft carrier. the USS Yorktown, and seeing the many naval aircraft on her deck, as well as the destroyer, the USS Laffey (which has an absolutely heroic history), and the submarine, the USS Clamagore (which I understand is destined to be sunk as an artificial reef).
I have done a great deal of research into the Montagnard people for both Serpents Underfoot and it’s “sequel in progress,” Montagnard. I am sorry I missed this symposium. It would have been interesting and helpful.
While really a short description of the symposium, there is also a good bit of information about the Montagnard people. Anyone interested in reading the article can click this link!
Women can certainly be mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. Each is a vitally important role in American society! But, while being all of these amazing things, women can also be fierce and capable warriors. Throughout history, and all around the world, women have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with men, facing their common enemies and fighting battles for survival. Though often outnumbered by their male brothers-in-arms, many brave female warriors have left their indelible mark on American history.
Before changes in the modern U.S. Military, women were not allowed to serve in combat roles. We still had great examples of strong women, who were warriors in their own way, women who effected positive change in America through their bravery, dedication, and hard work.
Here a just a few examples:
A courageous American hero, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, proved to be one of the most effective conductors on the Underground Railroad. “Conducting” was a dangerous job for anyone, doubly so for a former female slave. However, Harriet Tubman lived by a simple creed, “I can’t die but once.”
Susan B Anthony
The words of Thomas Jefferson, “Resistance to Tyranny is Obedience to God,” were often quoted by suffragist Susan B. Anthony at her trial in 1873 for voting. She was fined $100 for her act of civil disobedience. Though she didn’t literally take up arms, no one can deny that Susan B Anthony fought the good fight for woman’s suffrage and helped pave the way for the passage, 14 years after her death in 1906, of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, extending the right to vote to women.
A founding mother of the U.S. civil rights movement, Rosa Parks, stood her ground and stated, “No, I’m not moving to the back of the bus.” Her refusal to budge helped launch the Montgomery bus boycott and reshaped the American civil rights movement forever.
However today, the “no women in combat” rule has changed. I do believe in equal rights and status for all Americans. And, as long as any individual can pass the test and meet the required physical standards to perform a job at an efficient level, that individual should be allowed to perform that job
Today’s Female Warriors
Back in 2011, Congress mandated that the DOD conduct a review of its combat exclusion policy. Two years later, President Obama’s Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, announced plans to rescind the Direct Combat Exclusion Rule.
In December 2015, his successor, Ashton B. Carter, declared that all military jobs would be opened to women as long as they could qualify. The first field artillery cannoneer positions became available to enlisted women in January of 2016.
Jordyn Wallace, one female warrior, enlisted at the Castle Hayne recruiting center one month later.
While there are too many to list, I have selected a few random samples I found online as representative examples of our American female warriors.
Specialist Jordyn Wallace
Jordyn Wallace served with the Second Battalion, 12th field artillery regiment (2-12 FA) … part of the First Stryker Brigade Combat Team. These soldiers support infantry troops from miles away with powerful M 777s, also known as howitzers.
Wallace is a professional soldier who giveS her mission her all. She has earned the respect and admiration of her team and her superiors.
Spcs. Vanessa Bolognese and Aimee Collver
“Bolo’ and “Collver” are two combat medics with Personal Security Detachment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. They kept all their male counterparts healthy and operationally ready, and did so “outside the wire,” their team often operating as an independent element.
“Bolo” and “Collver” are respected by there combat team both for their skills as medics and their professionalism as soldiers. When outside the wire, they move with the team, however when the rest of the team gets to take a break, these two warriors are just beginning to do their jobs.
Maj. General Dawn Dunlap
Maj. General Dunlop is among the most accomplished female fighter pilots in the Air Force’s history. A 1988 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Dunlop has logged more than 3,500 hours flying aircraft including F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 fighters.
All I can say is “Hooah” … and we, as Americans, owe women such as these a great deal of respect and gratitude.
Fox News host and Army veteran Pete Hegseth joined a group of Navy SEALS as they swam across the Hudson to show support for our military veterans and their families.
This is the kind of event that makes me so proud to be an American and to have such respect for those who serve. I think back to the day I raised my right hand and swore my oath, and seeing things like this makes me realize that, if I could, I would do it all again.
The SEALs routed their swim with stops at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, before ending the swim at Battery Park. At each scheduled stop, the SEALs performed a number of pushups and pullups to honor America’s legacy of liberty and diversity, and those who have fought and even paid the ultimate price to preserve them. We owe them so much.
While Fox News host Pete Hegseth is an Army veteran, he bravely jumped into the Hudson River with the Navy SEALS and completed the swim. Hegseth did admit he had a bit of help in the first leg of the swim from one of the SEALS, Kaj Larson, when he got caught up in the strong currents, but he completed the other two legs of the swim just fine.
All I can say is “Hooah” to these amazing Navy SEALS and to Fox New’s Pete Hegseth for showing us all what it means to be a true American Patriot!
All photos courtesy of Fox News.
For more Navy SEAL action, check out my military action thriller titled Serpents Underfoot. It is currently available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover formats, and will soon be out in audio as well.
July 4th, 2019: 243 Years of American Exceptionalism
The 4th of July is just around the corner. Take a minute and think about what that means, and think about how many patriots gave their lives so that we have the opportunities we do have as Americans.
America is a land of equal opportunity. Nobody has the right to tell you how to live, what you can be, how you have to think, what you can say, or whether or not you can protect yourself or your loved ones.
In this country, you have the opportunity to be whatever you choose to be. Yes, you may fail a few times. But you get to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.
That is America. And, it is an America we all need to fight to protect from enemies both foreign and domestic.
Anyway, that’s my political 2 cents for the day.
To help celebrate the 4th of July, check out my great Kindle sale!
On July 4th only …. just .99 for 1/2 day, then 1.99 the second half of the day.
If you are looking for great tales to share around the campfire, then Adirondack Bear Tales is for you. If you are looking for a patriotic action thriller that you won’t be able to put down, then Serpents Underfoot is for you! Get yours at these great holiday prices!
Sophie would certainly appreciate it. It helps keep her in kibble and biscuits!
Happy Veterans Day! In honor of Veterans Day, the Kindle version of Serpents Underfoot will be available from Amazon.com for free on Sunday, November 11th and Monday, November 12th.
There are no gimmicks or requirements! However, if you were to enjoy the book and want to give me a review on Amazon, I would not strenuously object.
A few Happy Veterans Day quotes:
I’m trying to raise the awareness of the troops that, when they deploy and go to war, it’s not just them at war – it’s also their family. Their family is having to go through all the hardships and the stresses.
~ Chis Kyle
The U.S. Military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it. The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they’re protecting us.
~ Tom Clancy
The valor and courage of our young women and men in the armed services are a shining example to all of the world, and we owe them and their families our deepest respect.
~ Bill Frist
And, a few Happy Veterans Day cartoons!
On a more personal note:
We all need to give Veterans Day and our veterans the respect they deserve. Members of my family have served this nation going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Several of my best friends have been Vietnam Vets. This is not unique and I am sure there are many families like mine. People who love this country and are willing to write that blank check to serve and protect it. When you see a veteran … thank him, shake his hand, or even buy his lunch. He has certainly earned it!