Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

Veterans Day 2017

WW II Pacific

What the Veteran Sees

Live as brave men, the gaunt gray man said with sunken eyes.
Go in the direction of thunder at whatever cost. As if describing some deadly game.
At daybreak, we charged together, through the trees. Side-by-side–into a hive of angry bees.
A sudden taste of baptismal fire. Visceral images of friends in elegant repose.
Flowing like mist over muddy fields of red. Below a dark, empty sky.
The symphony of guns fades away. And we the living are left to see what we cannot yet conceive.
The memories of comrades, and their acts of bravery. Hopelessly conflict with all that we have lost.
Incongruous, familiar faces, seen through granite, grey, and black. Fade away like smoke, in the trees–where eagles lay.
— John Fenzel, Veterans Day 2017
 Green Beret with Distinctive Unit Insignia and Flash

About John Fenzel

John Fenzel is a retired senior Army Special Forces officer who has served on battlefields throughout the world. He has served on the personal staff of the Secretary of Defense, as a Special Assistant to the Vice President, as a strategic planner for the Chief of Staff of the Army, and as a White House Fellow during the Clinton and Bush administrations.

He commanded a Special Forces Battalion at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and an Army brigade at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  In the wake of the 9-11 attacks, he served as Staff Director for Tom Ridge in the Homeland Security Council. He was the principal architect of The Homeland Security Advisory System, our nation’s first public warning system for terrorist threats. He is the author of the critically acclaimed thriller, The Lazarus Covenant.

In his 30 years of military service, John has served in numerous command and staff positions around the world.  During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he commanded a Special Forces “A-Team,” training, equipping and advising a Kuwaiti Battalion and accompanying them during the liberation of Kuwait. He has commanded three Special Forces companies, leading the first Army deployments to Pakistan and the Baltic States. In Bosnia, he commanded the special operations teams in the U.S. and British sectors, working closely with the United Nations to secure the indictments and convictions of those responsible for war crimes in Srebrenica.  He is the only active duty American military officer to testify at The Hague in support of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

John is a graduate of the Naval War College and the National War College*. Born in Iowa and raised outside Chicago, John lives with his wife and three children in Annapolis, Maryland.  The Sterling Forest is his second novel.


My Connection to COL John Fenzel

When two paths cross, one never can anticipate the outcome of the encounter. That was the case when I met COL John Fenzel. Our first face-to-face meeting occurred downtown Washington DC near the Army Navy Club. I had brought with me one of the recent ANC Memorial books that I had prepared from a final honors ceremony of a Special Forces Soldier. The reaction was unexpected, but in the next moment, I was the proud recipient of a US Army Accessions Command challenge coin. What later followed was a series of events at Fort Bragg, NC, Andrews Air Force Base and Patuxent Naval Air Station with the US Army’s ambassadors from the skies – The Golden Knights.

Another one of those events was the Army Strong Experience in 2009 held at Fort Meade, Maryland where over several days I was made “Army Stronger” as then the Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren described the results of the exposure on the participants. In addition to another exposure to the Golden Knights, I soon learned about and got involved with the US Army Marksmanship Unit, which is headquartered at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was established by President Dwight D, Eisenhower in 1956 to highlight the proficiency of marksmanship in the Army.

COL Fenzel opened some doors that let me see a part of the US Army that is truly special.

Thank you, COL Fenzel!


*The National War College is headquartered at Roosevelt Hall and one of the colleges of the National Defense University at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, DC











Posted 3 months, 1 week ago at 12:06 pm.

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Starting 2017 – ARMY Magazine January 2017

It is an honor to announce a recent profile in this wonderful magazine of the Association of the US Army written by Chuck Vinch which highlights some of my current projects.  I look back at the last 16 plus years and cherish the time I’ve been allowed to spend

I look back at the last 16 plus years and cherish the time I’ve been allowed to spend among the US military –  from the US Army’s Special Forces, the 3d Infantry Regiment – “The Old Guard” and its fine soldiers along with the specialty platoons – Presidential Salute Battery,  Caisson Platoon.  Then there’s the Golden Knights – The US Army’s Ambassadors from the Sky – several rides in their airplane and BLUE, BLUE SKIES!   The US Army Band – TUSAB – “Pershing’s Own” and so much more.

I’ve highlighted two gems of the US Army’s crown in the books I’ve written:

and this website continues to deliver some of the unique items I find along the way

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Posted 1 year, 1 month ago at 3:47 pm.

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Coming Soon – What I did the summer of 2010.

Smithsonian Kite Festival
Smithsonian Kite Festival

I’ve not had much time to chronicle what I’ve done this summer (Summer began for me in April) … so watch this space for a rather comprehensive view of what I did do…  In the meantime, explore the site and read some of the older posts…

I’m sure you’ll like the exploring …  scroll down and on the left, poke a word and you’ll be able to bring up all the posts in that category –  the BIGGER the word, the more posts…

Posted 7 years, 5 months ago at 11:05 pm.

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2010 National Airborne Day

Head to Fayetteville NC on Saturday 14 AUG 2010…

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Posted 7 years, 6 months ago at 12:42 am.

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Story by: Donna Dixon FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The Golden Knights, the U.S. Army’s official parachute demonstration team, who have just celebrated their 50th Anniversary will be making a historical jump at Silk Hope, NC. The Gold Demonstration team will be conducting this commemorative jump in veneration of their fellow Gold Team demonstrators who lost their lives in a devastating C-47 crash.  Golden Knights - US Army Parachute Team - 50th Anniversary

The jump will take place at the baseball field next to the fire department at 1:00 pm on 17 April 2010 as part of a re-dedication ceremony. Approximately 5000 to 7000 people will be present for this event and the nearby Farm Heritage Day celebration.

March 8, 1973, the military transport left Fort Bragg at 8:18 am carrying 14 members of the Army Golden Knights parachute team to their first performance of the show season at Overland, Kansas. About seven to 12 miles north of Fort Bragg communication with the plane was lost. The plane traveled another forty miles to the Silk Hope area, still without further communication. At approximately 8:45 am, Mrs. Janelle Newlin, who resided on the opposite side of the field, reportedly heard what sounded like an explosion. Looking up, she saw one wing drop off the fuselage and the plane tragically spiraled downward and crashed in a cornfield on the Basil Perry Farm, two miles north of Silk Hope in Northern Chatham County.

It was said that among the pieces of debris that fluttered down onto nearby homes and yards were brightly colored brochures, proclaiming the mission of the Golden Knights, their legendary history and invitations to join the military and possibly come to Assessment and Selection to become members of the team.

For over 37 years this catastrophic event has been memorialized by a stone tablet at the base of the Silk Hope Fire Departments flag pole.

CWO Richard A. Del Conte [P]
PFC Paul D. Albritton
SSG Joseph C. Barbarick
SGT Michael G. Buckley
SSG Bartley L. Bullington
SSG Cecil E. Davis
SSG Raymond C. Kinser Jr
SGT Edward M. Parrish
CWO Rodney H. Pease
SSG Joseph B. Pelter
SSG James F. Rice
SP5 Michael D. Wasley
SGT Francis P. Welch
SSG Robert T. Wolfe



Please join us in this tribute by paying homage to our fallen comrades from the U S Army Parachute Team. For more information about the Golden Knights’ or to learn more about the team’s unique history and to view a schedule of events, visit the GOLDEN KNIGHTS Website.


Posted 7 years, 10 months ago at 1:20 pm.


Мерры Чристмас !

Or for those who cannot read Russian Cyrillic –


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Posted 8 years, 1 month ago at 10:03 pm.


25th Anniversary – US Army Ten Miler

Fort Myer, Virginia Garrison Colors

Fort Myer, Virginia Garrison Colors

For 25 years, this race has drawn competitors from the around the world and treated them to a great running view of the sights of Washington DC – John Michael will be honored to be included to photograph this year’s event… watch this space for more photos. Please check the link below to get more information about the Army Ten Miler (ATM) Hooah!

“The 25th Army Ten-Miler takes place Sunday, Oct. 4, in Washington, D.C. This Army tradition annually attracts runners from all over the world and of a variety of experience levels, to run a course that starts and finishes at the Pentagon, and passes such national landmarks as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. Race weekend activities include a two-day race expo, clinics and a press conference. Race day features The Golden Knights – the U.S. Army’s official parachute demonstration team, Youth Runs, a Post Race Party featuring bands, entertainment and a live broadcast, the HOOAH Tent Zone, and a Youth Activity Zone complete with displays, inflatables, the GEICO Gecko, and much more. For more information on the district’s premier running event, visit”


Posted 8 years, 4 months ago at 4:50 am.

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Canadian Royal Mounted Police Sunset Ceremony Ottawa, ON


Helena Montana Airshow, MT

Posted 8 years, 8 months ago at 10:33 am.

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Quad City Air Show, IA

For more information visit…


Posted 8 years, 8 months ago at 11:46 am.

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GOLD DEMONSTRATION TEAM – Ocean City Airshow, Ocean City, MD

Posted 8 years, 8 months ago at 9:20 pm.

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