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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted 1 month ago at 12:06 pm.

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ARMY MAGAZINE JANUARY 2017

ARMY MAGAZINE JANUARY 2017

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 11 months, 1 week ago at 3:47 pm.

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Rangers Lead the Way – A Ranger is Laid to Rest

29 November 2016 – Beaufort National Cemetery

In a military honors ceremony, a hero was laid to rest today.   One who gave more than his twenty years of service in the US Army.

major gerard m devlin

MAJOR Gerard “Jerry” M. Devlin USA Ret. fought in two wars – Korea and Vietnam – it was a tour in Vietnam where he earned the Distinguished Service Cross awarded for his gallantry and valor during that conflict.  Beyond his service to the United States – his twenty years in the US Army, he became an author and military historian.

I met Jerry at an event commemorating Operation Dragoon, the second invasion of France during WW II.  He was introduced as the author of the book Paratrooper considered “The Bible of the Airborne”.  As I was in midst of completion of my first book Images of America  – Fort Myer, I shared that I was a new soon-to-be-published author. That was the beginning of a great friendship which was much more with his sage advice and insights.

 

I secured a copy of Paratrooper and immediately delved into the book.  I found it to be well presented and very informative.   Since Jerry lived in South Carolina and I was heading there in a few months, I contacted him to get the book autographed. What was supposed to be “over coffee” turned out to be a rather significant meeting. It also included LTG E. M. “Fly”  Flanagan, who commanded the Special Forces of the US Army in 1968 to 1971 and the author of the book Airborne.

The friendship continued and the coaching about the publishing world along with tips about successful book promotion came along with it.  Much sage advice was provided.  My annual trips to South Carolina always included some time with Jerry.  He also expanded my network in many ways, including befriending the command historian of the XVIII Airborne Corps.

We had what I believe a very symbiotic friendship. My second book,  Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair has been a great success with the insights and coaching from Jerry.   While he was working on a book about LTG William P. Yarborough,  The Father of the Modern Green Berets, I would locate items that might have been of interest or spoken to someone who had contact with the general.

I am thankful to have met him and shared many wonderful minutes with him.  He’ll be sorely missed.

I set up a memorial to Jerry on Find-A-Grave’s website

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Posted 1 year ago at 2:00 pm.

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An Interview with COL Roger Donlon USA (Ret.)

US Army Special Forces Distinctive Unit Insignia

Special Forces
Distinctive Unit Insignia

COL Roger Donlon USA (Ret.) is a Medal of Honor recipient, but a unique one. He is the first Special Forces Soldier to receive the medal and the first during the Vietnam war.

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Posted 1 year, 8 months ago at 11:10 am.

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A Milestone in Special Forces is Finally Honored

It WAS October 12, 1961, when a visit by then-President John F. Kennedy to Fort Bragg, North Carolina that would turn the tide and raise the awareness of these elite Soldiers of the US Army and award them officially their badge of honor – “The Green Beret”.   The President met General William P Yarborough and saw the Special Forces in action at McKellars Pond.

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Posted 5 years, 8 months ago at 7:12 am.

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A President is Laid to Rest

Eternal Flame at President Kennedy's Grave

Eternal Flame at President Kennedy's Grave

25 NOV 1963 –  The world was focused on Washington DC and Arlington National Cemetery, for the United States of America was paying final honors to it’s fallen President.

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Posted 6 years ago at 12:13 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, 4 months ago at 12:42 am.

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Horse Soldiers

Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan (t)Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan by Doug Stanton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I couldn’t put this book down, the author presents a great understanding of “Why we fight now…” and how the US Army Special Forces is so great at what they do.

Thank you to all who gave the ultimate sacrifice and those who continue to give all they do.

This book is a MUST READ!

‘Tis a shame that Amb Bremmer, didn’t let them do their job in Iraq. We’d be out of there long ago.

BUY THE BOOK ON AMAZON – Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan

View all my reviews >>

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Posted 7 years, 5 months ago at 11:03 pm.

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Мерры Чристмас !

Or for those who cannot read Russian Cyrillic –

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Posted 7 years, 11 months ago at 10:03 pm.

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Darrell “Shifty” Powers

12 December 2009 – It was “Wreaths Across America” day on Saturday and 15,000 wreaths were placed on several sections of Arlington National Cemetery.  I spent a few hours at Arlington National Cemetery after all the crowds were gone from the morning’s event.

And as I reflected walking  among those tribute bedecked stones of the contribution of these who have served, I thought of something that was recently sent to me by one of my Special Forces friends… I thought I’d share it with you.

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Posted 8 years ago at 1:32 pm.

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