Saturday, October 31, 2009

Medal of Honor Long Overdue for Heroic Hawaiian

The Medal of Honor will likely finally be awarded to this heroic Hawaiian warrior. His story is inspiring in every way. Where do we find such men?

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Medal of Honor Likely for Isle Man

October 28, 2009
Knight Ridder/Tribune

A Maui man who gave his life in a one-man stand during the Korean War against "overwhelming numbers" of enemy troops so fellow Soldiers could survive," is expected to be approved today for the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award.

The addition of Army Pfc. Anthony T. Kahoohanohano's name to the Medal of Honor roll represents a decadelong effort by his family and Hawaii lawmakers to upgrade the Distinguished Service Cross he received and to give him the recognition they say he deserves.

Kahoohanohano, who was with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, of the 7th Infantry Division, was in charge of a machine gun squad supporting a company of Soldiers as a much larger enemy force advanced in the vicinity of Chup'a-ri, Korea, on Sept. 1, 1951.

Fight to the Death

According to his posthumously awarded Distinguished Service Cross citation, as the men fell back, Kahoohanohano -- although already wounded in the shoulder -- ordered his squad to a more defensible position while he gathered grenades and returned alone to the machine gun post.

As enemy troops tried to overrun Kahoohanohano's position, the 21-year-old from Wailuku fought back with bullets, grenades and then his hands, according to the citation.

"Private Kahoohanohano fought fiercely and courageously, delivering deadly accurate fire into the ranks of the onrushing enemy" until he was killed, the citation states.

A counterattack was launched, and the U.S. troops found 11 dead enemy Soldiers in front of Kahoohanohano's position, and two in the gun emplacement itself who had been beaten to death with an entrenching tool.

The Distinguished Service Cross was presented to the Soldier's family on Maui in 1952.

The Medal of Honor award is expected to be approved today with President Obama's signing of the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act in the White House Rose Garden.

The upgrade of Kahoohanohano's recognition for valor represents a 10-year quest by the family started by Abel Kahoohanohano Sr., one of Anthony's brothers, and taken up by Abel's son, George Kahoohanohano, after his father died.

A 10-year Effort

A recommendation for a Medal of Honor was made by the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink in 2001 but the request was denied by the Army. U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, then took up the cause.

George Kahoohanohano said his uncle's actions "more than earned the Medal of Honor."

Then-Army Secretary Pete Geren wrote to Akaka in March saying that after giving the request "careful, personal consideration, I have determined that the Medal of Honor is the appropriate award to recognize Private First Class Kahoohanohano's heroic actions."

All six Kahoohanohano brothers served in the military -- four in the active duty Army, one in the Marines and another in the National Guard.

Madeline Kahoohanohano remembered Anthony, her brother-in-law, as a fearless man of his word. The son of a police officer, he was a football and basketball standout at St. Anthony's School for Boys.

"He didn't seem to be afraid of anyone," Madeline Kahoohanohano said. "He always was a toughie. He always used to stand up -- even for his younger brothers. He would step up and protect his younger brothers."

From Knight Ridder/Tribune

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Charles M. Grist

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Australian Singers Pay Tribute to American Military

Some of the best friends we made in Iraq were the extraordinary Australian soldiers. We shared security duties many times on joint convoys. It's important to all of our friends down under that they know how much we appreciate them for their service and their friendship.

You may not have heard of this group - the Ten Tenors - from Australia, but they have been traveling the world singing, and they offer this wonderful tribute to the United States of America's men and women in uniform. Wonderful singing and beautiful images.

Turn up your volume, sit back, and enjoy. This is beautiful.


Charles M. Grist

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Upcoming Interview on my book: "My Last War: A Vietnam Veteran's Tour in Iraq"

Please check out this link for information about an upcoming radio interview about the book. As we get more information out via my publicist, we hope to have more of these events.

Please check out the website for the book at and recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to read it, I would love to hear from you at my email address of


Charles M. Grist

Friday, October 23, 2009

American Ranger the Cop: An Old Case Springs to Life

The one thing about being a cop is that you never know when some old case is going to raise its head once again.

Several years ago, my squad located an armed robber in a house near the crime scene. I managed to get a post-Miranda confession to the robbery from the suspect, he was identified by the victim, he was convicted, and he was sent to prison.

While one of our detectives was interviewing him at the police department, I checked on an arrest warrant for the guy from another state. I called the detective who handled the case, got the details of the major crime, and managed to get the robber to confess to the crime in the other state.

Now the trial in that state is finally happening, so I have to testify about the confession.

That's okay; glad to do it. Anything to keep a bad guy off the street.

Charles M. Grist

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Counterterror Strategy for Afghanistan & Pakistan - From the Warrior Legacy Institute

The Warrior Legacy Institute is sometimes described as a "people's think tank" and it offers a perspective on the strategy in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This release also includes a link to their website which has videos and other information. This is presented here as simply another source of information for all of us as we watch the critical days ahead in the War on Terror:

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For immediate release:
October 22, 2009

Warrior Legacy Institute releases layperson's guide to Counterterror strategy for Afghanistan & Pakistan

There is an important debate underway about what strategy we should pursue in Afghanistan. This decision is important for all Americans, but many don't have a very good understanding of both the Population-Centric Counterinsurgency strategy advocated by Gen. McChrystal and a Counterterrorism strategy. The Warrior Legacy Institute (WLI) releases a paper today on Counterterror that doesn't require a military background to understand. This is a complement to the paper we released last week on Population-Centric Counterinsurgency. We are also releasing two short videos on these topics. Both the papers and videos are designed for you and anyone you want to share them with. They were produced for you and anyone you want to share them with. We believe that educating the public about the choices will allow them to make informed decisions about what they think is best.

The Warrior Legacy Institute (WLI) is a “people's think tank” designed to take the most important national security issues and explain them in simple language to the American people. The papers are designed for those who have an interest in what our strategies actually are, but who do not have a deep knowledge of military affairs. The papers and companion videos can be found here.

The debate about what our plan for Afghanistan should be is happening now, WLI believes all Americans should have a clear understanding of the specifics under consideration.



Jim Hanson
Director, Warrior Legacy Institute

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Charles M. Grist

Monday, October 19, 2009

Private Contractors Paying a Heavy Price in Iraq and Afghanistan

During my tour in Iraq in 2004, I was proud to meet many of the private contractors who served in civilian jobs. These men and women protected diplomats, guarded facilities, drove trucks, and filled a multitude of jobs that had to be done. They have also suffered comrades killed and wounded.

The following article from the Orlando Sentinel via the Chicago Tribune, talks about the tragedy of one of those civilians wounded in 2004 (Reggie Lane, pictured above). Sadly, these heroes don't have the same support system that awaits soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

This story will break your heart:

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In U.S. wars, contractors' pain is private

They suffer without support available to military veterans

By T. Christian Miller
Special to Tribune Newspapers
October 18, 2009

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. - -- A nurse rocked him awake as pale dawn light crept into the room. "C'mon now, c'mon," the nurse murmured. "Time to get up."

Reggie Lane was once a hulking man of 260 pounds. Friends called him "Big Dad." Now he weighed less than 200 pounds and his brain was severely damaged. He groaned angry, wordless cries.

The nurse moved fast. Two bursts of deodorant spray under each useless arm. Then he dressed Lane and used a mechanical arm to hoist him into a wheelchair.

Lane's head fell forward, his chin buried in his chest. His legs crossed and uncrossed involuntarily. His left index finger was rigid and pointed, as if frozen in permanent accusation.

In 2004, Lane was driving a fuel truck in Iraq for a defense contractor when insurgents attacked his convoy with rocket-propelled grenades. For most of the five years since, Lane, now 60, has spent his days in silence, a reminder of the hidden costs of relying on civilian contract workers to support the U.S. war effort.

His wife, Linda, said visiting her husband was difficult. They had been childhood friends and were fiercely loyal to each other.

"He was a good man. He paid his bills. He took care of his family," she said, her breathing labored from a pulmonary disease. "He's a human being who fought for his country. He doesn't deserve to be thrown away."

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has depended on contract workers more than in any previous conflict -- to cook meals for troops, wash laundry, deliver supplies and protect diplomats, among other tasks. Tens of thousands of civilians have worked in the two battle zones, often facing the same dangers as U.S. soldiers and suffering the same kinds of injuries.

Contract workers from the U.S. have been mostly men, primarily middle-age, many of them military veterans drawn by money, patriotism or both, according to interviews and public records.

Nearly 1,600 civilian workers -- both Americans and foreign nationals -- have died in the two war zones. Thousands more have been injured.

Many of the civilians have come home as military veterans in all but name, sometimes with lifelong disabilities but without the support network available to soldiers.

"These guys are like the Vietnam vets of this generation," said Lee Frederiksen, a psychologist who worked for Mission Critical Psychological Services, a Chicago-based firm that provides counseling for war-zone workers. "The normal support that you would get if you were injured in the line of duty as a police officer or if you were injured in the military ... just doesn't exist."

Before Reggie Lane went to Iraq, he and Linda Lane worked as a truck-driving team, steering tractor-trailers across the country.

But work was haphazard, and together they made about $32,000 a year. They had a hard time keeping up with bills and twice filed for bankruptcy.

In the fall of 2003, Linda heard that defense contractor KBR Inc. was hiring truck drivers to deliver fuel, food and supplies for the military in Iraq. The salary was $88,000 a year, more than they had ever earned.

By November of that year, Reggie was on his way to Iraq.

"He didn't go over there to fight a war. He went over there because (KBR) said you'll have armed guards," Linda said. "They promised big money. You'll be protected, no problem."

More than five years have passed since Lane's convoy was attacked. The total cost of Lane's care for the rest of his life could be as much as $8.9 million, according to an estimate from the insurance company AIG. The bill will be paid by the federal government, which reimburses insurers for combat-related claims from war-zone workers.

On July 10, Linda Lane died. She had been hospitalized after suffering respiratory distress, family members said.

Reggie Lane let out a wail when relatives told him the news. "I had never heard anything like that before," said Bev Glasgow, who runs Lane's current foster home.

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If anyone knows of any organization dedicated to helping these wounded civilian warriors, please let me know, and I will post that information here.

Charles M. Grist
(The website for my book: "My Last War: A Vietnam Veteran's Tour in Iraq")

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Victory: The Conquest of the Enemy - or His Unconditional Surrender

Try to picture this scenario.

You stand still while I draw a circle on the ground around you. Now, here are the rules for this game.

If I want to hit you, I can throw rocks at you from outside the circle, or I can step inside the circle, punch you in the mouth, and then jump outside the circle. You, unfortunately, can only hit me back when I am inside the circle, not when I am in my “safe haven” outside the circle. You can throw a few rocks at me when I’m outside the circle, but all I have to do is to move or hide to avoid getting hit.

This, my friends, is Afghanistan. We are in the circle. The insurgents can enter the country to attack us, and then run to safety into Pakistan (or Iran). We can fly some drones over them and fire a few missiles, but all they need to do to survive is stay out of sight. We have all the rules; the bad guys have none.

This was also Vietnam. While our soldiers were “imprisoned” within the borders of South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese moved at will through neighboring Laos and Cambodia. They had their “safe havens” where they trained, resupplied, and “relaxed”. No fear of being attacked by us – except in 1970 when we briefly kicked their rear ends in Cambodia before politics forced us to return to the "walls" of South Vietnam.

In fact, we waged a bloody war against North Vietnam – inside South Vietnam, but we never mounted a land invasion of the north. We bombed their bridges, factories, and military facilities, but they simply rebuilt them. We waged a long, “half war” in Vietnam; we are at risk of waging another such war in Afghanistan.

When the Al Qaeda animals attacked us, we went after them. President Bush said you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. There shouldn’t have been one square inch of ground on the face of the earth where these bastards could hide from us. Yet we drove them into Pakistan, thus creating a brand new safe haven to use as a base for creating new terrorists.

Now we are withdrawing from the Afghan countryside, moving our troops back to protect the population centers because we don’t have enough soldiers to secure the entire country. If we will simply look back in history at the French colonial experience in Indochina (Vietnam), we will see that France chose to primarily secure the cities and population centers. That strategy allowed the Viet Minh (the forerunners of the Viet Cong) to infest the countryside at will.

The Viet Minh, as you may know, dealt the French a devastating defeat at Dien Bien Phu and drove them out of Indochina with their tails between their legs.

If we have any chance to succeed in Afghanistan, it will require that we listen to our military commanders. We must give them the resources they need to protect both the cities and the countryside. We must also convince Pakistan that they must save their own country from the Islamic fundamentalist plague. The best way to do that is to join forces with us in a massive ground offensive in the tribal areas. Once we wipe out the terrorists and their bases, we will leave, and Pakistan can establish law and order in these mountain strongholds.

There is only one way to fight the war in Afghanistan. We must fight it to win. Victory, by surrender or by conquest, is the only way to defeat any enemy…

Charles M. Grist
Also check out: - The website for the book about the C.O.B.R.A. Team - My Team's website.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Trailer for "My Last War"

Take a look at the book trailer for "My Last War: A Vietnam Veteran's Tour in Iraq". Then take a look at the website at

Thanks for checking in with "American Ranger".

Charles M. Grist

"My Last War" is on Barnes & Noble's Rising Star Special Collection

I am pleased that my book is listed in the Rising Star Special Collection on the Barnes and Noble website. The link to that page is .

I hope you will forward this link to your family and friends. I would also invite you to visit the website for the book at where you can watch the book trailer and learn about the book.

Charles M. Grist

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Book About the C.O.B.R.A. Team is Here!

I am pleased to announce that my book, "My Last War: A Vietnam Veteran's Tour in Iraq" is available as of this week. I hope you will visit my new website at You can learn about the book, view the book trailer, and, hopefully, buy the book!

As many of you know, finishing "My Last War" has been an adventure. Some of you previewed earlier versions, but I am proud of the finished product.

I have been honored to serve with warriors in two separate conflicts a generation apart. It is my sincere wish that my fellow veterans of Vietnam and Operation Iraqi Freedom will enjoy the story of the C.O.B.R.A. Team as told by this old Vietnam vet.

I hope you will also let me know how you like the book by commenting here or by sending me an email at

As of today, the book is available through Barnes and Noble's website and my publishers website. will be updated regularly as new outlets are added including

Thanks for checking out "American Ranger" and I hope you enjoy the book.

Charles M. Grist