Monday, November 30, 2009

American Ranger ALERT: We Must Hunt Down This Cop-Killer

All Americans, especially those in Washington state, need to keep a lookout for MAURICE CLEMMONS, the alleged murderer of four cops in a cowardly ambush killing. The following article is from Fox News:

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Police Seek Ex-Con in Ambush on Wash. Officers
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Fox News

A man with an extensive criminal past — including a lengthy prison sentence commuted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee nearly a decade ago — was being sought Sunday in a deadly ambush on four police officers who were gunned down inside a coffee shop.

Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer told reporters that Maurice Clemmons, 37, was believed to have been in the area around the time of the shooting, but declined to say what evidence might link him to the shooting.

Clemmons has an extensive violent criminal history from Arkansas, including aggravated robbery and theft, the sheriff's office said. He also recently was arrested and charged in Washington state for assaulting a police officer, and second-degree rape of a child. Using a bail bondsman, he posted $150,000 and was released from jail last week.

Still unclear was why a man entered the coffee shop and gunned down Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; and Officers Ronald Owens, 37; Tina Griswold, 40; and Greg Richards 42.

We have no motive at all," Troyer said. "I don't think when we find out what it is, it will be anything that makes any sense or be worth it."

The four officers were with the 100-member police department of Lakewood, which adjoins the unincorporated area of Parkland, where the shootings took place.

Richards' sister-in-law, Melanie Burwell, called the shooting "senseless."

"He didn't have a mean bone in his body," she said. "If there were more people in the world like Greg, things like this wouldn't happen.

An impromptu memorial of an American flag, flowers and candles decorated the front yard at Renninger's home. His family declined to speak with reporters.

On Sunday night, a motorcade of dozens of police cars and motorcycles with lights flashing escorted the bodies of the four officers to the medical examiner's office.

Troyer said investigators believe two of the officers were killed while sitting in the shop, and a third was shot dead after standing up. The fourth apparently "gave up a good fight."

"We believe there was a struggle, a commotion, a fight ... that he fought the guy all the way out the door," Troyer said. "We hope that he hit him." Investigators were asking area medical providers to report any gunshot wounds.

In 1989, Clemmons, then 17, was convicted in Little Rock for aggravated robbery. He was paroled in 2000 after Huckabee commuted Clemmons' 95-year prison sentence. Huckabee, who was criticized during his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 for granting many clemencies and commutations, cited Clemmons' youth. Clemmons later violated his parole, was returned to prison and released in 2004.

Troyer said the gunman entered the coffee house and walked toward the counter as if to place an order. A barista saw a gun when the man opened his jacket and fled out the back door. The man then turned and opened fire on the officers as they sat working on their laptops

Troyer said the attack was clearly targeted at the officers, not a robbery gone bad.

"This was more of an execution. Walk in with the specific mindset to shoot police officers," he said. "There were marked patrol cars outside and they were all in uniform."

Troyer said the officers were catching up on paperwork at the beginning of their shifts when they were attacked at 8:15 a.m.

Two employees and a few other customers were in the shop during the attack. None were injured. All were interviewed by the Pierce County sheriff's investigators.

There was no indication of any connection with the Halloween night shooting of a Seattle police officer.

Authorities say the man charged with that shooting also firebombed four police vehicles in October as part of a "one-man war" against law enforcement. Christopher Monfort, 41, was arrested after being wounded in a firefight with police days after the Seattle shooting. He remains hospitalized in stable condition, the hospital said Sunday.

The officers killed Sunday were a patrol squad made up of three officers and their sergeant. No threats had been made against them or other officers in the region, sheriff's officials said.

"We won't know if it's a copycat effect or what it was until we get the case solved," Troyer said.

The coffee shop, part of a popular local chain, is on a side street near McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, about 35 miles south of Seattle. The shop is in a small retail center alongside two restaurants, a cigar store and a nail salon.

Investigators were checking surveillance video from multiple sources, trying to identify a possible getaway car, Troyer said.

"We lost people we care about. We're working to find out who did this and deal with him." Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor told reporters at the scene.

* * * *

This guy needs to be brought to justice ASAP....

Charles M. Grist

The Future in Afghanistan from General Petraeus

The following article from Parade Magazine is written by Colonel Jack Jacobs, my company commander when I was in Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1969. He was an extraordinary young man as a captain then; he has become an expert commentator for NBC and has written his own book about his military experiences. As you will see at the end of the article, Jacobs was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam. He received this award just before our class graduated from OCS.

* * * *

He oversees U.S. forces in 20 countries—including Iraq and Afghanistan -
General Petraeus Gives A War Briefing

by Col. Jack Jacobs

published: 11/29/2009 in Parade Magazine

He looks like a wiry, weather-beaten cowboy, a coiled spring with a leather face. He talks quietly, in measured phrases. With a neutral accent you can’t quite place, his speech has a comforting cadence. Still, you can almost feel the dynamic tension in his brain as he pauses from time to time to choose his words carefully.

He is U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the boss of Central Command. He is responsible for everything that happens—or fails to happen—in an area of operations that spans 20 countries in Southwest and Central Asia, including two where American troops face danger and death every day: Iraq and Afghanistan.

As President Barack Obama recently studied his national-security team’s recommendations on how to prosecute the war in Afghanistan, I spoke with Petraeus at his headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.

Thirty-five years ago, I was an Army captain on the faculty at West Point, and Petraeus was a young cadet there. I remember him well. He was soft-spoken, but his eyes betrayed an intense, almost burning, spirit. I asked him why he became a soldier in the first place, and he said, “I lived not far from West Point and became familiar with its people. They had discipline and were dedicated, and I wanted to be just like them.”

Petraeus graduated among the top 5% of his class and chose to join the infantry. He became a paratrooper and a Ranger and was promoted rapidly. The Army sent him to graduate school, and he earned a Ph.D. from Princeton. In 2000, he was promoted to brigadier general. His subsequent rise from one star to four was extraordinarily swift.

Some critics say that Petraeus has always been voraciously ambitious, with his sights set on the highest rank and responsibility, but the general himself said, surprisingly, “Even at West Point I was never committed to a long career in the Army and instead fell in love with it incrementally.” Whatever his thirst for authority, he is now in charge of campaigns whose outcomes will affect America’s security for decades to come.

Petraeus made no bones about the problems he sees in Afghanistan, where operations are under the command of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who reports to Petraeus and was two years behind him at West Point. “Security has deteriorated in the course of the last two years,” Petraeus said, and he agreed with the assessment of his boss, Adm. Michael Mullen, who is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the situation in Afghanistan is now perilous.

Petraeus acknowledges that after eight years of war against a determined and elusive enemy, many Americans, including some members of Congress, question whether the war in Afghanistan remains worth fighting. Petraeus himself, however, has no such doubts, even as he predicts that the campaign there could last another decade—or even longer.

After quickly ousting the Taliban and its al-Qaeda comrades in 2001, the general explained, the U.S. became preoccupied with Iraq. Afghanistan was ignored, and the enemy returned. Permitting Afghanistan once again to become a homeland for Islamic terrorists and revolutionaries—as it is currently on the verge of becoming—creates too much danger for a large portion of the world, Petraeus said. Like McChrystal, he believes that the U.S. must fight both the terrorists of al-Qaeda and the insurgents of the Taliban—and that doing so successfully will require more troops.

The decision to reduce U.S. forces in Iraq from the current 120,000 to about 50,000 by August will allow some troops to be shifted to Afghanistan, where about 68,000 Americans already serve. But what kind of forces does the U.S. need there?

“Afghanistan is not Iraq,” Petraeus said. “Iraq has had strong central government for a long time. Afghanistan has not.” His view on the nature of power in Afghanistan—namely, that village and tribal traditions are what matter—results in a strategy far less dependent on massive force and more on helping local leaders provide for, and protect, their people. From such a perspective, conventional units like infantry brigades are less useful than special-operations forces—small, nimble, clandestine outfits that can eliminate pockets of terrorists in the most inaccessible places and train local militias to defend themselves.

I asked whether the U.S. has enough unconventional troops to implement such a strategy effectively. “You’re right,” the general replied. “We don’t have sufficient people who are trained in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. But Secretary [of Defense Robert] Gates has directed an expansion of these forces. It’s a growth industry, and we will get what we require.”

The war in Afghanistan is complicated by the nature of the enemy. Its fighters don’t wear uniforms that identify them as Taliban or al-Qaeda. “There is a wide spectrum of enemy,” Petraeus said. “There are a few true believers, but there are many others who support the enemy only because they feel threatened or intimidated and are just trying to survive.”

Any strategy the U.S. puts in place in Afghanistan will be affected by the problems of its neighbor, Pakistan, a nation that is politically fragmented, culturally divided, unable to control large swaths of territory within its own borders—and armed with nuclear weapons.

“I used to think that Iran was the most dangerous place on earth,” I told Petraeus, “but now I’m not so sure. It’s probably Pakistan.”

He reflected silently for a long moment. “To be sure,” he said finally, “Pakistan is dangerous. But something happened about six months ago that may improve security in the region for a long time to come. The Pakistani military, government, and clergy joined hands and dedicated themselves to the elimination of security threats inside Pakistan.”

After the U.S. invasion in 2001, Petraeus went on, the Taliban fled Afghanistan for the lawless tribal territories of neighboring Pakistan. There, its fighters lived largely undisturbed. Eventually, they began to operate openly and with ease. In April, they captured Buner, a district of 500,000 people only 60 miles from Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. Though ultimately routed from the area, the Taliban’s resurgence was a wake-up call to Pakistan’s fractured leadership.

At the time of my conversation with Petraeus, Pakistan’s army was on the offensive in South Waziristan, a border province insurgents use as a staging area for attacks on Americans in Afghanistan. Thus far, the results on the battlefield had been good, but the Taliban was retaliating with deadly suicide bombings designed to weaken Pakistan’s resolve.

“The Pakistanis should be commended for their courage,” Petraeus said. Yet his statement begged the question of how long Pakistan’s fortitude can persist in the face of increasing carnage. Weakness in Pakistan will make Petraeus’ job in Afghanistan extremely difficult, perhaps even impossible.

Once the President settles on a strategy for Afghanistan, I asked, what will America need, besides more troops and good intelligence? “Time,” Petraeus replied, “and, as General McChrystal observed, lots of humility.”

Petraeus was deeply moved by an occasion in July 2008 when he presided over the simultaneous re-enlistment of hundreds of U.S. troops. Many had already served three tours in combat and were facing yet another separation from family and friends. “I don’t think I will ever forget the strength of their commitment to service and sacrifice,” he said.

I have met many generals and admirals. Many have often been outspoken, opinionated, and occasionally impolitic, especially in difficult circumstances. David Petraeus seems different. While all professed a love of their nation, Petraeus echoed my own experience and that of many other combat veterans.

“We fight to defend the country, and we fight to accomplish the mission,” he said. “But most of all, especially when combat is most difficult and dangerous, we fight for each other.”

Col. Jack Jacobs (U.S. Army, ret.) is the author of “If Not Now, When?: Duty and Sacrifice in America’s Time of Need” and the on-camera military analyst for NBC. He received the Medal of Honor in 1969 for bravery in combat in Vietnam.

* * * *

If you put a man in charge because you have faith in his leadership abilities, then LET HIM LEAD. General Petraeus has stated his plan for Afghanistan. Considering his success in Iraq, he should be given the chance to carry out his strategy in Afghanistan as well.

Charles M. Grist

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Remember Our Troops at Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day in 1970, my platoon and I worked our way toward a landing zone where we were scheduled to receive a Thanksgiving dinner as part of a resupply. A few hundred meters short of the landing zone, we stumbled upon a North Vietnamese bunker complex which was, thankfully, unoccupied.

It was a gigantic complex, complete with large bunkers and even classrooms. We had to clear every single structure, but there were no bad guys or enemy supplies. I radioed the coordinates to my company commander, and we moved to the landing zone to wait for the resupply helicopter.

A couple of Red Cross girls (we called them Donut Dollies) were on the chopper, and they delivered our turkey, stuffing and other food. It was great to see a couple of attractive "round-eyed" girls. We were out in the jungle with enemy soldiers not very far away, but the touch of Americana raised everyone's spirits.

Just as we were about to enjoy the food, we received word that our unit was dropping gas on the bunkers we had cleared. This was an effort to make them unusable for the enemy. Unfortunately, those making the drop misjudged the wind, and we started to get a little tingling in our eyes.

We had to pack up everything, including the Thanksgiving meal and the Donut Dollies, and move to another landing zone a long distance away. The girls weren't used to moving through the jungle, so they were understandably a little scared about the proximity of the bad guys.

We eventually made it to the other landing zone and enjoyed the meal. The Red Cross girls flew away on the helicopter while we moved out on our next mission - with full stomachs and renewed energy.

Today, in Iraq, Afghanistan and other lesser known places around the world, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are holding the line in the war on terror. They have placed their lives on the line for all of us, and some of them have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Remember them in your prayers on Thanksgiving. Without their efforts, this would be a much different world.

For my fellow warriors who may read this, may God protect you this day and every day. You are indeed appreciated by those you left behind...

Charles M. Grist

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Cop's World: Sometimes It Ain't Easy

The old woman died while her husband spent the night in the hospital. She was 83; he was 87. They had been married for over sixty years.

Shortly after the paramedics pronounced her dead, the old man arrived home. Along with another officer, I met him at his car and informed him of his wife's passing. He was stoic but obviously shaken.

I stood by with a social worker while the funeral home prepared to remove the old woman's body. Then the old man asked if he could see his wife one more time.

We walked him up the stairs to his apartment. Just climbing those stairs was tough for the old man because time has taken its toll. Walking is difficult, even with a cane. With halting steps, he entered the bedroom where his wife had been found; we waited by the door.

The old man walked up to the woman with whom he had shared over sixty years. He touched her face, her neck, and her hand. We had learned that there were no other family members and, at their age, the elderly couple had outlived all of their friends. The old man was now completely alone.

After a couple of minutes, he slowly turned and started to walk out of the bedroom. Then he stopped and turned to look at his wife again. With halting steps aided only by the cane, he walked up to her for the last time. He touched her face, looking at her as if he were waiting for her to open her eyes and smile. To tell you the truth, I was starting to have a tough time myself because the emotion of the moment was affecting all of us. Yeah, cops have feelings too.

The old man came out of the room and sat in a living room chair. Looking up at the social worker, he said, "What do I do now?" I looked around the small apartment and, even though I had never met the couple, the place now had an eerie emptiness about it. There was an unfinished sandwich on the kitchen counter. Next to the television was a stack of old movies from the 1940s. I looked at the small loveseat and pictured them sitting together, holding hands, and sharing memories while they watched some old Fred Astaire movie.

There was a time when they were young, when they danced to the music from some big band, when they looked into each other's eyes and shared their hopes and dreams. They had lived that future, but one of them was destined to be the first to die. The old man must now walk alone into a hazy, solitary future.

The rest of us will gather with our families on Thanksgiving. We will laugh, share food and memories, and savor the joy that fills our homes on holidays. The old man will sit alone, grieving for his lost love, and pondering the uncertain days ahead.

When we say our prayers before our Thanksgiving feast, give thanks, but also remember those whose own holiday will be a lonely one.

Remember the old man...

Charles M. Grist

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Night Shift is a Health Risk for Cops

The following article appeared in today's Orlando Sentinel. Anyone who has had to work overnight shifts will relate to this:

* * * *

Health risk for cops: Night beat

By Jeannine Stein, Tribune Newspapers

Midnight shift workers often find it hard to get enough quality sleep on a consistent basis. Police officers are not exempt, often working late shifts and overtime as part of their jobs.

A new study suggests that their schedule may cause cops to develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms including high blood pressure, insulin resistance and high triglycerides that advance development of such conditions as stroke, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

The research, published in the current issue of Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, focused on 98 police officers who were part of the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress study, which began in 2003. The participants had their blood pressure checked, took a blood test and had their waist circumference measured. They also filled out a questionnaire focusing on lifestyle choices such as sleep habits, physical activity, smoking and alcohol use.

Researchers discovered that in general, those on afternoon and midnight shifts were younger than those working during the day, and predominantly male. Overall, 30 percent of the police officers on the night shift had metabolic syndrome. In the general population, that number was 21 percent, taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The younger officers on the night shift (average age 36.5 years) also had higher rates of metabolic syndrome than their age group in the general population.

* * * *

For those of us who have worked these shifts, such information really comes as no surprise.

Charles M. Grist

Check Out the Website for My Book: "My Last War: A Vietnam Veteran's Tour in Iraq"

I hope you will continue to visit my new website at You can get information about my book, view the book trailer, and even order the book!

When you read the book, please give me some feedback, either by email to or by leaving a review at or Barnes and

Thanks again for your support.

Charles M. Grist

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lewis Millett Dies at 88 - Awarded the Medal of Honor

We have lost another great American warrior. The Washington Post tells the story of Medal of Honor winner Lewis L. Millett, who died on November 14.

* * * *

Lewis L. Millett, 88
Daring soldier was awarded Medal of Honor

By Adam Bernstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lewis L. Millett, 88, a career Army officer who was briefly and somewhat misleadingly court-martialed for desertion during World War II and went on to receive the Medal of Honor for leading a bayonet charge during the Korean War, died Nov. 14 at a veterans hospital in Loma Linda, Calif. He had congestive heart failure.

Col. Millett, who sported a red handlebar mustache, cut an audacious and unconventional path during his 35 years of military service. He led daring attacks in two wars and was instrumental in starting a reconnaissance commando school to train small units for covert operations in Vietnam.

He also was an Army deserter. He later said he had been so eager to "help fight fascism and Hitler" that he left an Air Corps gunnery school in mid-1941 -- months before the U.S. entry into World War II -- to enlist with the Canadian army and go overseas. He manned an antiaircraft gun during the London blitz before rejoining the U.S. Army, which had by that time declared war and apparently was not being overly meticulous in its background checks.

As an antitank gunner in Tunisia, he earned the Silver Star after he jumped into a burning ammunition-filled halftrack, drove it away from allied soldiers and leapt to safety just before the vehicle exploded. Not long after, he shot down a German Messerschmitt Me-109 fighter that was strafing Allied troops. Col. Millett, who was firing from machine guns mounted on a halftrack, hit the pilot through the windshield.

He had fought his way through Italy, participating in the campaigns at Salerno and Anzio, when his paperwork caught up with him. A superior officer told him that he was being court-martialed for his desertion to Canada and that his punishment was $52. He also received a battlefield promotion for fearlessness in combat.

His letters back home were unfiltered epithets aimed at the chain of command. "Letters were censored in World War II, and the next thing I knew I was standing before the battery commander," he told the journal Military History. "He told me that the War Department had ordered three times that I be court-martialed. They finally did it to prevent someone from really throwing the book at me later. Then a few weeks later they made me a second lieutenant! I must be the only Regular Army colonel who has ever been court-martialed and convicted of desertion."

During the Korean War, he received the military's highest awards for valor, including the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross, for two bayonet charges he led as a company commander in February 1951.

"We had acquired some Chinese documents stating that Americans were afraid of hand-to-hand fighting and cold steel," he told Military History. "When I read that, I thought, 'I'll show you, you sons of bitches!' "

He was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading a charge up Hill 180 near Soam-Ni on Feb. 7. When one of his platoons was pinned down by heavy fire, he placed himself at the head of two other platoons and ordered the men to charge up the hill.

According to his Medal of Honor citation, he bayoneted several enemy soldiers and lobbed grenades in their direction while rallying his men to fight. Grenade fragments pierced Col. Millett's shin, but he refused medical evacuation.

"Despite vicious opposing fire, the whirlwind hand-to-hand assault carried to the crest of the hill," the Medal of Honor citation read. "His dauntless leadership and personal courage so inspired his men that they stormed into the hostile position and used their bayonets with such lethal effect that the enemy fled in wild disorder."

Charles H. Cureton, director of Army museums at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, said that Col. Millett's intimidating, close-combat bayonet charge was "very unusual. By the time you get to the Second World War, the range of lethality of weapons is such that a bayonet charge is very hazardous."

Lewis Lee Millett was born Dec. 15, 1920, in Mechanic Falls, Maine, and grew up with his mother in South Dartmouth, Mass., after his parents divorced. After his Korean War service, he went through Ranger training at Fort Benning, Ga., and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division as an intelligence officer. He later was sent to Vietnam as a military adviser to a controversial intelligence program called Phoenix, which killed thousands of suspected Viet Cong and their sympathizers in an effort to destroy the Viet Cong infrastructure in towns and villages.

He said he retired in 1973 because he was convinced that the United States had "quit" in Vietnam. He championed the return of U.S. prisoners of war from Vietnam and then worked as a deputy sheriff in Trenton, Tenn., before settling in the San Jacinto Mountains resort village of Idyllwild, Calif., across the street from an American Legion post.

His first marriage, to the former Virginia Young, ended in divorce. His second wife, Winona Williams Millett, died in 1993. Survivors include three children from his second marriage, L. Lee Millett Jr. and Timothy Millett, both of Idyllwild, and Elizabeth Millett of Nevada; three sisters; a brother; and four grandchildren.

A son from his second marriage, Army Staff Sgt. John Millett, died in the 1985 airplane crash in Gander, Newfoundland, that killed more than 240 U.S. service members returning from a peacekeeping mission in the Middle East.

Reflecting on his career, Col. Millett once told an interviewer: "I believe in freedom, I believe deeply in it. I've fought in three wars, and volunteered for all of them, because I believed as a free man, that it was my duty to help those under the attack of tyranny. Just as simple as that."

* * * *

An inspiring story about a man who was a legend among his fellow warriors. Our condolences to Colonel Millett's family and friends.

Charles M. Grist

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day: Thanking America's Warriors for Their Service

Another Veteran's Day dawns with America's warriors still fighting the good fight. In the streets and deserts of Iraq, in the mountains and plains of Afghanistan, and in many other lesser known battlefields throughout the world, our troops are engaged in battle with those who would destroy our way of life.

With the recent "Lone Wolf" terrorist attack at Fort Hood, we are reminded that our troops are in danger wherever they are. With strength of heart, goodness of soul, and the determination of warriors, they continue to stand between us and those who would hurt us.

On this very special day, American Ranger remembers all of those courageous men and women who have served in uniform throughout America's history, as well as those brave warriors who have died on our behalf.

Today, I hope that you will take time to remember them as well.

Charles M. Grist

Friday, November 6, 2009

Heroic Fort Hood Cop Stops Killer

She'll surely say that she was just a cop doing her duty, but Fort Hood police officer Kimberly Munley's training paid off. Wounded in her encounter with the Fort Hood killer, she will forever be credited with ending this bloody massacre:

* * * *

Fast-Acting Officer Stopped Rampage
From CNN

FORT HOOD, Texas (Nov. 6) -- A civilian police officer who shot the Fort Hood gunman four times during his bloody rampage stopped the attacker cold, a U.S. Army official said Friday.

Officer Kimberly Munley of the Fort Hood Police Department is a "trained, active first responder" who acted quickly after she "just happened to encounter the gunman," said Lt. Gen. Bob Cone, Fort Hood's commanding general.

Cone said the officer and her partner responded "very quickly" to the scene of the shootings -- reportedly in about three minutes.

Munley "just happened very fortunately to be very close to the incident scene," Cone told CNN's "American Morning."

He said she shot the gunman four times and was wounded herself in an exchange of gunfire with him.

"Really a pretty amazing and aggressive performance by this police officer," Cone said.

Authorities have identified the alleged gunman as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, an Army psychiatrist. They said he opened fire at a military processing center Thursday at Fort Hood, killing 13 people and wounding 30.

Cone was asked if Munley's shots brought down the assailant and stopped him from shooting.

"That's correct," Cone said. "The critical factor here was her quick response to the situation."

* * * *

Well done, Officer Munley!

Charles M. Grist

"Lone Wolf" Attack Strikes Fort Hood

We have talked about the dangers of the Lone Wolf terrorist before in "American Ranger". We had another post (link here) following a previous such incident.

Scattered throughout America, in our small towns and in the big cities, are Islamic extremists plotting to attack Americans. Some of these self-described "holy warriors" may be acting on behalf of Al Qaeda. Others are Al Qaeda "wannabees" who have created their own little terrorist "clubs". A few are individuals who believe they are creating plots inspired by God. When they are ready, or when some type of emotional crisis sets them off, they execute their attacks on innocent men, women, or children.

The incident at Fort Hood will be investigated, and we will eventually learn whether or not there were signs or warnings that this Army officer was preparing his own "jihad". So far, it sounds like he had expressed his fundamentalist feelings in arguments with his military peers. Such sympathies with our enemies should have triggered some type of investigation, but we do not yet know if that happened.

All of us must remember that the war on terror has no front lines. The fanatics who want to destroy us are the ultimate guerrillas. They are not only in Iraq and Afghanistan; they live and work among us here in the United States and within the borders of our allies around the world.

Their agenda is not a pretty one, so we must use our eyes, ears, and common sense when we see, hear, or learn about something that doesn't seem right. Then we must contact authorities. Every police agency in this country has someone who is designated to handle such complaints.

Whether it is a burglary in progress, a suspicious person, a questionable package, or some other unusual event, Americans have done a good job with their "neighborhood watch" programs. Community oriented policing has enhanced the communication between citizens and law enforcement.

We must extend this cooperation to the prevention of terrorist attacks. The American spirit will not permit these Islamic thugs to destroy our way of life. We will work together to protect our homes, families, and businesses.

If by chance YOU are a "Lone Wolf", or the member of a terrorist cell, or part of a group of "wannabees", understand this - we are looking for you, and we will hunt you down like the animals you are.....

Charles M. Grist

Monday, November 2, 2009

Marine Veteran Abie Gordon Dies: Veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam

This appeared in today's Orlando Sentinel:

* * * *

He served in 2 great Marine Corps battles

by Jeff Kunerth
Sentinel Staff Writer

Bill Gordon spread his father's life as a Marine across the soft green felt of the pool table.

There was the replica statue of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima that sat on top of the television in Abie Gordon's bedroom at his Longwood home. And the two photographs of that famous flag-raising autographed by the two photographers who were on that island with Gordon on Feb. 23, 1945.

There was the framed proclamation of his service in the Korean War with the inscription on the bottom: "We Few, We Chosin Few, We Eternal Band of Brothers" that hung on the living room wall and the framed acknowledgment of his Purple Heart that adorned the hallway.

There was his father's dress blue uniform that hung in a garment bag in his closet with its rows of medals and block of ribbons from service in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.

"These were things he got for doing his job," said Bill Gordon, 61, of Orlando. "From his point of view, in his eyes, I don't think he ever thought he did anything special."

Abie Gordon, the highly decorated Marine of 30 years and three wars, died Wednesday of complications from pneumonia. He was 89. His cremated ashes will be buried in Arlington National Cemetary with full honors.

Gordon, who joined the service at 17, saw action in two of the Marine Corps' most famous battles: Iwo Jima in World War II and Chosin Reservoir in Korea.

Iwo Jima was immortalized in the photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal and the Clint Eastwood movie Flags of Our Fathers. But Chosin Reservoir in 1950 is just as revered in Marine Corps lore for the 15,000 men who fought in sub-zero weather against 120,000 Chinese soldiers. The survivors became known as "The Chosin Few" and "The Frozen Chosin."

Gordon didn't tell his son much about either of those experiences, except to admonish Bill whenever he complained about his life being too hard: "Let me tell you what tough is - tough is fighting in 35-degree-below weather and outnumbered 10 to one."

Gordon enlisted in the Marines in 1938 and left in 1968, around the time his son, also a Marine, was fighting in Vietnam. Abie, in essence, grew up in the Marine Corps, finishing his high-school education in the Marines, earning his officer's rank on the battlefield, and leaving the service as lieuenant colonel.

In the process, he earned more than 30 ribbons and medals, including the Purple Heart for being wounded in Korea, the Bronze Star, and five Presidential Unit Citations.

"The Marines taught him everything he learned, and it was duty, honor and country," Bill said.

Abie Gordon raised his don by the code in which he lived: Right was right, wrong was wrong.

"It wasn't about his way or my way. It was always about the right way," Bill said.

Following his retirement to a home on a golf course in 1968, Abie Gordon had a seond career of sorts as a PGA-USGA rules official for 18 years. It was the perfect retirement job for him, his son said.

"He was a right-and-wrong kind of guy."

Abie Gordon also is survived by three grandchildren, Hannah, Nathan and Luke Gordon, all of Orlando.

Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home, Lake Ivanhoe Chapel, Orlando, is handling arrangements.

Jeff Kunerth can be reached at 407-420-5392 or

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We extend our condolences to the Gordon family, as well as our gratitude for Abie Gordon's service to America.

Charles M. Grist