Today I opened my email to read the latest post from Allen Clark. Trust me when I tell you that any individual who buys me a meal at this restaurant is a “forever friend”. smile
Allen Clark is a remarkable man. He tells a funny story about his prosthetic devices. Each time he was ready to be fitted with his new “legs” he would ask them to add about an inch. He is now officially “taller” than when he went to Vietnam.
Allen and his wife are lovely Christians. They are gracious and kind – bearing the distinct marks of our Savior within their character and manner of living. It is my pleasure to share a post from the “Avalon Chronicles”. Also included is a link to Mr. Allen’s organization.
Fifty years ago in August 1966 I was deployed to South Vietnam to serve my country in our effort to preserve freedom from communism for that troubled land. My assignment as a prisoner of war interrogator was unfulfilling as no prisoners made it to my military intelligence detachment located in Nha Trang, the Riviera of South Vietnam. It would have been a comfortable and safe war for me as I enjoyed Nha Trang’s beautiful beach every day, when I finished my daily duties. A chance encounter with fellow West Pointer, Lieutenant Colonel Lee Parmly (class of 1946), on a plane motivated me to a probable much more satisfying and rewarding opportunity by transferring to his unit of the Army’s Special Forces (the Green Berets), also headquartered in Nha Trang. As occurs sometimes, my orders were changed from his unit to that of Detachment B-57 of Special Forces, a newly-formed clandestine organization headquartered in the capitol, Saigon, where I was required to be clothed in civilian apparel and to store my military uniforms. That led to an incredibly exciting tour of duty, encompassing debriefing a defector from Cambodia (who was later murdered with his case making the front page of the New York Times), residing in safe houses as I trained young Cambodian anti-communists for helicopter infiltration missions on the border, and eventual assignment in the spring of 1967 to an isolated Special Forces camp in what was called the “Tri-Border” area, where South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia come together.
Cambodia was targeted by the United States because it was a supposed “neutral” country in which Chief of State Sihanouk acquiesced to allowing the North Vietnamese Army, after their travels down the Ho Cho Minh Trail, to establish base camps from which they attacked our troops and the South Vietnamese, and then retreated to the safety of their sanctuaries. He probably did it out of fear for his personal safety, if not for political belief.
At Dak To I was an infantry captain under cover with an assumed name with a mission, through a Vietnamese interpreter and a Montagnard mercenary, to recruit other Montagnards, the mountain natives of the rugged triple canopy jungle area, to travel through the jungle toward Cambodia to collect intelligence on enemy bases and activities. My mission was nearly impossible as it was a fifteen mile trek to the border through what I discovered later was the most heavily populated enemy positions possibly in the country in underground supply points, hospitals, and base camps. In early June 1967 my Vietnamese interpreter informed me that one of our “agents” had informed his village chief that he was to be paid for his mission by someone in the Special Forces camp. My mission had been “compromised” and I was at risk of being targeted when I made my frequent visits to neighboring villages. This was an example at the lowest tactical level of a “compromised” spying operation. My operation actually was closed down a few days later because one of those North Vietnamese Army units from Cambodia attacked our camp in an intense mortar barrage on June 17, 1967 in which I was wounded, losing both my legs below the knee from heavy shrapnel wounds.
With my background in Army intelligence it has always spurred on my interest in reading spy stories. The world of spying at the higher strategic level, way above where I had been, is pregnant with individuals and operations being compromised, sometimes due to agents being revealed and sometimes to moral problems of either the agents or their “handlers” due to disloyalty or being desirous of intrigue, money, substance abuse or illicit romantic escapades.
When a compromise occurs, there is a breaking down of a commitment and obligation to perform as expected to fulfill the “handler’s” mission for their country, etc. or for that of the agent. As an Army officer I took very seriously my loyalty to my country and my mission to be disciplined to perform my duties. Many missions are aborted or compromised due to alcohol or drug abuse, corruption in handling of the monies involved for paying agents, or inappropriate romantic activities in an arena that lends itself to immorality.
Even when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and thereby become a committed “Christian”, we are forever tempted, as we enter the next level of faith, the “Lordship” phase of our faith walk, to compromise ourselves with disloyalty to our principles, those we love, and ultimately in each case to our Lord with sins, big and little. Our self with its attendant pride becomes preeminent in guiding us to forego what we know to be appropriate behavior. One of the most important aspects of the Christian faith is that we can be returned to “friendly territory” after entering “enemy territory” by sincere repentance and confession of our sins in the Name of Jesus. We reenter the friendly lines for our safety and peace. Just as I was loyal to my country, we must be loyal to our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit with righteous living. If there is a final judgment in Heaven and I believe there will be, we should all hope it is short because we maintained our loyalty to our faith and our principles
We must praise our Lord for His mercy, grace, and love that endures forever. It should be the ultimate motivator for our righteous behavior in our earthly life.