George Worthy
George Worthy

I suppose that today I should write something about how messed up our government is, but I think that would be too easy. There is no use in restating my thoughts about how miserable it is being run right now. If you read anything I write, you must know that I am a pretty conservative person.

I don’t try to hide it because I think that the progressive portion of our leaders have ruined our government, and in many cases have placed our Armed Forces in harm’s way. Not because they truly want to, but because they just don’t know what they are doing most of the time.

I am a member of the Vietnam-era veterans who formed our military opinions based on the lies of our leaders. I find it pretty strange that a person can be elected to the highest position in our government and become the de facto commander of all the Armed Services without any background on how to deploy or arm our soldiers and sailors to achieve the maximum results.

Before I continue my diatribe concerning our leaders, I think I should write something that has been bothering me for a long time. I am a veteran of jungle warfare. We didn’t have all the destruction that is at the commander’s fingertips today. Oh, we bombed our enemy’s locations to include their homes and trails. I guess that is just what war was all about back then. 

Our President in those days was a veteran of the Second World War. He had commanded men to combat where the chances were good that he would lose men in our military and had, himself, been gravely wounded. The wounds he suffered were with him for the rest of his life. He was also my favorite politician. He was the father of what we call the Green Berets. Let me tell you a little about these men who were the envy of the rest of the regular military because they got the newest weapons and were made up from the finest men in the Army.

President Kennedy was of the opinion that he needed a unique fighting force that could operate in small units to inflict maximum damage to the enemy. When it became obvious that bombing North Vietnam was not going to bring the damage, he put out the word that he wanted a different type of soldier. One who could operate behind enemy lines and enlist members of the local populace to help us in our endeavor in South East Asia.

There were enough older soldiers who had been deployed behind lines during the destruction of Hitler’s attempt to bring all of Europe together under the rule of Germany. President Kennedy put out the word he wanted these brave men to teach the younger soldiers about how to use the disenchanted populace to form a fighting force to undermine the enemy. You had to have a few special talents to even be considered for this new unit.

Until he stated that he wanted small units that were educated and superb soldiers to make up this unit. He was discouraged by the older senior officer corps. They had seen what the result of tank warfare and thought that was the only way to form a unit. President Kennedy was convinced that smaller well trained and superbly commanded would be the future of warfare in South East Asia.

Although I was a very young man, I had dreams of being allowed into this new unit. Of course I didn’t have enough rank (you had to be an officer or senior enlisted man with a special background to even be considered for this new unit). It was reviled by the senior members of the regular Army and the Washington Plutocrats.

Senior enlisted men were chosen based on many different criteria. You had to want to be involved by writing your own application. This was discouraged by your commander. They didn’t want to be losing their finest enlisted leaders to this strange new idea. Officers were told that it was a trap and that they were being seduced by some crazy President that knew nothing about ground warfare and that their future in the Army was threatened.

President Kennedy caught word that most commanders were discouraging this foolishness. He paid a visit to Fort Bragg (now Fort Liberty, that’s left for another day), North Carolina, the home of the Airborne. This unit was considered the tip of the spear. Of course the base commander held a division parade for the President. This was my first example of an entire division standing in review. It was very impressive. 

Some of the older enlisted men had been secretly wearing the Green Beret for some time and they pulled them out when President Kennedy rode by to review the troops. He was enchanted. Before he left Fort Bragg he called all the senior officers to a meeting and told them of his idea to create an unconventional elite fighting force to be deployed in Vietnam. He was presented a Green Beret by the men who had been working in secret to establish this special group. That beret was placed upon his grave by the men who had been his escorts while at Fort Bragg.

I’m writing this today because I want to point out a couple of things. I served in Special Forces for 10 years and my daughter says that my Green Beret is one of her most prized possessions. One of Reed’s good friends currently serves in Special Forces and he holds a special place in my heart, as I know how difficult it is to be a Green Beret warrior today.

Lastly I need to set the record straight about a column I wrote a couple of weeks ago. Alaska is the 49th state, not the 50th. Even I have a computer that didn’t catch it, it should’ve known better.

God Bless.

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Gonzales columnist George Worthy may be reached at [email protected].


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