Marine Corps representative there.
I taught some classes and had the
good fortune to bring in some outstanding Marines who are still in
the Marine Corps today. I think we
stole some of their best folks.
Then I did the normal schools,
Navy War College, got a master’s
degree. Then I went to Hawaii with
the Service Support Group, where I
was both the ops officer and the
executive officer and did the normal deployments.
At this time, my family was growing. I had three boys. My middle son,
Fred, he was the one who caused us
the most stress growing up. He
wound up enlisting in the Marine
Corps, became a tanker. Went to
Afghanistan and did route clearance,
looking for improvised explosive
devices, and was wounded, blown
up. A few months ago, I actually
pinned the Purple Heart on him. He’s
out of the Corps now. He still has
some side effects from being blown
up. I’m very proud of his service.
In Hawaii, I joined Combat Service Support Group 3. Did a year as
the operations officer. I was selected for lieutenant colonel and was
the executive officer my last two
From there it was that time in
my career, as a lieutenant colonel, I
was told I probably needed to go to
I asked to go to Central Command. The year was 2000. At the
time it was probably the busiest AOR
[area of responsibility] and I wanted
to be where the action was. But in the
J- 4, there were no logistics jobs available. At the time, my monitor said
he’d get me to Central Command
[CENTCOM]. He did, but it wasn’t
in a logistics job. It was in a new
directorate that they had just stood
up, called the Joint Security Directorate. It basically was force protection,
and it was dealing with the high
threats in the CENTCOM AOR.
Then, the USS Cole [suicide
bombing in the Yemeni port of
Aden] happens. That really changed
us down there at the time. We were
attacked by al-Qaida and that was
really within our wheelhouse.
I used to brief intelligence every
morning to my boss, [Army MG]
General Gary Harrell. If you remember the movie “Black Hawk Down,”
he was the Delta Force commander.
While I was there, 9/11 happened.
When we saw we’d been attacked,
that changed everything.
Then General Harrell, being a
director on the CENTCOM staff and
because of his SOF [Special Operations Forces] background and his
credibility in the SOF world, we
stood up the first JIADA, joint interagency task force.
I still was briefing operations and
intelligence. Then the SOFCent,
Special Operations Central Command, developed a plan for the invasion of Afghanistan.
Harrell was told he had to get to
Bagram Air Base. [Army] GEN
[Tommy] Franks [CENTCOM commander], wanted a general officer to
go into Afghanistan ASAP and assemble a team to go.
So he called me into his office
and said, “You can’t tell your wife,
but go home, pack your stuff.
We’re deploying, and bring civilian
We flew up from MacDill [Air
Force Base, AFB] to Langley AFB.
We flew from Langley to Germany,
stopped there for a refueling stop,
then flew into Uzbekistan. From
there we got a C-130, from the SOF
side, and inserted into Bagram, and
set up another interagency task
force and brought in all the folks. I
thought, again, I was going to do
logistics stuff, but they said we’re
too short on ops guys, so I worked
J- 3, doing operations.
We had representatives from the
FBI, the terrorism office, different
agencies and things.
We were there six-seven months
and I thought we were pretty successful, did some good things.
Then General Harrell was selected to take over SOFCent, as the
commanding general. He wanted
me to go with him. I said if I do that,
I wanted to work logistics. At that
point, I was concerned about my
MOS. So I came over and what he
did, he actually made me the J- 4.
That was 2002 and we were basically planning the invasion of Iraq.
I’d never pretend to be a special
operations operator. But it was a
privilege to work with some of the
greatest Americans, and they are
I came back from that and my
time was up, three years at Tampa
[Special Operations Command]. I
was selected for command and was
on my way back to Camp Lejeune, to
be part of the 24th MEU [Marine Expeditionary Unit]. I was going to be
the logistics officer for the 24th MEU,
which is the Marine Expeditionary
Unit Logistics Support Group, which
is what I really wanted. Because, at
that point, I thought I was pretty
well-rounded, but hadn’t been on a
MEU. Didn’t have that boat time.
At the time, the surge happened in
Iraq, so we deployed early. We didn’t
deploy on ships. They flew us into
Kuwait. Our gear went over on a fast
sealift ship. We got to Kuwait. Like
everybody, we drove up into Iraq.
Most of the Marines were in al Anbar
at this time. We were just south of
Baghdad. … Bad guy territory.
We did some great things. We
basically re-established all of the
police stations, taking back all of the
things from the bad guys. We were
there for seven months. A lot of
casualties within the MEU. I had one
Marine killed in my unit, and several
wounded. It was a kinetic time.
Fallujah came down at that time.
Came back from that deployment, and was selected for colonel
and a top-level school. I put in for
Penn State, to go there for a year,
basically to learn supply chain management. I pinned on colonel there.
It was a great year with the family.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY 2014