by–a trusted, vetted and reliable friend to our blog who cannot give his name due to stuff he is still involved with.
Men (males) make up the the majority of our military–this was/is certainly true of past wars such as WWII, Korea and ‘Nam. It continues today but now at least some women have access to front line and other operations that can get them blown up into pieces or killed like men on the FEBA (front edge of the battle area) or further in or further back depending on the current threat from IEDs, etc.. Since this is a man’s blog we will still deal with this from a male perspective though we certainly honor our present and past female counterparts–they are seriously brave!
Watching the Vietnam War history over the last few days on PBS ) the history of the early years prior to democrat president Truman himself getting us involved was fascinating–who knew that pre-1959 stuff prior? Certainly not 99.99999% of the vets who fought in that war.
The show progressed over the day’s of its running into the infighting and protests, etc, but the first three episodes are great history and lessons too if we keep doing this so-called nation building. Hopefully president Trump is on to this insanity and will bring it to a stop. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting a different outcome.
It is a fact that during that Nam era time the Black Panther Party and the SDS, Weathermen and so many others of this ilk were supported by communist influence and money–that’s a fact Jack! In addition from the time that Walter Crankcase on CBS started harping on this mess (serious liberal harping began about 1966) CBS and others went from news to entertainment then to left wing all out propaganda in about three years.
The Communist Tet Offensive was totally reported daily by all then left wing and communist media as a defeat of the American forces by the liberal and worse, media of the time. Daily rants on TV continued about how the communist Tet Offensive was winning against out troops and our allies. The actual facts, which the media knew but they actually just flat out lied about were it was the greatest defeat of the communist forces over there. During that month the communists came out of the wood work and tried to take on American forces openly–they were devastated in truly huge numbers. That single event was one, if not the greatest victories in that war for the United States and its allies, yet today it still remains hidden.
Let’s talk about POWs. It was interesting that John McCain was shown in the PBS Nam feature as a POW. he was freely shooting off his mouth about certain military assets and identification information in short blurb.
This is the same “heroic” McCain that damn near sunk the Navy carrier Forestall earlier all by himself causing the deaths of 134 sailors and injury’s well above that when he was involved with the launch of a Zuni rocket from his aircraft that hit other bomb loaded aircraft on the deck the ship and started a massive fire putting the carrier out of service. Only thing that saved his ass was his grand dad who was a for real very famous WWI period navy Admiral and his father was also a well known high up admiral of the WWII era. That famed and famous Navy family history, a huge amount of insider Navy and political leverage and a lot of incident report tap dancing probably saved him from a court’s martial. Then later that year he was shot down and captured. He is no hero and during his time as a POW he did nothing heroic–others did!
HERE IS A REAL POW HERO you probably never heard of…and the traitor that damn near got him killed…
Lt. Colonel James (Nick) Rowe about 1988
A West Point graduate lieutenant by the name of James N. Rowe who was in Special Forces (incidentally the only official use of of the words Special Forces is the Green Berets of the U.S. Army–not the generic use it is today covering the SEALs, marine recon, rangers, etc. Anyway Nick as he was known to those of us who knew him was a real deal Green Beret Army Intelligence officer and one of the most well adjusted, fun, and friendly guys you could ever meet.
Rowe was operating in the Nam jungles when he was captured by Viet Cong (VC, not the NVA). He was held in the jungle by this group for FIVE years. During that time he was beaten, tortured (of course), starved, got incredibly sick, and everything else you could imagine–one thing we can all relate to some extent are mosquito bites, they can hurt huh? Well, Col. Rowe was many times tied down naked for them to feed on him all night long. To his group of VC he was their catch, their pet monkey and one POW they did not want to share with their bosses in Hanoi at the Hilton–so they didn’t.
He was kept in a bamboo cage nearly all the time when not on the move in the jungles of Nam (think about that kind of life). His five year ordeal was horrific–no cot, building, bedding for him, just five years at the hands of guys who most of the time treated him like dirt. All this time Nick through jungle sickness, torture and abuse was able to hide the fact he was a Green Beret and that he was in military intelligence–both which wold have had him tortured to death over several very long days or just shot right away. He convinced his captors he was an engineer–thanks to his West Point (also not reviled to them) engineering courses education.
Nick tried to escape twice and he paid for that. Then one day though while suffering for several days from tremendous near non-stop diarrhea caused by dysentery he (again) contracted, Nick was lead from the camp through the jungle a bit into a small clearing by a couple of his keepers. It was then he realized after all these years as a prisoner (and a knowledge of their language) he was going to be executed.
Knowing this even in his weakened state he was able to surprise his guards, take them on and kill them. Then it was a jungle run and evasion. He ran into a clearing hearing a chopper and was sure enough spotted by an Army chopper and upon seeing him they rolled in on him for a gun run. At the last second the pilots saw his lighter skin (no shirt and only worn out shorts) and black beard–something not too Vietnamese looking to the pilots–besides the damn guy was waiving at them to get their attention so they held fire and picked him up.
Radioing in to their headquarters they had an escaped POW named Nick Rowe. Later Nick was to learn the Army never gave up on him and that the Special Forces community (Green Berets) were always on the search when possible. The word quickly went out across Nam about his recovery and it went to the top of the chain of command in minutes. He arrived back at base camp weighing about 120 pounds, covered with filth, feeling pretty poor and still suffering with the shits, but he was alive and now free.
Nick wrote a book abut his five years in captivity–we encourage you to get it–titled FIVE YEARS TO FREEDOM. In that book Nick related his story of survival and how and what he did to keep his very active mind in the game. After his capture recovery he learned he was now a major–later he made lieutenant colonel.
BUT here is the part I learned from him personally which was NOT in the book because to have been known at the time or for years afterword a lot of chopper and support people including him would be in some administrative trouble from way high above the chain of command for taking such a chance with a just freed POW (real hero).
Nick learned that the very next day after his recovery choppers were going out to try to locate his group of VC based on where they found before they could move out. Obviously weak from five years as a POW and still sick with dysentery Nick insisted on boarding the chopper and guiding them to his VC location. Of course if shot down things would be incredibly unpleasant and if he got though that and the top brass learned of a of a famed escape and then back into the mess the next day mission successful or not, that would not sit well with guys like General Westmoreland–who was of course notified of his successful escape.
The choppers left with him on board and thanks to Nick’s memory and his years of jungle navigation movement they located his old keepers. The choppers rolled in and delivered a hale of of 7.62mm machine gun fire and 2.75 inch rockets into the VC group. And as famed radio talk show personality Paul Harvey said many times…”That is the rest of the story” and unless Nick spoke of it is still yet untold until maybe now!
Years later Nick would be the founder and commander of the then very secret U.S. Army Special Forces SERE (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape) School at Fort Bragg, NC. This school trained high risk personnel from all the services (including certain CIA assets) in how to act and react if captured–later other services would develop their own training based on much (not all) of the Army SERE School’s training.
At this post Vietnam time (1980s), Nick was plugged in very deep into military intelligence of all kinds and it was years after his escape that he heard how the VC actually learned of him and were going to finally kill him. He told me this personally one day while I was at the SERE School.
Nick told me he learned of his exposure DIRECTLY due to the works of Jane Fonda and her group of communist supporters. The PBS Nam series told of her traitorous exploits some and showed her celebrating with NVA Communist troops and how she supported the communist efforts against American troops and our POWs. On the PBS show she is even heard to say on NVA radio that “…American POWs should be executed…” That was stunning, even to me!
Apparently Fonda’s group and she, according to Nick, were privy to various back channel enemy communication channels. Fonda through her group got information regarding Nick and other POWs to the communists and they passed it along through their chain of command. In Nick’s case ultimately to his jungle captors. When they learned of how he tricked for all those years there was little time to be wasted, they were pissed–it was killing NICK time.
I still get angry when I think of why Fonda and her activities to include this type of thing plus her propaganda broadcasts and more never got her brought up on Federal charges. No doubt her famous dad Henry and his liberal Democrat political contacts protected her. The fact that some former trooper who fought over there has never modified her health escapes me. I guess it shows we are a forgiving people or something…
Nick continued to serve his country setting up and running the then new SERE school. One day he contacted me to ask if I had an in with a body armor company that might get him a vest in a hurry (military did not have them in the late 1980s). He was going on a new operation in a high threat terrorist active area in the Philippines to conduct/command certain military intelligence operations and he figured his arrival was known. I said sure and would try to link him up in a couple of days for some body armor. But before I could (pre-Internet days) he was on his way to Queen City, Philippines where on April 21, 1989 his car was ambushed by terrorists and my friend Nick Rowe was shot in the head and killed.
Nick is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, If you are ever there, you might stop by and see him–say hi for me. He is a for real deal hero and the U.S. Army survival school (SERE) at Ft. Bragg is named for him. That is how and what a heroic POW acts, does and looks like–Mr. McCain!