A Real Story About A Navy Seal

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November 1, 2014 · Posted in Commentary 

BY DOUG WEISKOPF

 

I read an interesting review recently in The LA Times on the new movie, “Kill The Messenger”, with great interest, as it reminded me of a young man I met back in the late 1990’s who was a neighbor of mine (I used to take care of his dog while he was out of town, which always creates strong bonds with their owners). I knew he had been a Navy Seal who had abruptly chosen to leave the service and one evening over beers I asked him why he left.

The story I was told in answer to my casual question could have been the subject of a movie like “Messenger”. He said that he had been assigned as a machine gunner on a navy helicopter which flew a mission in Columbia to pick up a large load of cocaine from a local drug cartel. When the crew landed to unload the coke the officer in charge at the scene was none other than the infamous Oliver North, whom he described as an overly officious and unpleasant fellow.

The story takes a surreal turn when the man telling me the story describes how he and another member of the helicopter crew stashed a few packages of the cocaine cargo for themselves to later attempt to sell in nearby Miami, figuring this was going to be their big retirement fund opportunity. Not being very sophisticated drug dealers they quickly got caught by local drug enforcement cops, whereupon they advised during interrogation back at the police station that a call be made to their military commanders to inform them of what was going on.

What happened after that was a predictably classic cover-up. The military sent personnel to pick the boys up and no criminal charges were made against them, the matter being treated officially as never having happened at all. The two miscreants were then brought before Oliver North, who was understandably furious at them for stealing part of his drug stash, and issued all sorts of all sorts of threats as to reprisals. The two errant Seals, knowing exactly that North’s plans were to use the coke to raise money for the Contras in Nicaragua, responded by laughing in his face and daring him to do anything to formally discipline them, which would necessarily have brought his nefarious drug scheme out into the open.

Col. North, of course, had to let the incident go unpunished, however he told them that their best course was to request an honorable discharge ASAP from the military, as he would see to it that their futures in the navy were not going to be pleasant. So that’s how my friend came to retire to civilian life.

I’m anxious to see the new movie, “Shoot The Messenger”, so that I’ll be able to connect some of the dots of my former friend’s story to see how it related to The Big Picture.

 

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