The story that Gritz did not cross to Laos is a lie. It was based on comments from James Coyne that Gritz was "too pale" to have been in the jungle. Spoken like a true fire base hugging soldier. People operating in deep jungle do not get tanned.

Having seen the radio intercepts dealing with Gritz's team and the plots of their locations, via other technical means, I can say, without equivocation; they went. DPMO did not have anything to do with, or have any true knowledge of where Gritz went or with whom.

One team member was captured on the first mission, by troops belonging to General Phoumi Nassavane. Zappone was captured in Laos and not in Thailand. I met with Phoumi to discuss his release. This took place because Gritz changed horses from Phoumano Nassavane to Captain (Colonel) (General) Kong Le's man (Master Sergeant) (Colonel) (General) Kham Bou.

The statements about the team never crossing the border are a lie that has gone on too long.

As to the awards, I am always amazed, when those who have virtually none, take an inordinate amount of interest in those who do.

Gritz was never accused of initiating or recommending himself for awards. If others put him in for awards and they were overlapping, that is why we have administrators at each level. If true, there was a time limit, at that time, in the 5th Group, it was superficial and was not in keeping with the appropriate Army Regulations. Again this was a management tool and had nothing to do with Gritz being involved in wrong doing. Lastly, one should be careful in challenging other people's awards in the military. This has always been looked down on and if you do not have proof of wrong doing on the part of Gritz, it goes beyond the pale to even bring it up. Further, one must wonder where the public domain ends and the right to privacy begins. HE WAS CHARGED WITH NOTHING! What some rear echelon staff member said in a memo was meaningless.

We have quite a Government and quite a Military, since Gritz was again asked by the Government to participate in the training of AFGANS and to meet with Khun Sa, later. Both of these operations were later denied by the Government, as a wayward soul on the National Security Council, "going out on his own." Seemed to be an awful lot of people sending folks on operations in the eighties, with no proper authority.

The statement about the initial operation never taking place is a myth. The question was the participation of Barnes and not if Jerry Daniels and J.D. participated. I doubt anyone coordinated such things with the folks from the DIA POW/MIA Offices.

Please don't regale me with what you know about the AFGAN training. I WAS THERE, when the government boys showed up to coordinate. I WAS THERE when the companies brought their wares to demonstrate, including the thirty millimeter automatic cannon and .50 caliber sniper system. 6. Frankly Colonel for you and Bob to even comment on such operations is a bit presumptuous. The number was 572. To even comment on how Gritz looks on his web page is childish, shoddy and unprofessional. Bo is pushing sixty. Frankly, neither one of you guys have ever exactly looked like Charles Atlas.

Casper Weinberger accepted full responsibility for the operations of ISA before the US Senate. Around the world they have provided an intelligence product, invaluable to those who deal with the curse of terrorism. To describe these brave men in terms of "freelancers and unguided missiles" is churlish and smacks of a desk bound, Monday morning quarterback mentality.

Copyright 1998, by Mark A. Smith, Major, USA, Retired

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