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  #1  
Old 16 January 2001, 16:12
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Gayle Rivers and The Five Fingers?

I read this book about Vietnam titled "The Five Fingers." It was written by someone named Gayle Rivers who claims to have actually been a member of the Vietnam era New Zealand SAS and a member of the Five Fingers team. The book is about a combined New Zealand/Australian/British SAS and American Green Beret hit team that was sent on basically what amounted to a suicide mission. They were sent into southern China to kill General Giap and some top Chinese political leaders.

It is a very graphic book, very dramatic and had a sad ending. I have wondered about this Gayle Rivers guy, was he really in the NZ SAS? Or was this guy totally bogus? He went on to author a couple more well selling books about counterterrorism in the eighties. He has since dropped out of sight.

Anybody know anything about Gayle Rivers and who he really is? I did read recently that he was not the real deal but was really a phony, was a NZ Air Force officer not a NZ SAS operative. I dont know what to believe about him, but his books were really good.

Ian
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  #2  
Old 16 January 2001, 16:36
Daredevil Daredevil is offline
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Southern China? Sounds like BS to me.

I've heard rumors of British SAS being in Vietnam as part of the Aussie SAS. I imagine the NZSAS was there as well.

The Aussie SAS had an excellent working relationship with the SEALs in Vietnam and they were both highly respected and highly feared by the VC, who considered them top notch jungle fighters.

Going into China is highly unlikely for a number of reasons. The biggest is that the US was trying NOT to piss China off too much at the time. One reason a full scale invasion of North Vietnam by us never happened was the fear that the Chinese would invade in defense of the North Vietnamese the way they did in North Korea.

One SEAL (Jim "Patches" Watson) captured a Chinese advisor to the VC in Laos. His immediate superior was going to put him in for a Medal but when the higher ups found out about it they had a fit. They said he had caused an international incident because he had basically gone into a country we weren't at war with and kidnapped a citizen of a country that we weren't at war with.

Another discredited author, Lennox Cramer, wrote a supposedly true story in "Slow Dance on the Killing Ground" about an A-Team taking out a train in southern China. That alone was enough to cause Vietnam historians to doubt the case and do some checking, which of course proved it to be untrue. The writer had never even been in the military and was actually in prison for murder when he wrote the story.
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  #3  
Old 16 January 2001, 17:46
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The book was officially fiction so yeah I very seriously doubt it really happened. Another thing is that while they went into Southern China in the book, they didnt go very far into Southern China. Just barely across the border from North Vietnam. In the book, Chinese troops chase the Five Fingers team back across the North Vietnam border and the team gets into a few firefights witht them.

I have read a few reports about MACV-SOG teams covertly going into extreme Southern China a few times. I have no idea if the reports are true or not, but I must admit nothing would surprise me if it occured during that Vietnam era. I wouldnt be surprised either way.

The book is probably totally bogus and probably so is Gayle Rivers. I just wanted to see if any NZ or Australian SAS guys know anything about Rivers, if he is the real deal or not. Whether Rivers is the real deal or not, the guy can write well. His books are entertaining if you are interested in specops.
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  #4  
Old 16 January 2001, 19:55
Huey One Four
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ive got a book called "The Specialist" writen by him. he goes on about F troop(?) British SAS that he supposedly was part of part time. says hes a mercenary, hotshot pilot, arms dealer and lover of beutiful women, etc etc. first part of the book he claimed to work with marines/SF in beruit in assasinations of syrian officers. gets really out of hand after awhile. as for the nzsas? they were in vietnam, thats official. Rivers only claimed in my book that he was "ANZAC" SAS. LMAO. i just read the book for a laugh.
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  #5  
Old 16 January 2001, 20:34
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Quote:
Originally posted by Huey One Four:
ive got a book called "The Specialist" writen by him. he goes on about F troop(?) British SAS that he supposedly was part of part time. says hes a mercenary, hotshot pilot, arms dealer and lover of beutiful women, etc etc. first part of the book he claimed to work with marines/SF in beruit in assasinations of syrian officers. gets really out of hand after awhile. as for the nzsas? they were in vietnam, thats official. Rivers only claimed in my book that he was "ANZAC" SAS. LMAO. i just read the book for a laugh.

Yeah I read "The Specialist" also. That was another one of his books from the eighties.
I have a gut feeling the guy is totally full of it and maybe was a serious arm chair adventurer.


I remember in one of his books he was in Territorial SAS after Vietnam. I cant remember F Troop, maybe that is what he was talking about. Obviously the guy is really full of it.
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  #6  
Old 17 January 2001, 01:50
zeroalpha zeroalpha is offline
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No 'Gayle Rivers' served with NZSAS.

There is no such thing as ANZAC SAS, although NZSAS and SASR have and do work together on the same projects.

NZSAS/SASR/SAS were in Vietnam. (SAS in an advisory role only of course ;-) )

WTF is 'The five fingers Team' ?

There is no 'F Troop' SAS, although I remeber a TV programme called F Troop, it was frigging funny, a bit like this thread.

Z

[This message has been edited by zeroalpha (edited 01-16-2001).]
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  #7  
Old 17 January 2001, 13:31
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Quote:
Originally posted by zeroalpha:
No 'Gayle Rivers' served with NZSAS.

There is no such thing as ANZAC SAS, although NZSAS and SASR have and do work together on the same projects.

NZSAS/SASR/SAS were in Vietnam. (SAS in an advisory role only of course ;-) )

WTF is 'The five fingers Team' ?

There is no 'F Troop' SAS, although I remeber a TV programme called F Troop, it was frigging funny, a bit like this thread.

Z

[This message has been edited by zeroalpha (edited 01-16-2001).]

Yeah, thats what I thought. Gayle Rivers is a sham totally. Thanks everybody.

Ian
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  #8  
Old 17 January 2001, 20:18
Huey One Four
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by zeroalpha:
[B]No 'Gayle Rivers' served with NZSAS.

you sure Zero? how do u prove someone was sas?
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  #9  
Old 18 January 2001, 01:50
zeroalpha zeroalpha is offline
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Quote:
you sure Zero? how do u prove someone was sas?
Hard to prove someone was SAS, (NZSAS) not hard to prove he wasnt ;-)

Zero
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  #10  
Old 18 January 2001, 04:35
Huey One Four
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point taken
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  #11  
Old 19 January 2001, 00:29
Mike
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Is Gayle Rivers a pseudonym or nom de guerre?
Is anyone hunt him down?
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  #12  
Old 19 January 2001, 02:14
SpeedAggressionSurprise
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike:
Is Gayle Rivers a pseudonym or nom de guerre?
Is anyone hunt him down?

Its a pseudonym...I have no clue what the guys real name is. His books are real interesting though. Whether they are grounded in any reality or SOF experience I doubt it.


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  #13  
Old 11 February 2001, 14:41
samurai george
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Information on Gayle Rivers
Ifm a Japanese. I have some info on Gayle Rivers because one Japanese journalist had met him and interviewed in New York, in 1985.

((First of all, I must apologize to you all with regard to my grammatical error. English is difficult to me.))

Mr. Nobuhiko Ochiai is very famous writer/journalist in Japan. He has sold an astounding 23 million copies of his nearly 80 books, which range from novels to commentaries about current affairs. He was a successful businessman in oil business in late 60fs, then turned to journalist after oil crisis. He has many contacts in Intelligence Community all over the world. (Isser Harel and Meir Amit, legendary former Directors of MOSSAD; Wolfgang Lots, famous MOSSAD agent; DCI, William Casey, State Department high officials and so on.)
Gayle Rivers was one of them.

According to Mr. Ochiai, Gayle Rivers, ex-NZSAS, dispatched to Nui Dat, South Vietnam as a member of the 4th Troop, 1st Ranger Squadron, and fought with and for US soldiers, and retired in 1972.
He moved to South Africa, and then started working as a private pilot, running his own air transportation company. At the same time, he was working as a merc.
Later, he shifted his activity base to Europe, to join in the 21st SAS as a reservist.
However, he is not a g dogs of warh type mercenary such as Mike Hoare, Bob Denard, Black Jacques Schramme. He did not fight as one of the mercenary forces/groups in the Third World.
Because of his SAS background and experiences in Vietnam and Laos, politically, sensitive "BLACK" operations were entrusted to him from 70fs to 80fs, by the Western Intelligence Agencies (CIA, SIS, BND, Spanish Intelligence etc.). Until the Western countryfs counter-terro capability is established perfectly, he was a gdeniableh agent for many agencies. They sometimes employed him as a gdeniable agenth. If one operation went wrong, the employer ought to deny connection with the agent.
For example, Rivers had worked with Spanish Government in late 70fs, to pursue ETA members in France (not Spain), and then he and his comrades killed many ETA terrorists in France. (The fact that the Spanish government had employed foreign mercenaries to pursuit ETA terrorists in France is known widely. This was revealed in the early 90fs, and became big scandal in Spain)
In late 80fs, Rivers had worked for South Africa. Two very important South African Intelligence Officers (Agents?) were arrested in Moscow. SA Gov. wanted to rescue them, but there were not soviet spies in South African prisons at that time. There were not people for exchange of prisoners. But SA Gov. needed prisoners at any cost.
Their Special Forces might be able to snatch prisoners, but it seems that they feared scandal. So they made a contract with Rivers.
Two GRU officers were snatched from Angola, taken over to Pretoria by Rivers and his 5 comrades. Nearly 20 Spetnatz were killed in action by snatch team, one of the snatch team was seriously injured.
Both knew exactly what was happened, but finally, the prisoner exchange was done.
I think that many intelligence agencies employ gfreelancersh, when there is the necessity.

Rivers was not only mercenary, but also best-selling author. His books are based on his experiences, according to Mr. Ochiai.
The Five Fingers (1978) (nonfiction)
The Teheran Contract (1981) (nonfiction)
The Specialist (1985) (nonfiction)
The War against the Terrorists (1985) (nonfiction)
The Killing House (1988) (novel)
Hunterfs Run (1989) (novel)

I have to write about eFive Fingersf.
Many people think that Gayle Rivers wrote that book as a fiction.
In early 1970fs, one black operation was planned by CIA, to assassinate General Vo Nguen Giap, top General of the North Vietnam during the war.
It was named g Operation Five Fingersh, because the operation team consisted of soldiers from five countries. Three Americans, one Australia SAS, one New Zealand SAS (Author), one South Korean Ranger and one eobserverf from British SAS. They were highly trained and experienced special forces soldiers. CIA thought that this operation would decisively change the situation of the war.
CIA had got hard intelligence that Chinese military officials would confer with North Vietnamese Military high officials at a border town in Yunnan Province, southern China, to negotiate about reinforcement of military assistance. Targets were Gen. Giap and other high officials of NVA, and some Chinese political leaders, including Deng Xiaoping who became leader of Chinese Government in early 80fs.
The operation was cancelled at the last moment after the five fingers team was sent to Southern China.
Because of serious confusion, five fingers team fell into deep shit. They tried to escape from North Vietnam to Laos, fighting against NVA and Pathet Lao, Communists in Laos. But finally, they were booby trapped, mines exploded, andc

Above-mentioned story is outline of the book.
(What is written to below is not written in his book, "Five Fingers"
It is based on what he told at the interview with Mr. Ochiai.)


Political background of the Operation Five Fingers

Why was such a operation which may cause serious problem between US and Chine planned?
Rivers says that there was a change of political situation in late 60fs, in an interview with Mr. Ochiai,
In fact, US never tried to irritate China during the war, (though it is said that SOG teams were going in southern China several times to gather intelligence.)
So, why Five Fingers? There were some political reasons.
Prospect of the Vietnam War seemed gloomy for America in early 70fs. Is it Right?
The Peace talks started in Paris, but the fighting continued.
The situation was unfavorable to America, not only in South Vietnam but also in Paris.
US Government needed to do something to handle the difficult situation.
President Richard Nixon, known as an anticommunist, decided to visit China to develop a rapprochement between US and China.
After the president decided, Henry Kissinger was continuing negotiation with Premier Chou Enlai in secrecy about visit to China of Nixon, the first official contact with them since the Chinese communists had come to power.
If China developed close relation with US, it was predicted that China stopped military assistance to North Vietnam. The situation of the Vietnam war changes completely.
But the negotiation may end in failure.
So gOperation Five Fingersh was planned as another plan, with a view to ending the war at the White House level. It was "Special Activitis".


Rivers and his teammates were given the order at the operational briefing,
"If the negotiation between the Kissinger and Chinese official failed, Operations is go. But IF Kissingerfs secret trip and negotiation went well, you will be ordered to abort the mission.h

After the briefing, they left northern Thailand for Yunnan Province, via Muong Ngoi where is located in northeast Laos.
At the last moment, mission was cancelled because the negotiation succeeded in Beijing. But they had to escape from China and North Vietnam to Laos on foot. They were booby trapped in process of escape. Most of them died by mines in a moment, Rivers and Australian were rescued by chopper, and then brought back from Laotian Mountain to Thailand. Rivers survived. He had to enter the hospital about a year. Mission was over.

In fact,
Mao Zedongfs regime accepted a normalization of relations with the US because of serious opposition with the Soviet they were confronted.
Finally, President Nixon visited to China in 1972. He became the first President to visit China. The rapprochement changed the balance of power with the Soviet. Red China stopped Military Assistance to North Vietnam, as was expected, the Vietnam War made its way toward the end.

Deng Xiaoping survived, too. If the gOperation Five Fingersh was go, he must have been dead. Forget the image of Deng, powerful Chinese Leader. Officially, he had been disappeared from Chinese political movement because he lost position in mid 60fs. It is said that he came back to political world in 1973. If he was killed in1971, who cares? Losing political position means that he or she does not exist in China.
By the way, do you know about Chinese culture? If VIPs from friendly countries died by an enemy attack, first of all, they will try to hide the fact that VIPs killed in action at a border town, if possible. North Vietnamese government may know the truth, however, they would got mad about a fact that Chinese Government couldnft defense assassination of their leaders, not about who did it.

I can not prove that Riversfs claims are all true.
Anyway his books were very interesting to me.

((Again, I must apologize to you for my English ability.
I hope that you can understand what I want to mention. Thanks. ))

Last edited by samurai george; 15 September 2002 at 03:58.
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  #14  
Old 11 February 2001, 19:07
WS-G WS-G is offline
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The alleged bio of "Gayle Rivers" simply doesn't happen the way the author — whatever his real name is — claims.

First off, even when he was still a minor, he allegedly "rode with the Wellington (NZ) chapter of the Hell's Angels". Further, he insinuates that it was his skill at motocross racing that got him a job spraying crops — without benefit of a pilot certificate or even any formal training as a pilot.

Now this last bit, I can tell you right now, simply doesn't happen. Compared to the positions available with any given aerial application company versus the number of pilots out there who want them, this is one field of aviation that's damned near impossible to crack into unless you're related to someone who owns such a company.

The normal career progression route, even if one already holds the requisite Commercial Pilot Certificate and a Commercial Pesticide Applicator License from one's local department of agriculture (State-level in the US; NZ requires a national-level endorsement from their Civil Aviation Authority), someone seeking employment with an application company — if he even gets hired at all (most would-bes aren't; who you know/blow/are related to is a far more common factor that generally acknowledged) — can expect to spend their first several seasons on the ground loading chemicals, flagging, driving trucks, washing aircraft and doing all the unskilled/semiskilled odd-jobs the boss wants done. If and when you're ever allowed to fly, it's more often because the boss likes you.

But even then, there are certain legal and business issues. For starters, International Civil Aviation Organisation experience requirements for a Commercial Pilot Licence/Certificate range from 100 to 250 hours minimum, depending on category of aircraft and country of issue (200 in NZ, Oz and RSA, 250 here in the US). The cost of obtaining these hours is in the US$ 30000+ range. Someone who grows up in poverty — as this Rivers character did — could not possibly have had access to the necessary funds. People with low incomes can and do obtain CPLs, but typically require a decade or more to finish. Show me a poverty-stricken youngster whose logbook shows more than 4 or 5 hours in a month's time (and even that's generous, IMO), and I'll show you someone who is padding his hours!

Also consider the fact that the aircraft themselves are a high-dollar asset, starting in the upper tens and running into the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars, the fact that many of the chemicals these machines carry will kill you like a roach on the kitchen floor, and the fact that operators are held civilly and criminally liable for whatever personal and property damages are caused. No owner/operator in his right mind is going to turn some untrained, inexperienced high-school dropout loose with a $100k aircraft loaded with a quarter-ton of organophosphates or 2,4-D!

Back to the story.... Remember "Rivers" claims all this before he was even 18 years old! BTW, did I mention that one must be at least 18 to hold a Commercial Pilot Certificate?

Let's see.... then there's that bit about hitting a RNZN sailor with his vehicle, resulting in a judge ordering him to join the Army in lieu of going to jail. I think Her Majesty's Forces were a bit more selective than that during the 1960's <G>. And this guy manages to pass Selection early enough in his career to be fully trained and deployed to 'Nam, where we find him as a patrol leader and Warrant Officer Class Two (equivalent to a Master Sergeant in the US Army) by the age of twenty?

Oh yeah, then there's that bit about one RNZAF or US Army aircraft commander or another regularly letting him "have a go at piloting a Huey". That too lacks credibility.

Now, onto the sequel.... "Rivers" claims to have been "a reserve pilot in the South African Air Force". Sorry folks, but that's Citizen Force (CF), not "reserve" in SADF lingo! While several CF squadrons — all of whose pilots were prior active-serice types who had completed SAAF Basic/Advanced/Combat Flying Training plus at least one operational tour in SWA — were flying Impala Mark II (locally built MB.326 variant) CAS/light-strike aircraft, none were equipped with the Mirage III at that time, contrary to what "Rivers" claims, nor has any individual ever gotten into the South African Air Force as a pilot on strength of civilian-acquired flying experience. The SAAF has, on occasion, accepted immigrant aircrew without requiring them to go through the SAAF schools, however in each case, these were men who had already served as military aircrew — invariably with an already-amassed wealth of operational experience — wherever they came from (e.g.: Rhodesia, Great Britain).

The claim of owning a charter flying service also rings bogus. As a young, penniless, medically retired ex-soldier, where did he get that kind of money?

[This message has been edited by William M Salter (edited 02-11-2001).]
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  #15  
Old 12 February 2001, 00:00
Huey One Four
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its 150hours here for CPL, i was looking into aviation as a career(civilan; air force wont accept glasses) flying helos.
Price ranges, yep, about US$3000 for PPL(fixed) and about NZ$18000 for CPL(also fixed). Thats at a bare minium, not counting test fees, nav comp, etc etc.

RH
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  #16  
Old 12 February 2001, 01:17
WS-G WS-G is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Huey One Four:
its 150hours here for CPL, i was looking into aviation as a career(civilan; air force wont accept glasses) flying helos.
150 sounds right for a rotary-wing rating, if you're planning to train at any place other than a so-called "approved school". ICAO guidelines allow for a total-hour reduction to as little as 100 hours for helicopter students, provided they're training as full-time students at an "approved school", though the majority of national regulatory agencies will have stricter requirements. Actually, I think "approved schools" are highly over-rated; all of the ones I've seen here in the US only seek approval so that the Immigration & Naturalization Service will allow them to issue student visas to foreign nationals. As well, these places charge hourly rates that are markedly greater than their non-approved counterparts.


Here in the US, for example, someone seeking a Commercial Pilot Certificate with a Helicopter Rating must have 150 total flying hours as a pilot, with at least 100 of those hours as pilot-in-command. However, only 50 total and 10 PIC have to be flown on helicopters; the remainder may be flown on other categories/classes. Due to the much-greater expense involved in renting a helicopter, those of us here with limited finances usually get our initial training on fixed-wing aircraft (glider time is accepted by our FAA; this is not the case in many other countries) and then build 100-200 hours of f/w time before undertaking helicopter instruction.

BTW, I was barred from pilot training in the military for the same reason as yourself: I have a bilateral DVA of 20/200 uncorrected and a spectacle prescription of –5.75 sph –0.75 cyl in one eye and –4.50 sph –0.50 cyl in the other. Actually, the only thing about my eyesight that isn't "perfect" is the fact that I need glasses (I'm correctable all the way to 20/8 and have better-than-normal color perception). As it is, I'm finishing up my own training on the proverbial "20-Year Plan", and presently trying to scrouge up a full-time position as a police officer so I can eventually get on with a law-enforcement air unit. For someone with a hard-core warrior mindset who's been screwed out of flying for the military, LE aviation is the "next-best-thing" <G>.
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  #17  
Old 12 February 2001, 05:48
Huey One Four
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The place i was going to do my training was Helipro. The guy who owns it(Rick Lucus) is one of the best pilots here in NZ, IMO. Helipro also has a very good reputation, but it was the price that put me off: NZ$55000, for the cadetship thing they have where you work for them doing ground ops for 3 days a week while the rest is spent flying. free turbine, mountain and some other ratings i cant remember.
www.helipro.co.nz if you want to have a look.

i know that if i where an American looking to do my licence, i would do it here: US$ worth LOTS here, and the most helicopters per capita in the world. more bang for your buck in other words

RH

ps, am now planning on joing air force as Air Police, later going to transfer to Huey Crewman if all goes well.

RH
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  #18  
Old 12 August 2001, 14:48
lavbo0321
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Interesting

I don't know anything about the pilot point of view or if that is a good way of verifying this guy.

However

I read Five Fingers and most of this guys other books in the eighties, and came to the same conclusion, before I joined the Corps. Then I met someone in the Marines who was very well connected and related the story about the raid on the Syrian HQ, the target of which was the planners of the bombing in Beirut which killed over 200 Marines.

Also I have seen him verified in numerous publications and on CNN years ago.

He has since retired and we will probably never hear from him again unless he comes out and does a biography with his real name and stats. He might even be dead. I am sure he made some enemies along the way.

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  #19  
Old 12 August 2001, 17:28
gear_guru gear_guru is offline
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There is an F troop in SASR. It is a HALO troop.
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  #20  
Old 13 August 2001, 13:06
Tracy
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To cut to the chase:

Gayle River's is full of horsesh*t.

Just like Steven Segal when he said he was a CIA Operative.

Just like Jared Chandler claimed he was a shooter for counter-narcoterrorist ops in Columbia.

There's the a**hole who claimed to be "Spooky 8" and an assassin for the CIA.

Instead of standing on their own merits, they dcecide they have to embellish their C.V. to make them look like Superman.
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