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Gerry Hemming

Reference: GPH Email

Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 03:17:10 EST

Subj: Re: Letter From a: Marine [Korea] [US Army Special Forces 'Nam] & [CIA]
Date: 2/27/03 9:18:01 AM Eastern Standard Time
BCC: InterPenPMGrp61

Mrs. Bray [or if I might be so bold - - Charlotte]

I served in the Marines during the early 1950s for 4.5 years [I extended by initial 4 yr. enlistment in order to qualify for the US Naval Academy Prep. School at NTTC Bainbridge, Havre D' Grace, MD.]  I resigned at the US Naval Academy during late 1958, with 4 more years of required USMC Reserve duty.  I left the USMC as a "Buck" Sergeant, and promptly resumed my recent gunrunning operations to Rebel Forces inside Cuba.

I served in the Cuban Rebel Army from '58 thru late 1959, and thereupon transferred from The Parachute Regiment to the Rebel Air Force as a Fighter/Patrol pilot.  [I checked-out in the following WWII era aircraft: F-51 "Mustang"; B-26 "Douglas Invader"; British Mod. 2 Hawker "Sea Fury"; F-47 Republic "Thunderbolt" (a/k/a the 7 ton "Jug"); C-46 Curtis "Air Commando"; C-47 Douglas "Sky Train" (which was our primary jump aircraft); L-2A DeHavilland "Beaver"; TBM-4 Grumman "Avenger" (Geo. H.W. Bush's WWII bird); AT-6/SNJ-3 North American "Texan"; T-28 "Trojan"; etc., etc.!

I left Cuban service during late 1960 after training Sandinista Guerrillas and was later arrested by Fidel's Secret Police on four occasions.  [The same "Sandinistas" whom I trained, became the anti-communist "Contras" during the 1980s.]                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                         I had participated in the tragic invasion of the Dominican Republic on June 14th, 1959, and was able to fly some of Major Delio Gomez Ochoa's survivors out of the La Plata airport on the North coast of "Santo Domingo"!  A month later I went on the invasion against "Papa" Doc in Haiti (11 July 1959) with Major Henri Fuertes, and flew some survivors out of this debacle after a very fierce fire-fight at the Cap D' Haitien Airbase which we had captured previously.

Upon arrival back in the US I was debriefed by the CIA.  During early 1961,
I worked with some of the Anti-Castro Commando groups before the Bay of Pigs Invasion (17 April 1961).  I continued to train the independent (of CIA) Cuban Exile groups at camps in the Everglades and the Keys until the summer of '64.

During August of 1964, our recently deceased (Then SF Major) Colonel Norman J. Gray [3/20thSFGrp(Abn)FLANG - - persuaded me to join his 3 Detachments, Company "C", 3/20th SFGrp(Abn) which was then HQ'd at the Fla. Nat'l Guard Armory located on NW 27th Avenue, Miami, Fla. (Later moved to Ft. Lauderdale).                                                                                
                                                                                                                         During 1967 I signed up with the State Dept.'s USAID/Public Safety Dept. (CIA) and was assigned to deploy to Tay Ninh Province in the 'Nam.  After moving my wife and two baby daughters to California, the Jim Garrison Investigation threatened to compromise my future career, along with that of then Captain Robt. K. Brown. However, RKB continued on to the RVN and the 25th Division (Despite his MOS as an SF "A" Team Leader).  [Bob Brown later commanded an "A" Team w/ 1st SFGrp(Abn) for two tours. [After a Parachute Medical mission in Peru during early 1970; Bob later went on to found "Soldier of Fortune Magazine"].  RKB retired as a L/COL during the 1980s.                                                             
                                                                                                                         (We all got together a couple months back - - here at Fort Bragg country during the 50th Anniversary of the creation of the Green Berets in 1952).

I grieve deeply for the loss of Norm Gray, but despite my serious health problems, I had my SFC Green Beret son-in-law drive me on the 5 hour trip to Rodanthe on the "Outer Banks" near Hatteras.  M/Sgt. Ed Githens [re-activated and deployed to Kygystan and Kandahar even after retiring w/ 37 years of 3/20th service] and his son, along w/ Pete Cooke were there upon my arrival.  Norm's excruciating pain is gone now, and we expect that he is looking down on all of us, naturally expecting that we will continue the duty that he so well trained us in!!

'Nuff said, kinda like "Preaching to the Choir".

Semper Fi / De Oppresso Liber

Sgt. Gerry Patrick Hemming

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