Written by Thomas D. Segel
Terrorists Only Stand Down in Front of Power and Knowing Action Will Follow
Harlingen, Texas, September 14, 2012: When FOX News ran the story of attacks on our embassy in Cairo, Egypt and consulate in Bangladesh, Libya plus the deaths of the ambassador and three embassy employees, they also asked a retired Army general for comment.
He said all these terrorists know is to fear power and force. The best was to control them, he offered, was to tell the country in no uncertain terms that if it killed 4 of our people, we would respond by killing 400 of theirs. This brought shock and dismay from mainstream media commentators across both the electronic and print news services. But, I agree with the general. I have seen it in action.
Some 43 years ago I commanded a small television and radio station in Tuy Hoa, Vietnam. With our 100-foot tower we were very unpopular with folks at the Air Force base where we were operating. They loved the programming, but hated the facility. As a result we were located at the very far southern end of the base, near the end of the main runway and far removed from any structures. Our only neighbor was a security dog kennel group across the road from us and next the South China Sea. But even their facility was better. They had air conditioning and a flush toilet. We had a pre-fab building, a couple a fans and dog odor every time the wind blew off the sea. We also had no toilet and had to run across and use theirs when duty called.
The Air Force hated our tower because it put their aircraft, aircrews and fighters in greater harms way. But, the tower was a must for us to air programming for them and a near by Army helicopter base, some A-Team outposts and our main security eight miles away, the South Korean White Horse Division.
In those days the Viet Cong, used our tower as along range aiming steak to launch mortar fire and light artillery fire on the base. So, our distance added to everyone’s safety but our own.
After a particularly strong attack one night that almost hit my unit’s sleeping quarters, I made the jeep run to see an old friend, and ask for his help.
A South Korean General named Jun Kil Lee commanded White House Division. I had known him during the Korean War as a major who was liaison officer to our Marine infantry unit. We had formed a good friendship.
When I heard he was in command, I drove the eight miles of dirt road to see him and explain my plight. To get to the White Horse unit one had to pass the village of Phu Hep located on the far side of the road about half way between White Horse and Tuy Hoa. It was long suspected of being a strong Viet Cong headquarters and repeatedly searched, but nothing ever found. Still everyone knew that was the site of our problem.
While I was at the Whit Horse Headquarters, an attack was made on His command. The Korean soldiers drove it away. They fled leaving seven bodies behind. The Koreans hung the bodies over a barbwire fence for friends to collect the next day.
Korean Intelligence told the general several faces were recognized from past visits to the Phu Hep village. That was all it took. The general mounted his command jeep, had two trucks of military support and me riding shotgun. He raced into Phu Hep and called out the head Man from his jeep. Through his interpreter General Lee reminded the Head Man of his pledge to strike if any attack was made on local commands. Then we raced away taking him back to his headquarter. Before I was out the White Horse gate my jeep was halted. In the distance I heard massive mortar and artillery fire. White Horse Division had almost ringer the village with firepower and in the end almost destroyed it. But, an attack on either command never occurred again.
Promised power delivered in Vietnam worked well. It would work in Egypt, Libya or any other mid-east trouble spot.
Thomas D. Segel