Saturday, April 23, 2011

Visit from the Red Cell

                I was commanding a base in Sasebo, on the southern island of Kyushu, Japan 1983-86. 

 U.S. Navy Fleet Activities, Sasebo, Japan

                Japan, and Americans on bases in Japan, were having a bit of trouble with communist terrorists (like Chukaku-ha) in those days (1986) and so this team of SEALS was sent by the Navy to train us on counter terrorism security. 
                SEALS, like Jesse Ventura, are superb athletes-- they can swim for miles, run, lift weights, and kill enemies with their bare hands.  They are very tough, mean dudes.  Some are also known to drink excessively, get in fights, and are not too gentle with the ladies.  We call them "snake eaters."

                The leader of the team that came to Sasebo was a Navy Captain named Dick Marcinko.  Marcinko (who has written several macho-obscene military books)    He was a protegé of then Admiral Ace Lyons, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific.
                He led a team of mostly enlisted SEALs, and their job was to train my guys about counter terrorism.  It was a “Red Cell.”
                They had just arrived at the base, and we were prepared for them.  Their job would be to penetrate our security, and simulate blowing things up, kidnapping personnel, and such.
                We had heard about an incident in New London, CT where they had done their training.  In one event, they kidnapped the base commander's wife.  Her husband was a Captain Wendell Powell, whom I knew.  His wife was a nice lady, and she was wearing a dress.  These idiots hung her out of a third story window, holding her by her feet, so her dress dropped down and exposed her underwear.  We were impressed to hear this.
                About that time, a package arrived at my office.  It was from Hokkaido.  I didn't know anyone in Hokkaido, and suspected that this was a trick of the Red Cell. I called my own snake-eater team-- our Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) detachment.  They came and xrayed the package.  They couldn't detect its contents, so they did what EOD people do whenever it doubt. They took it off a ways from my office and blew it up.
                What they found was it was a well-destroyed Kokeshi doll.  My wife Marty was not happy with me, as it was a doll she had ordered from a Japanese woman who had recently shown her dolls at a craft show at the base.

                During that week of training by the Red Cell, Marcinko's team stormed our Bachelor Officers' Quarters and took hostages in what was the denouement of their visit.
                My predecessor was visiting the base at the time.  He had retired from the Navy, and was looking into setting up a business relationship with a local cultured pearl impresario.  While he had been base commander he had apparently formed a rather close liaison with his young Japanese secretary.
                As Marcinko’s team raided our BOQ at about 3 am, my predecessor was in one of the rooms.  It turned out that the secretary was also there.  I'm sure she was just giving him a briefing on events in Sasebo
                All this got wrapped up into the terrorist "event"--- and it became a task to get the girl out of his room quietly.  Of course, all the Japanese on the base, and all our Navy people, found out about it.
                Besides the drama with the retired naval officer and the Japanese secretary, the Red Cell had taken many hostages in an event that closely approximated real terrorist events that had recently taken place.  These guys were good, and everyone learned a lot. 
                One thing I learned is never to have the Red Cell come to your house for “a drink”.

Let's change the subject to some diverse books and printed material I'm offering:

Home Angel, The, by L.B. Urbino (Levino Buoncuore, d. 1888)  Boston, MA: Wentworth and Company. "Does the reader believe it impossible to live happily, as these good people did, in a community of negroes? Let him pray that his Christianity may be more Christ-like, and his heart so enlarged that he can take in all mankind as his brothers."  Miss Urbino took on a monstrously obscure subject in this novel about interracial marriage.  Written in the years of slavery in the United States, this is the story of Esther Le Gendre, whose  whose father was a fair-skinned count, and whose mother died as she was born.  Esther is a "mulattress", but it's difficult for her to find out her background. She meets her grandfather, a former slave, and learns that her mother was "colored". Novel is written in the elaborate language of the mid-nineteenth century, with much religious reference. Very scarce. 239 pp. 12 x 19 cm. Red cloth on board with blind-stamped and gilt design. Edges worn and  frayed, inside rear hinge cracked. "Mrs. Josie H. Lang" inscribed on front free endpaper. On second free endpaper is a small (3 x 3 cm.) enameled picture of a woman and a man, and an inscription in pencil: "Leavis Collishead G A 2nd 1869". A few light stains on pages, fair. (5705) $70.00. Fiction/Race

Fidel Castro--Rebel Liberator or Dictator? These are the questions the world is asking. Here are the penetrating answers by the outstanding American correspondent who knows Castro best…. First edition, second printing by Jules Dubois,  ©1959 Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc. One month after Dictator Fulgencio Batista had escaped from Cuba, and Fidel Castro's revolution had triumphed, Dubois published this story of Castro, including photos as a child and as a young man.  Fresh, positive, very favorable picture of Castro. 389 pp. 15 x 22 cm. Paper on board, inside front hinge broken, good. Dustjacket worn, several chips, fair. (5755) $26.00. Biography/Cold War

American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge for the Year 1833 Fourth Annual Volume 1832 Boston, MA: Gray and Bowen; and Carter, Hendee and Co. Calendar of Celestial Phenomena for the Year; Red snow of the Alps, Showers of Dust, Meteoric Stones, Mirage, Halos, Parhelia or False Suns, Lightning Rods. Part II: Executive Government. President Andrew Jackson receives salary of $25,000 per annum. Senate: Daniel Webster was Senator from MA; John Tyler from VA, Thomas H. Benton, MO, Henry Clay, KY; John Q. Adams of Quincy, MA was Congressman; Benedict J. Semmes was Congressman from MD, James K. Polk Congressman from TN. John Marshall was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Roger Taney was Attorney General. Bank of the United States--a bill rechartering this Bank was passed by both houses of Congress but was rejected by the President. Census shows free white population of 10.526,248, free colored of 319,599 and slaves 2,009,043. Information on each state provides interesting data on railroads constructed, under construction, and planned, and river transportation.  Section on Commonwealth of Virginia contains interesting report on Committee on Slavery  and Removal of Free Negroes, which concluded with resolution that it is currently "inexpedient to make any legislative enactments  for the abolition of slavery." Includes reports on various foreign nations, and a Chronicle of Events for Sept. 1831 to Sept. 1832. 312 pp. 12 x 19 cm. Paper covered book with 4 cm. hole burned in cover; owner name "Fannie P. Matthes" handwritten on cover. Fair. (2555) $79.00. History

 Chief Wets-It Assiniboine (See "Glimpses of Indian Life" in 
American Monthly Review of Reviews

American Monthly Review of Reviews, The; illustrated; October, 1898 Shaw, Albert, Editor  New York, NY: The Review of Reviews Co., 13 Astor Place 126 + 81 pp. 18 x 24.5 cm. This issue is full of comment and criticism of the United States and Pres. McKinley in the Spanish-American War. Brilliant and biting political cartoons, several from German publications, which are smarting at American aggressiveness in Cuba and the Philippines. Criticism of Secretary of War Alger for a mismanaged Cuban campaign. "Medical and Sanitary Aspects of the War" by Dr. Carroll Dunham. Glimpses of Indian Life at the Omaha Exposition: fascinating article about Indians at encampment-- Assiniboines, Jicarilla Apaches,  Sioux, Blackfeet, Omaha, Chippewa, Cheyenne, Crow, Winnebago, Brule-Sioux, Flatheads, Mojave Apache, photos. "The Man at the Helm," William McKinley as War President by Gen. A.B. Nettleton.  The Founder of a Protestant Brotherhood--Rev. Thomas Champness of the Joyful News Mission. Periodical, cover has 2 x 2 cm corner torn off, spine frayed and torn, Table of Contents page misprinted, so that several page numbers do not appear.  Good. (5751)  $19.00. History      
 Lustige Blätter

 Lustige Blätter, No.24 XXXIII Jahrg. 202. Kriegs-Nummer, 30 May, 1918 (Famed German weekly humor  magazine, with World War I propaganda) Berlin, Germany: Verlag der Lustigen Blätter, (Dr. Eysler & Co.), G.m.b.H. Cover shows well-dressed African Americans: "Auf dem Broadway in New-York. Is doch Wilson famoose Präsident für uns-- will ganzes weißes Kaffe ausrotten!" Back cover shows Trainer (Pres.) Wilson feeding wine to animals: "Die gedopten Entente-Gäule." Cartoon shows an aged, exhausted Woodrow Wilson losing race to a fit, healthy Kaiser. Large color cartoon makes fun of Marshal Foch. 16 pp. 24 x 32 cm. Paper periodical, spinefold worn, very good. (5816) $20.00. World War I/History/Propaganda

 General McClellan

 Republican Herald and Post, Providence, RI, Saturday morning, October 29, 1864. Providence, RI: Alfred Anthony.  Fascinating  pre-election coverage of national and local news: Campaign to elect Gen. McClellan, running as a Democrat against President Lincoln; Republicans accused of cutting up McClellan flag in Newport, RI. Criticism of voters’ oath proposed by Vice President Johnson. News from Cedar Creek on great victory by Union forces. Defeat of Confederates in battle in Shenandoah Valley. Speech by Pres. Lincoln praises Marylanders on adoption of new constitution. Abraham Lincoln partizans (sic) burn McClellan banner in Washington.  4 pp. 54 x 64 cm. Newspaper, small holes in folds,  good. (6120) $39.00.  Civil War/History

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