Special Ops on the Marshall Islands -1987

201I was contracting to a talent agency  to work in movies in Orlando, Florida, getting work in movies such as a series in SPACE, and in the movie D.A.R.Y.L. but the work was not enough, so I applied for a job as a police officer in the Marshall Islands, and its nickname was “Almost Paradise”. So I took a contract to be a police officer on the big Island, know as Kwajalein and it was situated at the bottom of the string of islands that formed a ring of islands  around a lagoon. At times, I wished that I had stayed there. It really was paradise. Plenty of recreation, including golf courses, sailing, fishing, a card that allowed me to eat excellent food, free everything and no worries. Also a month (every year) vacation anywhere I wanted to go for one month, anywhere I wanted, with pay, no income tax is also provided. I had a house boy to take care of everything and our uniforms were also cleaned. I could have retired there.

adventure trek 017The Russians had a spy ship that stayed off shore most of the time. It was said to be able to listen to us as we walked about the island from 3 miles away. Sometimes they would have Russian Spetsnaz, equal to our Navy Seals, set up on an island to monitor ICBM Inter- Continental Ballistic Warheads fired to these islands from a base in California.  The Russians have submersible  that allows them to travel below the surface and dock their device below the water of GEA PASS.

[03 Nov 87]  A patrolman on the island south of Gea spotted a white man with dark colors that blended with the jungle and he was carrying a long gun. A six-man patrol from the Emergency Response Team was then sent to GEA by Q-60. The subject was spotted by one of our officers and chased him. However, the subject outran the officer and he disappeared into the thick growth on the island.

Reinforcements from Headquarters in the Q-60 made three landings on the south end of Gea and made it their base.

The swells on the lagoon were unusually high but nothing like the Pacific once we crossed the reef into open water. An inflatable, which would bring us to shore, bounced along in the Q-60’s wake.

adventure trek 022I went ashore on the second run , landing on a sandbar just south of Gea. Our base camp was on the southwest corner of the island under some coconut and Pandanus trees. On the north side is GEA PASS, the entry to Kwajalein Lagoon for ships of all sizes. Carlos is only a short walk south on the reef at low tide. Gea is maybe 300 yards long and less than 100 yards wide. The vegetation, however, is very dense. (NOTE: This patrol boat on the left is on a mission in the jungle searching for Russian electronic receiver equipment for an upcoming ICBM test from Vandenburg AFB, California.)

On 02 February, 1944, a small battle took place here as the American invasion of Kwajalein began. According to one report,a U.S. “landing team hit the southwest end of  Gea at 0620. It headed north toward the lookout tower, where a single Japanese sentry was slain and then combed south again. It then encountered and overcame about 20 Japanese in hand-to-hand fighting.”

adventure trek 202Our operation was  led by Lieutenant Billy Waugh, head of Special Ops (See photo, the man in the white shirt to my left). Waugh, a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, had a twenty-two year career in special forces. Even at fifty-eight, he remained in excellent physical condition (In Soldier of Fortune’s February 2000 edition, pp. 67,73, Billy Waugh is on a list of SOG’s bravest men of the Vietnam conflict. According  to the article, “It is doubtful that any man in SOG fought more battles, served on more assignments and tempted fate more often than Sergeant Major William ”Billy’ Waugh.’)

We formed a line on the sand, twenty men stretched from lagoon to ocean. Every third man carried a radio. We loaded our sidearms and one man carried a 12 gauge pump shotgun. We drank some water and waited nervously for the sweep to start.

The radios crackled.”OK. Let’s move out slowly. Maintain the formation.” We hit the tree line at 1105. The heat and humidity increased dramatically in the stillness of the vegetation. Heavy undergrowth, vines and fallen, decaying trees passed across island from man to man. My jumpsuit became soaked and salty sweat poured over my eyes.

The subjects camp was in a clearing about seventy-five yards in, on the oceanside. It consisted of a cold campfire, some nylon rope, a pile of husked coconuts and a homemade husker constructed from a sharpened log and a forked tree branch.

We continued on, checking the undergrowth and in the tops of the trees, making as much noise as possible, trying to flush the prey out. Three hours later we reached GEA PASS. There were no footprints on the sand, no evidence at all that anyone had been here. My guess is that he had a chance to make it to the pass and escape before the sweep began and it could be closed off. There There was access to the water on the east side without leaving a trail.

After a thirty minute break, we made another sweep south with the same result. We were dragging by then and I had lost eight pounds. When the operation began we were psyched. But the ending was a disappointment. It was a good workout, though, and we all made it back.

NOTE: The officer later said that he was a 440 track man but the unknown runner was too fast for him and he escaped into the thick jungle. And I believe that the subject disappeared below GEA PASS and headed on back to the spy ship, leaving his coconuts. Or maybe some other explanation. Who knows.

adventure trek 003Another more serious situation included a mission  on 13 February 1987, ordered by President Reagan. It involved Moscow, Russia, the spy ship, the remains of two unarmed nuclear warheads stacked up at the end of my bed in the trailer, and a unit of Russian special forces planning to land on Illeginni Island.

I was on Illeginni Island, halfway up the west side of the lagoon. I was given orders to use deadly force only if they fired first. Yes, I wondered how much longer I would still be receiving my paycheck. It was close. The Russians were heading up the reef to deploy. You can read this article WAITING FOR THE RUSSIANS.

(LEFT) This electric power plant was destroyed by a unarmed ICBM from California. The Russians were going to look around. Good story.


Posted in: Uncategorized