FORT FAIRFIELD JOURNAL
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Editor/Publisher: David R. Deschesne
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|Retired Special Forces LTC
Gets Sued for Writing on Experiences in Vietnam
“I was asked by the CIA to assassinate Cambodian Prince Sihanouk.”
|Donate to LTC Dan Marvin's Legal Defense!|
By: David Deschesne, Editor
Fort Fairfield Journal
Lieutenant Colonel Daniel “Dangerous Dan” Marvin (US Army, Special Forces, Retired) knew he was going to rattle some cages at the highest levels of the political infrastructure of the US government when he released his book, Expendable Elite, but he had no idea former soldiers under his command - close personal friends, at that - would lose their courage under pressure and agree to sue him and his publisher for libel for writing a book he claims to be the truth.
LTC Marvin served in Vietnam from December, 1965 through December 1966. It was the day after Christmas in 1965 that LTC William Tuttle, commander of all the Special Forces (Green Berets) in IV Corps called Dan into his office in Can Tho and asked him if he would volunteer to command Team A-424 in An Phu and be the first to take the war against the enemy into Cambodia.
“Dan, if you take this command and accept this TOP SECRET mission, you will be on your own,” Marvin says he recalls Tuttle saying. “When you leave this room, it will be as if we never met. We can’t and won’t stand behind you if you are caught doing what I am about to tell you to do. Got it, Captain?” From there, as a captain, Marvin went to An Phu, South Vietnam and commanded Team A-424 in that independent operation from 27 December 1965 to 1 August 1966. While there, he won the hearts and minds of the 64,000 Hao Hoas, a fiercely independent militant Buddhist sect that populated An-Phu District. “The Hao Hoas were a very hard working, honest group of people,” LTC Marvin told the Fort Fairfield Journal in a recent interview. “I think some of my fellow Christians could take some lessons on faith from them, by observing how faithful they are to their religion.” It was 792 of those Hoa Hao "irregulars" that comprised Marvin's fighting force in An Phu.
In June, 1966, Captain Marvin was approached by a CIA operative and asked if he would volunteer for a mission into Cambodia - then a “neutral” country - in order to ambush and assassinate their leader, Prince Norodom Sihanouk and make it look as if the Viet Cong had done it.
Marvin accepted the mission with the stipulation that President Johnson would publicly declare on television, radio and in print that the enemy’s “safe havens” across the border in Cambodia would no longer be off limits to U.S. fire. The CIA agent indicated he would relay that counter-offer to the President.
Two days prior to the day that 42 of Marvin's irregulars would travel up the Bassac River and into Cambodia to ambush and assassinate the Cambodian Prince, Capt. Marvin realized that President Johnson’s announcement was not forthcoming and called the deal off, ordering the CIA agent out of his camp.
The agent subsequently left in a fury. “You can’t fight ‘the system,’ Captain,” Marvin recalls the agent exclaiming, “because you can’t win.” All details related in this account are solely the opinion and allegations of LTC Daniel Marvin, and not the position of this newspaper or its personnel.
About six days later, a Regiment in the Army for the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) was dispatched by CIA influenced Premier Nguyen Cao Ky who directed them to attack An Phu Camp and destroy it. When ARVN LTG Quang Van Dang, at the request of the Hoa Hao Central Committee Chairman flew with Colonel William Desobry over the ARVN Regiment and ordered them back to their cantonement area he was told that they were headed for Marvin’s camp under orders from Premier Ky to kill him and all of his troops because, as they were told, he was planning on leading the Hao Hoas in a coup attempt against the government of South Vietnam - which, according to Marvin, he never intended to do. General Dang's arrival over the regiment saved Marvin and his troops from a CIA-instigated attack - an attack seemingly for “payback” against his refusal to play ball with “the Company.”
Marvin retired from the military in May, 1973 as a Lieutenant Colonel. While in An Phu he was awarded the prestigious Purple Scarf from the Hoa Hao - naming him as an honorary Hoa Hao (he is now a Born Again Christian) - the only American to receive that special tribute. In 2003, Trine Day Publishing Company released LTC Marvin’s book, Expendable Elite, much to the chagrin of Special Operations Command leaders and the Special Forces Association and its 6,000 plus members who would rather major revelations in his book had been kept under wraps.
The libel and defamation of character suit by Colonel Tuttle and six of the men from his former unit against LTC Marvin and Trine Day is currently on hold. A trial was begun in October in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, Charleston, South Carolina, but a mistrial was declared after a day and a half of testimony. A new trial will begin in the same court on Jan. 23. “Before I released the manuscript to the publisher, I sent it to those of my men who I had located and asked for their comments. They did and liked the way I portrayed them all in my writing. I’ve always referred to them as 'heroes.' because that is what they were.” When asked why his men would turn on him, Marvin postulated, “It seems the Special Forces Association has put some pressure on them and scared them by saying to at least one of them that he would lose his retirement benefits if he just spoke with me and it was his wife who told me that! So he joined with the other intimidated ones and agreed to sue me.”
Having purposely included TOP SECRET information and the name of a CIA operative in his text, LTC Marvin realized there was going to be flack over releasing this information. “It would have been worth a few years in prison to get the truth out about our government,” LTC Marvin asserts. "They (the government) didn't dare sue me because they would have to thereby admit that what I wrote was the truth - so they forced my men to do their dirty work." LTC Marvin can be contacted via his website: www.expendableelite.com TrineDay publishing company's website is www.trineday.com He currently lives in New York where he enjoys repairing antique furniture and writing a gardening column for his local paper.