The USS Cole Attack: Commander Kirk Lippold’s Perspective

In 2012 Lippold wrote a book about the incident, and I spoke with him the day before the 12th anniversary of the attack.

It didn’t start with September 11th.

Almost a year before al Qaeda terrorists flew planes into buildings, suicide bombers affiliated with al Qaeda attacked the destroyer USS Cole as it was refueling in Yemen. Seventeen American sailors died in the attack.

The commanding officer of the Cole was Kirk Lippold, a 41-year-old Navy veteran. And even though an exhaustive investigation found nothing to indicate Lippold could have foreseen or prevented the attack, he was subsequently denied a promotion several times.

So here now, from 2012, Kirk Lippold.

Kirk Lippold is now 64. He works for a political marketing organization

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David Morehouse

His story may sound like something from a scary science fiction movie.

Or from an episode of South Park.

But in 1996, a former Army intelligence officer named David Morehouse wrote a book about his experience as what he called a “psychic warrior.”

In that book, Morehouse explained how he was recruited for a super top secret defense program called Operation Stargate.

It was based on the principle of so-called “remote viewing,” in which extraordinary powers of the mind were used as an intelligence-gathering tool.

I met David Morehouse when he was on a book tour promoting “Psychic Warrior.” So here now, from 1996, David Morehouse.

David Morehouse later made a career of training others to use their powers of remote viewing. He is now 69 and losing California.

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Denise Donnelly

Memorial Day is the day America honors the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in military service.

But not all of those lives were lost on the battlefield.

U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Michael Donnelly flew 44 combat missions during the Persian Gulf war, Operation Desert Storm, in the early 1990s.

But in 1996, Donnelly was medically discharged from the Air Force, after being diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

His subsequent fight with the U.S. government to get medical treatment proved to be the most difficult battle he had ever fought.

In 1998, Donnelly and his sister Denise co-wrote Falcon’s Cry: A Desert Storm Memoir.

So here now, from 1998, Denise Donnelly.

Michael Donnelly died in 2005. He was 46.

A 2008 study by the University of Cincinnati found that confirmed 48 cases of ALS in Persian Gulf war veterans.

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Oliver North

In the 1980s, the presidency of Ronald Reagan was facing two distinct foreign policy challenges.

Members of Hezbollah had taken several Americans hostage in Beirut, Lebanon.

And in Central America, a rebel group known as the Contras was trying to overthrow the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

To free the hostages, the Reagan administration undertook a secret plan to sell military missiles to Iran, in hopes that the Iranian government would persuade Hezbollah to release the hostages.

In Nicaragua, meanwhile, the U.S. was funding, arming, and training the Contras. That is, until Congress abruptly cut off the entire funding.

Oliver North with Bill Thompson’s daughter Jennifer

That’s when someone had the idea to take the money that Iran was paying secretly for those missiles and hand it secretly to the Contras. The plan became known later as the Iran-Contra affair.

When this plan became public in 1986, Congress was outraged. Hearings into the Iran. Contra affair began 35 years ago this week, May 5th, 1987.

And witness testimony quickly pointed to one man who seemed to have all the answers to the scandal.

Oliver North was on assignment to the National Security Council, and became the central figure in the Iran Contra scandal.

In July 1987, North appeared before I congressional committee, offering testimony that was at once defensive and defiant.

North was convicted on three felony charges but his convictions were vacated, and the criminal case against him was dropped in 1991.

And a short time later, North published a book called Under Fire. And that’s when he and I had the first of what would be several conversations over the next few years.

So here now from 1991 Lr. Col. Oliver North

Oliver North is 78 now. He lives in Virginia, just outside Washington, DC.

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Alexander Haig

Today is March 30th, and it was 41 years ago today that a young man tried to kill President Ronald Reagan.

And one of the most controversial things that happened that day happened to a man with a long and distinguished military and public service career, general. Alexander Haig.

Haig was a graduate of West point m. He served in Korea, served in Vietnam, earned the silver Star and the purple heart. And by 1973 was the youngest four-star general ever in the US army.

In 1973, Haig became President Richard Nixon’s, Chief of staff just as the Watergate scandal was turning up to full boil.

In fact, many say that Haig was instrumental in persuading Nixon to resign the presidency in 1974.

In 1980, after being elected president in a landslide, Ronald Reagan chose Haig as his secretary of State. And it was the following March 30th, the day. John Hinckley Jr. Tried to assassinate the president, that Haig made a comment that will haunt him.

In 1992, Haig wrote a book called inner circles. And that’s when I have the chance to meet him. So here now, from 1992, general Alexander Haig.

Alexander Haig died in 2010. He was 85.

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Richard Marcinko

SHave you ever done a job so well that your boss is punished you for it?

That’s what former Navy SEAL team 6 Commander Richard Marcinko said happened to him.

Marcinko joined the Navy in the late 1950s, and became a part of the underwater demolitions unit. After a tour in Vietnam, Marcinko became a Navy SEAL.

After the 1979 hostage rescued attempt, Marcinko was chosen to form, and be the first commander of, the elite SEAL team. Team Six.

After three years in that role, Marcinko was given a new assignment: form a unit to test the Navy’s vulnerability to terrorism.

That new project, called Red Cell, is what got Marcinko in hot water, he says, because he exposed vulnerabilities the Navy didn’t want to acknowledge.

He was actually sentenced to prison in 1990. More on that in a moment. But in 1992 Marcinko wrote a memoir called Rogue Warrior. And that’s when I first met him.

This would be the first of many interviews I would have with Marcinko over the next few years, as he told many of his military stories in the form of novels loosely based on his experiences.

So here now, from 1992, Richard Marcinko.

Richard Marcinko died on Christmas Day 2021. He was 81.

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Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr.

Benjamin O. Davis Jr. played a key role in World War II.

Not only were his combat accomplishments extraordinary, but his leadership helped shape the United States Air Force for decades to come.

Davis was the leader of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

As commander of the 99th Fighter Squadron and 332nd Fighter Group in Europe, Davis demonstrated that African-American pilots were just as skilled as their white counterparts.

Benjamin O. Davis flew sixty missions in the war.

He later became the first African-American general in the U.S. Air Force.

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Gen. James Dozier

Fprty years ago this weekend a U.S. Army general who was stationed at a NATO facility in Italy was kidnapped by a Marxist terrorist group known as the Red Brigades.

General James Dozier spent the next 42 days in captivity, before a dramatic rescue.

And, as you’re about to hear in this interview, Dozier’s rescue by Italian special forces actually help break the back of the Red Brigades.

I met General Dozier and his wife Judy several years later. They wrote a book about that harrowing episode.

So here now from 1990 general James Dozier and his wife Judy.

General James Dozier is 90 now.

Colin Powell

The United States marks Veterans Day tomorrow. And very recently, we lost one of the most revered veterans of modern times.

The son of Jamaican immigrants, Colin Powell was a lifelong soldier.

He joined the ROTC while in college in the 1950s, then served two tours of Duty in Vietnam in the 1960s. In 1979 he was promoted to Brigadier General, and by 1989, he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

When George W Bush was elected in 2000, he named Powell his Secretary of State. a post Powell held for Mr. Bush’s first term.

I met Colin Powell in 1996, when he was promoting his autobiography, a book called My American Journey.

So here now, from summer 1996, Colin Powell.

Colin Powell died last month. He was 84.

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Mary Tillman

Recently the 20-year war in Afghanistan came to an end. Have his given all of us time to reflect on those two decades.

We also remember the 23 hundred or so US servicemen and women who died in Afghanistan.

One of them, in particular, drew public attention. Then-27 year-old Army Ranger, and former NFL star, Pat Tillman was killed in 2004.

But that tragedy was compounded when the Pentagon apparently attempted to cover up the circumstances of his death.

Mary Tillman on C-SPAN

It eventually was revealed that he was killed by a so-called “friendly fire.”

A few years later, Pat Tillman’s mother, Mary Tillman, wrote a book about her son and her fight with the Pentagon. And that’s when I met her.

So here now, from 2008, Mary Tillman:

Pat Tillman was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and a Purple Heart.

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