Sunday, December 6, 2009

Americans in Rhodesia Pt. 3

The 1960's and 70's was an era of tumult. A time when people questioned and rebelled against the government of the United States, in large part to the Vietnam conflict. Many of America's best and brightest were sent off to a place most couldn't point out on a map and could not conceive what national security threat it posed to the US. A multi faceted problem that started off directly after world war two and incrementally evolved into American involvement through Advisors, then to full fledged military commitment. The faithful continued to support our government and do their duty to stop the advance of communism. However a doctrine of containment left the military and political establishment in a quagmire. There was no clear objective that could be attained.

The seeds of discord began to grow among the people and especially in our universities. From student protests, burning of flags and draft cards to armed retaliation against student protesters at Kent State began to bring things to a roaring crescendo. The cold war was far from cold and was being contested in places seemingly irrelevant to national security in the minds of the average person. However, there were still many who believed that communism was indeed a worthy foe to be engaged and put down.
Most Cold Warriors believed that to allow communism to spread would eventually lead to the decline and disintegration of Western and Christian Civilization. And those men believed that our own Government were weak in its face and cared more for detente than aggressive protection and destruction of the opposition.

As the Vietnam war began to close shop those professional soldiers who were true believers found an outlet in many areas of the world to employ their trade and live according to their conscience. Here we find one of the first Americans to see Rhodesia as a place in which there was a true battle against Communism and Western civilization.

John Alan Coey was from Columbus, Ohio. Unlike many of the soldiers to follow the road to Rhodesia, Coey had not served in Vietnam. A devout Christian who made no bones about mixing his politics and religion was preparing to enter the Marine Corps. He was in the ROTC program and had spent the summer of his junior year at Quantico to set his career in motion. In 1971-2 he began to rethink his commitment to serve in the armed forces of the United States.

He saw the 'Vietnamization' of the war as a betrayal of the cause to which the US was committed to. His opinion was that the fighting men of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts were betrayed by politicians who lacked the will to engage and crush communism. He cited the dismissal of Douglas Macarthur and other famous military leaders as examples of a weak will to win and perserve Freedom, Democracy and Western Civilization.

In his journal which he kept from the day he left the United States to his death he details his ideology and the actions in which he participated in Rhodesia. He decided to ask for a dismissal from his commitment to the Marine Corps in what he calls a 'Soldiers Protest'. It outlined his reasons as follows.

-The deliberate prevention by the U.S. Goverment of victory over communist forces in Southeast Asia.
-The attempted overthrow of the Constitutional Republic of the United States by a revolutionary conspiracy of Internationalists, collectivists and communists in and out of the U.S. Government.
-The attempted destruction by Government Defense Officials of the fighting capabilites of the American Combat forces.

He was granted his request and after graduation in 1972 from Ohio State he set off for war elsewhere. These opinions are no doubt as controversial then as they would be now. It was his firmness of belief that prompted him to leave the US and find a place where his efforts would be spent in what he believed to be a true and unfettered battle against Communism.

These ideologies would allow him to persevere along with his deep Christian faith and would also hinder him and cause confusion and misunderstanding during his service in Rhodesia. He would find the enemy he was looking for and fight battles both in the bush as well as within his soul. The anvil of war would test his resolve and beliefs to the uttermost.

More to come...........

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