Saturday, December 12, 2009

John Alan Coey Pt. 2

Part 2
Coey arrived in South Africa and made his way to Salisbury swore into the Rhodesian Army. He was immediately put into the RLI's 19 week basic training that would introduce him to the Rhodesian Army and begin his journey. He was struck by the differences of the training and mostly the discipline that was a marked contrast to his time with the Marine Corps. He took to it well and understood it to be integral to the type of warfare that they were to be engaged in.

During that time he met many foreigners. In particular he met with another Marine who had deserted and fled to Rhodesia. He was none to impressed and felt he had enlisted for the wrong reasons and another Combat veteran of the Vietnam war whom he felt more synergy with.

The weeks passed and he performed well enough to be considered for SAS selection. He was excited at this prospect as he felt it would help him get to the sharp end of the spear and engage the enemy. 5 of the fifteen made it through his course and he then proceeded for the next six months on to specialist training. He was the third American to join the ranks and only two remained. The other having deserted back to the states.

At this time he had contact with a Mr. Brown , a journalist in South Africa. He submitted articles to him and was pleased that they were to be published starting with his 'Protest'. In many of the articles that were published he explained his world view on the reasons Rhodesia was fighting its war, those whom he felt were the true enemies of freedom and democracy and even some problems he felt the Rhodesian Government were not handling properly. Although this gave him some notoriety it didn't bode well overall for his standing in the army.

Foreigners were welcome to the cause but were also targets of suspicion. The Rhodesians were well aware of their precarious standing with the US and Britain since the declaration of independence as a British colony and the rising support of African nationalism in the halls of US power. Many instances of CIA incursions into the country didn't help the trust factor of Americans being brought into secretive units. He however finished his training and was a full member of the SAS.

In September of 1972, he found himself at a crossroads and began to express his disappointment on issues agreed upon by British Delegates and Ian Smith.
-Unimpeded progress of Black Majority rule
-Stationing of foreign troops
-An increase of parliamentary seats by nationalists
-Coupling the Rhodesian dollar to the Pound

He felt that these things were the exact opposite of the cause of independence and preservation of Western Civilization and that nationalism was simply a route for Communism to take over. His commitment vascillated but he pressed on in hopes of fighting off the Red Hoard.

When he was posted to his unit he found it hard to bond with the troopers. With front line units, it requires a certain mindset. Those living the lifestyle of possibly dying often live their lives on the edge in their free time to escape the stress. The old adage of 'you don't send choir boys to fight a war' rang especially true. Coey was a teetoaler and his mates might have taken his disinterest in the things young soldiers love as an afront.

He however did manage to perform well enough to go for Officer's Selection, which he was most excited about. His internal angst at a perfect ideology and an army that performed it caused some reluctance that was noted by the officers board. "You take life too seriously and you must project your personality and withdraw from your shell".

He continued on but was dismissed from the course for academic and temperament issues. He began to realize that some of his views were considered subversive to the morale of the Rhodesian Army. His articles had reached the ears of people in charge and it was deemed best not to have an officer making any contrary statements to official stances within its ranks. He was rotated back to the SAS and began aggressive patrols searching out terr camps. He determined he would not be deterred and not falter on his personal beliefs. He enjoyed this but was still not meshing with the men of the SAS.

Things came to a head in December of 1973 when his Major said he would no longer be going on patrols and his jump pay revoked. He stated that Coey ' just wasn't worth it '. It was a great humiliation that cause him to consider applying for a discharge but instead chose to go to the RLI.

Coey reassesed his purpose and goals and wrote this.
My purpose in coming to Rhodesia has been to fulfill my Christian duty of opposing Communism in two ways. First is to focus attention on the Conspiracy by refusing to be its pawn and by writing to expose it. The second is to actively fight Commuist inpsired terrorism in Africa by Military service.

Even though he had become a victim of his own ideology in the SAS and Officers course he was about to embark on what he felt to be his real mission and put actions behind his convictions.
More to come........

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...........