|© Lt. General (Ret) William P. Yarborough USA 2000|
I marveled in those meetings, and still do in retrospect, at the valuable time you gave to this first, and as far as I know last, civilian who wanted to learn about Special Forces by doing it.
And it was under your aegis, that after the Jump School at Fort Benning I went through what is now called The SF Q Course at Fort Bragg.
Not that you made it any
easier for me, that would have
defeated the purpose both of us had in mind when I set out to become a
The book was published and hit the #1
Best Seller spot on all lists.
About that time General Bud Underwood called me into
the Pentagon and let me know that (Sec. Of Defense) Bud McNamera was planning to prosecute me
under the Secrecy Act. Bud showed me a copy of the book with a bunch of
red tabs sticking out. "Each of those eighteen tabs marks a top secret
piece of information."
Jerry read all the classified
sections of the book into the Congressional Record, automatically declassifying them and disposing
of that problem for me.
as I was going to Vietnam for a second tour a year later writing for the Hearst Headline Service, Barry Sadler pitched up in New York (AWOL) and we
Pentagon legs were going crazy.
The song, book, and comic strip were producing recruits faster than they could be drafted. All wanted to be Green Berets. (About 1 in 10 made it).
anti-Beret faction at Defense did succeed in making RCA leave my name off
the Album Jacket, though not the Record Label itself, Their efforts to
get rid of The Green Berets even extended to forcing David Wolper to cancel his
movie contract with me.
Then in late 1966 John Wayne read the book and decided to make the picture.
The Pentagon of course opposed it. Duke wasn't sure he could make the picture but purchased the rights for $35,000. Nothing really after agents and lawyers fees. He added on 5% of his profits. I asked. "How much will that amount to, Duke?" He said "I dunno. Haven't figured what I'm going to pay myself yet?"
I suggested to Wayne that he should try to go around the Pentagon to get Defense Department assistance in making the picture.
As Mike Wayne,
his son, told it to me, Wayne put in the call to the White House. "Lyndon," he said when he got the President on the phone,
"I'm going to make this picture with you or without you. What's it going to be?"
The President said "Oh, with you, Duke, with you,"
I guess you were on
the Korean DMZ in 1967-8 when the picture was made and released - right at the height of the
Anti-War fever in America.
All in all the project you and I started, Bill, made news, excitement, and repercussions beyond our wildest dreams.
I still get letters from men who say the book and movie determined their future careers first in the Berets and later, on to successful pursuits in government, private industry, and more than a few into the FBI and CIA.
I can't help but remember the
women who I met on lecture tours and
Well, as I say in my lectures, if General Yarborough told me to jump off the empire state building with a parachute, I'd more than likely do it.
And when you mentioned Rhodesia and Ian Smith and Peter Walls to me I got
all fired up all over again.
My Guys, former Berets, Brits, Aussies, Germans, Frenchmen, Foreign Legionnaires, put up a great fight alongside the Africans who wanted freedom, not a communist Mugabe and Nkomo.
to say I couldn't beat a combination of Jimmy Carter, Andy Young, the lefty Brits
led by Dr. Owens, and of course the adder in my own fruit basket, Vernon
Well, Bill, I could reminisce like this indefinitely. And of course
right from the beginning Norma was your greatest love and companion in life who
gave all of us privileged to be a part of your life encouragement in our
own ventures and those we shared with you. I was so thankful to share
that pre-Christmas luncheon at "your" window table at the club and be with Norma
once again before she left us. I remember sitting there with You
and Norma and Nick and Susan Rowe when thy were living in Southern Pines and he was
Commander of the SERE school at Camp MacKall.
Mary Olga joins me in warmest affectionate birthday
wishes and I look
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