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Lt. Col Anthony Herbert talks with Studs Terkel ; part 1

BROADCAST: 1970 | DURATION: 00:57:18


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Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Both my brothers were born well before me: Charles, 15 years earlier and Jules Paul, 11 years, almost of a different generation. A fact of life which I never really forgave him because when World War II came along they both packed up and marched off leaving me standing on the front porch cursing the irrevocable fact, that in America, in 1941, there just wasn't a great demand for 10-year-old fighting men. I cried too when he left. Not because they were going to war and might not come back but, rather, because I couldn't go with them. My mother tried to comfort me. "The army doesn't want you now" she said. "You've just got to learn to understand rules are rules." But I neither could nor would. All I really knew for certain was that I wanted, above all things, to be a soldier and that somebody or something was ruining that dream. Now three decades and two wars later, I can't see that much has changed except that I don't cry anymore. The dream still remains; nourished over the years by partial fulfillment but still unrealized, still frustrated. The Army still doesn't want me and I still cannot nor will not understand why. The difference between now and then is that when I was a boy on the porch there was a chance of making it come true. And now, there isn't.

Studs Terkel That's the opening of quite a remarkable book and the author is reading it. It's about his life and his experiences as a soldier. The name of the book is "Soldier." Holt, Rinehart, Winston the publishers and it's Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert, retired. Tony Herbert, the most decorated soldier of the Korean adventure and one of the most decorated and praised soldiers of recent years. You may have heard of him and his ordeal and his own revelations. So for the next hour or two just conversation with Tony Herbert, Lieutenant Colonel retired. The book is "Soldier." And we begin with you. People know of you because of your attempt to bring out to the public various atrocities committed on the Vietnamese people by our 'quote unquote' allies and American soldiers themselves. So your thoughts? You always, you're a professional soldier. Like, in the very beginning, this was your dream wasn't it; in a small mining town?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes sir. In fact, I was just back there last week. And what I never realized, I'd never gone back and looked at my high school yearbook because I had left before the yearbook came out. And one of the people pulled it out to see what the prediction was, you know when you make your desires known, and it said in there, "Single desire to be a soldier." This this was back in high school and it said, "also jokes a lot about single desire to be military man".

Studs Terkel You describe: your boyhood, your childhood, your father. It's a mining town; [unintelligible] mining not too far from Pittsburgh in the Depression. And this was the a hardworking family. And your old man was a good hunter?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Oh, yes. He was an excellent man in in the woods; hunting, fishing. That's where we made our living; trapping, coal mining and when the coal mines were out, my father was would guide people to hunt and fish. And that is how we made our living.

Studs Terkel But for you; we'll keep this very free and we'll use the book the book "Soldier" itself as the basis for this conversation, for you that was the dream to serve as an American as- And you became a professional soldier. First you went in when you were- [chuckle]. You were about 14 and tried to get in.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, what I did is, I was working on the railroad. I got a job when I was 12 years old on a railroad to help with the family. And I worked at night after school and in the summers. And to get that job you had to be 16. So I got the priest, who really understood what life was about

Studs Terkel Father Kelly.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -the place; Father Kelly. And people may say, "Well a priest shouldn't do this" but there's a there's a bigger thing was involved and that was survival in those particular areas. And he changed the baptismal papers so I could get a job as 16 years old. Well two years later, when I was 14 of course; I tried to get in the service before this but now I had really something to go with because it came up to 18. And they called me into the office at the railroad yard where I was driving a truck. And the fellow said, "You're late for your draft card"; implying that I was a draft draft evader. So I went down. No questions were asked because here I was already a week late and no one would know any, any matters of proof period. I had been a hold, a holdout, as far as they were concerned. So they gave me a draft card and I walked out and realized, here I have a draft card in my hand that says I'm over 18 and I don't need parents' permission. I can get into service. And I went straight down and joined the Marine Corps.

Studs Terkel Colonel Herbert; well I suppose I'll be calling you, as though along the line here as, Tony, probably.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes.

Studs Terkel So you mentioned the word survival. So for poor guys, poor kids, generally, or or kids who have who have a hard time; the Army has always been a way out hasn't it? For white and black kids hasn't it?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes it is. I think it's been the poor and the unfortunate that have always gravitated towards a voluntary service. It offered you a way away from that particular life. In my particular area, there were, there were two ways out of being a coal miner at that time and working for the company store. And one was to become-

Studs Terkel It was a company town?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes sir, to become a football player and get off to school or to go to the military. And military was a very, very honorable profession. Our parents encouraged it. You know, 20 years; they talked in terms of 20 years and a retirement. This was an unheard of thing for a coal miner. He worked all his life to 65 and then if he ended up with sixty dollars a month Social Security; this was a fantastic thing.

Studs Terkel Yeah. The question of retirement; security. That's very funny isn't it? Security.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. That's why they talked in terms of: the the army was security-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -and meant that you would never face what they were facing in a depression.

Studs Terkel So now you're in the army. Now you're in the army and very soon there's career, isn't it, began and it's quite clear that Tony Herbert became a quite remarkable soldier. Use the word soldier and some people don't like the idea of war, as I don't. And nonetheless, he was within this framework; is what you were doing. So you you won practically everything, didn't you? You always scored high at everything you did in the army?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, I don't think I ever went to any military schools that that I wasn't either the the honor graduate or the runner-up. You know, in in the kind of schools I went to were: parachuting, scuba diving, Ranger-type operations, Special operations; these type of things where, where physical ability was really a criteria and and firing a rifle or handling a weap- handling a weapon. These kinds of schools I excelled at. Of course, I'd been doing them all my life. You know, I had run mountains in the hills of Pennsylvania and I'd had a rifle or shotgun in my hand from the time I was six years old; already hunting deer and things like this.

Studs Terkel Yeah. I also should point out that, coming as you do from a a poor hardworking family, you are not a West Point. This figures in the book. Some of the opposition that's come to, come from, what you call the West- What'd you call it? The West Point- They call it 'the Protective Association'-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, the WPPA, the West Point- it's the West Point Protective Association. You know people think that- Many men say that there is no such formal organization, and in terms of having a charter, called the WPPA. This is true. But whenever you have a fraternity and you want to reinforce, you always have a ceremony periodically to reinforce it. And the West Point Protective Associ- Association does, in fact, have one. It's called the Founders Day Dinner. And every military post in the world, on the same day every year, West Point graduates have, what they call, the Founders Day Dinner where the senior West Point graduate in that area is the guest, is the guest there and the youngest goes through the rituals. And all of these men do show up and therefore their contacts are kept together and the clique is maintained and all people are excluded. It pulls them out as an elitist. Not that we wanted to go anyways. But I mean, you know, I'm just saying that I realize that this is more formal than people realize.

Studs Terkel Now this figures, of course, in your life and in this book "Soldier"; this particular aspect of it. We'll come to that as we go along. So there you were and there's Korea. Now you you- A Korean War broke out and here's where you were in the midst of- you bloody- Were you in the midst of all; a great many of the battles there?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. You see, I had- I mean, I don't [unintelligible] come out before in it or in the book I don't know if I talked about it much. I can't remember what we cut in that particular area but the- Willie Herbert, who was my my cou-my cousin but was also my stepbrother because my my uncle's wife had died and Willie lived with us right there, Willie was captured on Corregidor in World War II and died in a Japanese prison camp. In addition to that- As soon as the Korean War started, there was another one of our relatives, named Shorty Gratchin, who had just been home and we'd talk. He'd gone back to Japan to the 24th division, that was on Task Force Donovan, as soon as the war started, and he was one of the first people killed and- It wasn't anything of revenge and that. But I'm saying that- I'm trying to show how we all felt about it, I think. I wanted to be like them. I didn't want to get killed-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -but I wanted to be like my brothers and like these people

Studs Terkel But you won all sorts of- You were decorated. Of course, you were right in the middle there. You killed a lot of soldiers.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. But they were were soldiers that killed. And and I took a lot of wounds too. You know what I mean?

Studs Terkel You went to Bloody Ridge and you spoke of the the Yalu and your thoughts about MacArthur, and we'll perhaps come to that, and then you went- this comes very easy where you just- This book, by the way, as I should point out, is terribly gripping as Bob Sherrill pointed out in a review recently in The Chicago Sun-Times. It's gripping and eloquent. We'll come to, perhaps, conflicts within Tony Herbert himself as we go along about the work; the work, the job, being a professional soldier. Then you were intelligence right?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. Yes sir, where I came back from from Korea because I had the medals that the Army, you know, sent me on a tour and they realized they could capitalize on the tour. In fact, I was sent to the intelligence schools and when I come out of the intelligence schools, I was given my first job right here in Chicago.

Studs Terkel Really?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert My first job was out here at Fifth Army headquarters. I was sent out here because someone was pilfering the documents and they had an idea of some of the secretaries that were involved. So I came out here, stationed here, and was put on a an odd job in that area. Here I was a master sergeant and I was put on a job of of merely making daily changes in the Army regulations and manuals; 'posting' is what it was called but the object was to get me in touch with a particular girl there. And the reason was, because I'm not that sharp looking but the reason was, that she was fascinated by men who were supposedly tough. And I had the aura of the the killings in Korea and that, and did in fact make contact with her. And when when they had the meeting where they asked me to get the documents and that, it was reported and then I moved out of here and went to-

Studs Terkel Go ahead, sorry.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Well, yes sir. Then I went down to- I was sent down to the Mountain and Cold Weather Training Command at Fort Carson as a ski and mountain climbing instructor.

Studs Terkel You don't- Wasn't your picture also used as a poster?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Oh yes.

Studs Terkel As an Army recruiting poster?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. What it was is, they took a- It was for the Ranger Department more than recruiting. It was to get volunteers into the elite force of the Army. And they took a photograph of three of us and they had a selection of who had been there. The Ranger Department had now been going about 10 years and they wanted to pick who had been the highest score for the entire 10 year period. And there were three of us up for it and mine was selected as the highest score that had ever gone through the Ranger School [unintelligible].

Studs Terkel What is the Rangers? You see, we were speaking, now, of Special- We'll come to Special Forces in a moment too. The Rangers, something, what? What

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Well, the Rangers were based- Their name was based upon the term 'Rogers' Rangers' that fought in the Revolution and prior to the Revolution. I think Spencer Tracy played in the movie Rogers' Rangers [Northwest Passage]. But it was basically what we think of as the commando training of the British Army. But, our training differed in that, we went to individual elitism in this particular thing and we took a- We would go down there and you would train on: patrol, small unit techniques, small boat craft techniques from the ocean, jungle training in the jungle, survival, mountain climbing training and hand-to-hand combat and bayonet fighting. Things like this were called Individual Fighting Techniques and Small Unit Tactics. And you get scores. So you take a you took a physical training test that you could get 500 points on if you maxed it and got every everything perfect. Then you get 500 points that could be picked up on on other things; different patrols and that; how expert you were in these particular areas of expertiseness. And I I think- I I know I scored 500 in the PT test and it seemed to me that I had 997 out of a possible 1000 points while I was there for the eight weeks. [unintelligible]

Studs Terkel The thing about you, Tony, is that you scored high, always. You always followed the rules, didn't you? You you- That was the point wasn't it? You- absolute rock about integrity of following the rules.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Well, when the Army talks about that I was- that I was for the rules, as far as myself, I felt that I was obligated to follow the rules of those above me. And I didn't enforce the rules, as rigidly, on those below me because I had known also the many errors and mistakes that I had made except for some good officer above me. You could've twisted it any way that you wanted to twist it. So when I was- The people I were over I was very flexible with and very, I mean I just, I- I just couldn't hurt these men because I had been through the same thing as they were-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -and in every way I felt that you should- your job was to try to help 'em. And that when a man joined your unit, you really were the father figure. In other words, he- you were now his home. You were expected to take care of this man; expected to help him in every way as the head of a family is. And [unintelligible] my own units, I think like a family, but to those above me I felt that I owed every bit of loyalty; that I had taken an oath.

Studs Terkel Yeah. So I'm thinking about your oath and the loyalty and the rules and your feeling for the men. And you were an instructor at Fort Benning. And this, perhaps, is the first moment, isn't it, when you had a run-in involving the rope?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes.

Studs Terkel A rope. Would you mind describing that?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Well the rope incident happened in 1958 or early '59. But what it was is- I was the mount- assistant mountain climbing instructor. I was the mountain climbing instructor but I was a junior officer. I just made second lieutenant; they promoted me directly to that. And there was a senior, a captain and a lieutenant involved so they were called the 'principal' instructor; although I gave the instruction. Well we had, while teaching cliff scaling and descending cliffs we had, a technique called suspension traverse. And what it is; you put the rope at the top of the cliff on an A-Frame and that, and then you go down at an angle, 45-degree angle or steeper, and hook it to a tree at the bottom. And you can either pull equipment up on a pulley system- And we also, in order to descend fast, men would hang on a pulley and slide down rapidly down to the ground to descend the cliff. Uh, ropes. Whenever you check a rope in order to see that it meets the mountaineering safety requirements of American mountaineer commission, you twist the rope open; such as a [nylon?] climbing rope or anything. Where you twist open, there's a colored strand in there. And that colored strand, you unwrap it and it has the name of the company that made that rope. This is, also, the company's guarantee that the rope meets all specifications. Well, one of the ropes was a 1-inch diameter manilla rope that we needed for this exercise. And when I twisted it, one of the ropes did not have, I had to put up two that day, did not have a marker rope in it; a marker strand. It meant you shouldn't use the rope. So, I went down and told the colonel and the captain that they did not meet the criteria and therefore we're gonna put one rope up for the next day. And I was called in; talked with. A very fine colonel, by the way. I mean, I don't even want to imply that he was bad because he backed me up 100 percent. Later on, he took his responsibility. But the captain and the colonel, and there was finally decided based upon the captain's decision, recommendation to the colonel, that this rope cost 300 dollars; 900-foot rope. It was three, three-foot to the dollar and that the United States Army wasn't wasting 900 or 300 dollars so that I could tell 'em that their rope was no good. It came down as: the climbing rope met all safety requirements as far as the Army was concerned and I would put the rope up. And I said, "Okay, I'll put the rope up but I am running an unsatisfactory equipment report; that it's unsatisfactory and something should be done to the company that made it without- for not putting a strand in." And I signed it and turned it in. Well, the next day, I put the ropes up, the sergeants and myself, and we tested everything we put up. We we slid down and I go down first. And we went down in order of rank that they were. In that particular class, Ranger training is all volunteers. We had one man who was forced into that class, who was a non-volunteer, in order to get promoted, because he had a baby two weeks old and he wanted the promotion and his commander forced him down there. But he had never signed a statement that he was a volunteer, to my knowledge anyways. And that was the talk there. The next day, as people were sliding down the rope and the captain was there and I was there, a rope just suddenly broke and the fellow fell 65 feet. It had to be that it was that fellow. It just happened that it was that fellow; and hit the rocks and crushed him. I went over to pick

Studs Terkel He was dead on arrival.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Well, when I went over to pick him up right away and I turned around to talk to the captain and I saw him moving up over the hill and gone. So I picked the man up and I called the jeep and my hands were really- went into the man because he was he was dying right there, you couldn't couldn't save him in anyway in the world, put him on air and sent him to the hospital cause there were still signs of life. The troops started milling around; the the range of volunteers. 'Course, they didn't want to go on any more ropes. And I gave 'em a little talk and told 'em that, "When you volunteered you knew there was a certain degree of risk if something went wrong up here" and "It's my fault. We don't need you to tell me. The Army will investigate. We'll handle that later on. You're still in a class. Get back up on the hill, there's another rope left." And then I went up to show them. I said, you know, "You think you're a Ranger. I'll show you the difference between a Ranger and a and a non-Ranger" and I slid down the rope; to show them that, you know, these are the risks you take. And then we had no more problems; they all came down the rope. I went back down at lunchtime. I was called back down and as I walked down the captain said, "How will he be?" I said, "Sir he he'll be dead on arrival." You know, 'cause I'd seen literally hundreds of men dying and thousands of men probably in in Korea. And I said, "He'll be dead on arrival." He kept saying, "No, he won't be!" And like I said, "Well, he will be sir." And he keeps saying, "I tell you he won't be," in other words, ordering me that this man would not be dead. I said, "All right, sir." So we were in the colonel's office waiting and a phone rang and the captain walked over and picked the phone up and dropped it from his hands and said he was dead on arrival at the hospital; the Dahlonega Georgia. And he came right over and said, "You're responsible." See, he was responsible. He was the principal instructor. I was the assistant. But he said, "You're responsible", and I said, "I understand that, sir". I said, "I mean I understand I put the ropes up and I checked them and I'm not asking anybody-", I remember my exact phrase, I said, "I'm not asking anybody to swing for me. I can swing alone as well." I mean by-the-neck if something goes wrong. I was worried about the sergeants being blamed and I did write a statement out that I was completely responsible. I felt that I had checked the rope and I- It passed all tests but I did write an unsatisfactory equipment report on it. Well, they didn't want that in there. So they called the Criminal Investigation Department from Fort McPherson, Georgia to come up there to Dahlonega, Georgia. And the first question I was asked was, "OK, if you took full responsibility, are you a rope expert?" And I know when the army starts this, you better not say it. And I said, "Well, you know I'm- I've been training for a lot of years", and they just kept pushing, "Are you an expert?" And finally I said, "Well, I, maybe, been working with it 11 years and I know a lot more about it than all of you people; so I am an expert, yes." And then right away, whipped it out and said, "OK, we have a Navy rope test here. Will you take it?" And I said, "Yes, I'll take it." And then the colonel came up and said, "You don't have to take it. This is really putting you on the spot." And I said, "No sir, I'll take the test." And I took a test and I didn't miss any question on the test. You know, I got about, I think about 116, 118 questions. So the CID was asked by-

Studs Terkel The CID is?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert The Criminal Investigation Department. They went through that I did, everything. I sent the rope. I cut the rope two feet on either side of the break and I sent it to Seattle, Washington to the to the Mountaineering Committee headquarters. They put out a safety book every year and the 1959 safety book still has the incident in it. They termed it an exploding rope and what an exploding rope is, is when a company puts a rope together, strands overlap and they overlap about 14 inches on manilla rope. The timing machine slowly goes off kilter and when it gets down to about two inches of overlap, your strands overlap only about 2 inches, they go back and reset them. Machines, apparently, recalibrate them. Now the odds of a rope breaking would be only one strand at any one place would wear down like that. So even though one strand might break sometime, the other two strands would hold. But unfortunately, because all machines, apparently, just one of those once-in-a-billion or once-in-a-million; all three strands overlap that only about 2 inches and all within a three-inch section. And the exploding rope, that's why they didn't put a stringer marker in it, just exploded and all strands left loose at the same time. That's the way it was written up

Studs Terkel Colonel Herbert, as you're talking, eh Tony, several questions come to mind,

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Ok.

Studs Terkel You describe the rope as unsatisfactory and your superiors said at 300 bucks-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes,

Studs Terkel -and this young soldier is killed because they didn't follow your warning. But then you are put on the defensive aren't you? They were quizzing you later on, weren't they?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes sir. Well-

Studs Terkel I'm asking you now as I look at you now after these years. Did you have any thoughts that-- Was this the beginning of questioning about the nature of the rules that you follow?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert No sir. I I didn't question at that time because I did feel personally responsible. I did make the checks and everything else. I I felt that it was very sad. I felt that this is one captain in there who just didn't understand because he wasn't a mountain climber himself. And I felt it was very unfortunate. I I --My feeling was so deep for the family of the man who was killed that I never questioned the rest of it. My responsibility; I always felt the leader was responsible for all the unit does or fails to do and I was a leader.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert And

Studs Terkel And so even though you had warned them and the others were wrong you still accept- This is the point, you were the soldier accepting the rules, the orders.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, they had made the decision above me that I was- I mean, that was satisfactory to me.

Studs Terkel But then you did something else. You insisted. You wrote and you finally got the family some money-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes

Studs Terkel from the company. This is your-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert I was told later on that they got their money but I kept up a correspondence. I asked the Army, I said, "Since we found out the company was at fault", the rope- See, the Army didn't want to do it officially because the Army was at fault. The company had, in fact, left the marker strand out. They were, in fact, saying this rope did not meet the criteria; but the Army had misused it. But the army wasn't going to take the responsibility. So, I went to the- When we went up to bury the man, we took him to his home and they were really distraught about it. And it was just like going to my own home; back into Harmony and seeing once again the poor, forgotten. I carried on a conversation via via letters back and forth explaining the circumstances to the court; each company that made that rope. And I did get a letter saying that they were taking responsibility and they would, in fact, be in direct contact with the family. I had no- I mean nobody ever told me they did or they didn't; exact with proof laid out. When I was in Germany, about two and a half years later a man, who was a friend of that particular man who was killed, said that the family did in fact receive a monetary compensation.

Studs Terkel That's because you did it. You, on your own, were following up on this, outside the army,

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes the army didn't-

Studs Terkel Yeah they didn't do it. You

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert do anything with

Studs Terkel So the two things about you, Tony, that is: you were following orders, didn't question; you accepted the responsibility, though, you had warned them and the soldier died as a result of a- of a lousy rope. At the same time, outside, there was something that you did-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, because that didn't hurt the Army with me doing that outside. It was strictly between: me, the family and the cordage company.

Studs Terkel The Army is really sacred to you. The Army is really sacred to you. It's been your life; the Army.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Well, it still is. That is what the term 'Army' means to me. I still feel the same way about it. That's why I worry so much about what is happening inside the Army to destroy this concept.

Studs Terkel So let's follow up on- The book is "Soldier". Holt, Rinehart, Winston: the publishers. Lieutenant Colonel, retired, Anthony Herbert; my guest. This is just- we just follow it. You're now in Fort Bragg and that's when you first heard talk. You're Special Services then? Is that it; Special Forces?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Special Forces.

Studs Terkel What is 'Special Forces'?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Well, Special Forces was originally- It's what they called, people called: the Green Berets, the 'Snake Eaters', whatever they want. But the original concept of Special Forces was to form a unit of men who understood guerrilla warfare. Then, in wars like World War II, whenever there were guerrillas in an area like: Hungary or 'Titos', Yugoslavia, or anything; we could send in these men who would be experts in in different areas of training. They would organize that unit into a- into an organized unit with a chain of command. And we would bring in equipment and show them how to use it; that they- we would be, really, military instructors. The term was later on twisted and the mission was twisted under Kennedy. We were not going to be fighters but in order to- The public relations image- The army went off on a tangent trying to show these men as hand-to-hand combat experts and that they were the- that they were commando types and that. It was not really why it was formed. They had a good concept when it was formed. Kennedy came down, later on, and without any evidence whatsoever while inspecting said, "You men are the are the guerrilla experts. Therefore you should be the counter-guerrilla experts"; which is which is a terrible assumption. Guerrillas are not necessarily good counter-guerrillas. And we hadn't even proven ourself as good guerrillas. We were just taking the training.

Studs Terkel Now the guerrillas [throat cleraing] that you are fighting; these counter-guerrillas where the people in various countries that the Special Berets were visiting-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. So what we did was, we took on a counterinsurgency role. And that was where they went into Vietnam in the counterinsurgency role and that is what caused many of the problems-

Studs Terkel I'm thinking about this this passage on page 92; Tony. "I first heard U.S. Army officers discussing torture as a military tactic. The French had loved it in Indochina and it rubbed off. I'm not just talking about abstract discussion of whether torture is internationally ethical. No, but downright advocacy on the part of teachers and students; specific forms of it: the water torture, heel-hanging. The way to almost kill a man with your hands or a blunt instrument without leaving a single mark on 'em." And this is what you heard discussed there?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes sir. Later on, I was taught them also. I mean, I went to classes where we actually discussed torture techniques and and taught them the use of succinylcholine. It was a technique that we used. Succinylcholineis is really a nerve -muscle. It works on- what it is, to tell the people is, what it is- In America, you're in a hospital and you want to get a tube down a man's throat and he's gagging and you can't get it down. You give him a shot of succinylcholine and immediately his muscles paralyze and he can't breathe or fight back. You can put the tube down. The antidote is sudden atropine, which we use for nerve gas also, and he can now breathe. We were taught to give shots to these people and tell them, "OK, you're going to lay there and suffocate. If you raise your hand and you're willing to answer the questions, we'll give you the antidote. If you don't, you just die"; like from pulmonary emphysema or lung cancer. This is what Howard Levy, remember Dr. Levy, refused to teach Special Forces personnel how to use. And he went to federal prison over it. I was taught how to use it and I was also taught how to how to bruise men being their kidneys and that without leaving any outward signs-

Studs Terkel Don't- Let's take a very slight pause, right now. I'm talking to Lieutenant Colonel, retired, Anthony Herbert. The book is "Soldier." I was about to say 'Torture.' Isn't that funny? The book is "Soldier." Holt, Rinehart, Winston: the publishers and we'll return in a moment. Particularly, Tony Herbert and his thoughts and further experiences and his act; in a moment. [pause

Studs Terkel Resuming the conversation with Anthony Herbert; the most decorated, perhaps, the single most decorated soldier of recent years, and his exposé of certain, what Tony might describe as, 'non-soldierly' activities on the part of: ourselves, our army and allies. You- At Fort Bragg- This was when now? You fought in the Special Forces- This was 19?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Well, the last time I was in Special Forces was in 1964.

Studs Terkel And you were taught these- What were your? Did you have thoughts about that at that time?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, I did at this time. I really didn't- You know, I mean, they were- The people who were teaching it were not the people who, actually, [match strike] had done these things themselves; I felt. And that they had merited taking these techniques out of different books, and that, from the French and other other people. But I really didn't feel the men there- I felt the rest of 'em were just like me, that, "OK. But you don't understand war at all. And this will never be used", you know, "or utilized." I mean, I sat there in a class and listened to it and never ever- I never even thought of the furthest reaches of my mind of ever considering that because a soldier who fights on the front has a deep deep affinity for the enemy who fights on the front. I mean, you really have this feeling that, 'There, but for the grace of God, go I'. And tomorrow I might be the prisoner. And you also have a deep empathy when you capture this man, if you're really a fighter yourself, because he's in exactly the same boat you are out there on the field where the where the shooting is done. You get a closer affinity to these people, the enemy right there on the front with you, than you do with men who are only a mile behind you fighting in your own army because they they're [lighter strike] they are the [rare?] echelon. And I just couldn't ever picture anybody ever permitting their men to or ever teaching the men below them to do these things.

Studs Terkel You describe an incident, later on we'll come to that young kid you faced; you and he-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, oh in-

Studs Terkel Yes. We'll come to that.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert It was really one of the tragedies of Vietnam, in in my personal observations-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -a man that I really feel that maybe I could have done something for if I would of- We could have been close friends, that man and I.

Studs Terkel Could have been, if it weren't for what?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert If it weren't for his death and- You know, I mean he was killed right there and and shot ruthlessly down by someone else.

Studs Terkel But I mean if it weren't, if you and he weren't facing each other; if it weren't for what? For the war?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. Yes. I said even if we met on the battlefield we could have been good friends. We were put in the role of of shooting each other. Suddenly when you say this, I can remember a- one of oh, the Kipling's stories I believe it was [poem, "Fuzzy-Wuzzy"], where the two men in the bush were crawling up; when 'fuzzy-wuzzy' country. A British soldier, I have no idea what the name of it was, and a 'fuzzy-wuzzy.' And they met on the hill. And they became friends and both decided to go back to their own units and say they saw nothing. But any other time-

Studs Terkel I'm gonna ask you later on, your- A lot of your feelings- Well, they're coming out now, too. A while back, you spoke of the torture techniques that you were, you know, horrified to hear being taught and talked about abstractly at Fort Bragg. You mentioned Captain Howard Levy. What were your feelings when you heard about Captain Howard Levy; the doctor who refused to teach?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Oh I admired him very much.

Studs Terkel Did you

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, because I said, "This is where it really takes." Yes I did-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -because I said, you know, "What guts this man has," because I know what pressures the Army can put on you. But I really, at that time I said: it's, you know, "Here's one of the people who is teaching it who finally balked at it," and I said, "Here we got a guy who really understands what it's all about and's not teaching it out of a book,"-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -and, "Here's a man who really realizes the responsibility." Would you- By now, also, don't forget, there were stories coming back that men were actually using it. I'm sure many of us would have balked in the earlier classes if we really thought someone was going to use

Studs Terkel it- Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -because some people did speak out. I remember a captain there, who was later killed in Vietnam, spoke out about it; I mean, stood up. But the average response was in the class, you know, "Why discuss it? We're not going to use it." I mean-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -what, why would these these civillian-type

Studs Terkel So in a sense then you- I remember you were studying a map here, later we'll come to that; AO Allen and AO Barnes. But in a sense you put it out of your mind, you yourself did-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes.

Studs Terkel -to be the soldier. Is that it? You, at the time you heard that, you said-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Oh the AO you mean?

Studs Terkel No, I'm talking about when you heard about the torture techniques and everything, you sort of- Would? If you thought about that more, it might interfere with your work as a soldier.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. You see, what happens is that, I I went through the same process that many of Americans are going through right now and are gonna to have to go through in the near future. And that same one Dan Ellsberg went through. We had the same denial denial mechanisms that was staring us right there in the face what was occurring. But we denied that we would ever participate in this. In other words, "That's foolish," and we shoved it aside, "I don't even want to talk about" you'd said to yourself. "It will never occur. Americans couldn't do this." And eventually, the truth just starts and begins to overwhelm you. It just strips your defenses bare. You know, you can say war is hell. And then suddenly you realize; look around you and war's not hell. Men are living in in virtual Sodom and Gomorrah luxury. And you you say, "Well, Americans wouldn't do it." And you're confronted with the fact that Americans are doing it. And and you say, "Well, if only those above us knew they would stop it." and then you're confronted with the fact that those above you do know. Finally, all of your defenses are crushed. You say, "The enemy does it also." and you realize that you took an oath on the Geneva Convention that that said even though the enemy does it we will not participate in it. But then suddenly we- you see cases on the field of battle where the enemy did just the opposite. I mean, I know that they participated in torture. But I also saw cases where they did exactly the opposite. And suddenly you were left with no defenses.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert And

Studs Terkel What was that opposite? Exactly the opposite that the enemy did?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Well, one of the cases was I heard about; one I saw. The one I saw was- I I didn't see the first part. The guy, a company commander from A company, the first of the 503rd was flying up over an area up on the Surecall River. And he looked down and saw three Americans staked out on the ground. And he provides security and landed. And they had been tortured and staked out in the crucified position; which got the troops kind of head 'head-up' over it, of course. A couple of days later, I was with him and we were flying up the same area and this is how I knew about the first part. We were flying up in there as- when I was an IG and we looked down and there were two other men staked out on a hill. And we thought, again, they were Americans. So we put in security and we went in and picked them up. But they were Vietnamese; North Vietnamese soldiers. And one of the pictures is in a book where it's staked out; on North Vietnamese soil. And there was a note with him. And it was signed by a North Vietnamese comparable to our major. And it said that "We had no trial here. We had no formal system." These are the men who tortured and mutilated your men. It was an eye and an eye ['eye for an eye'] and 'a tooth for a tooth'. This man took justice upon himself to show us-

Studs Terkel These are North Vietnamese, then, who punished their own men-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert They punished their own-

Studs Terkel Because they had tortured Americans, so they did. And you reported this. Now what happened? They said to you-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Well, this was General Allen that said it. General Barnes; I went back and reported what had occurred and and gave the note and that I was going to write up a statement on it. And I was told that "My God, we can't let this get out" because, I mean, think of the propaganda that would go against us.

Studs Terkel That they were human?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. So what happened is, the story was then changed and written up as- I I refused to write it. So they got the SJ, not the SJ to write it, the judge Judge Advocate General wrote it, I guess there. The AG wrote it; the adjutant general And, who is like the the secretary to the- to the general, wrote up that they had once again performed the mutilation; this time on innocent civilians, and they tried to make them look like soldiers.

Studs Terkel That's what we got then. That's what the American public got.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, that was the the story that went back but it wasn't true. These were soldiers.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yeah.

Studs Terkel But also the fact that humane act, or not humane but, an act of punishment-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes.

Studs Terkel -by the North Vietnamese of their own people for doing tortures.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes.

Studs Terkel It was the actual thing that you found, it was. You were the inspector general then-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert I was

Studs Terkel the IG and you wouldn't write it up.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert The other one that- Oh, we can we can skip the other one.

Studs Terkel Sure. No, go ahead.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert OK. The other one was was back after I was in the States. There's a man down at Fort McPherson Georgian who was all shot up, I mean really shot up, and he told his story. He he attested to it under oath that that he was over there on reconnaissance. How he got shot was, that he was out on reconnaissance in front of the Americans when the North Vietnamese pushed the Americans off the hill. And he was caught out there. And he was wounded through the chest, the right side, and his eye was hanging out on his cheek. And he ran over and jumped into a hole where there was a North Vietnamese soldier. And the North Vietnamese soldier coulda killed him but looked at him and laid down the rifle. And took the man's eye and replaced it, he still has his vision, then bandaged him with not only the own soldier's sergeant's band bandages but the one the North Vietnamese was carrying for himself; which is very very critical to them. In other words, you carry your own bandages. You get wounded; you have a bandage to plug your own wounds with. And that the sergeant said, that in the meantime, the American airstrike came in and drove the North Vietnamese back and the Americans retook the hill. "Now I could hear the Americans talking while the North Vietnamese soldier got ready to bolt." And he motioned to him not to try because they would- he would never make it. And the North Vietnamese, in fact, gave up his freedom to save this sergeant. But now he- you know I guess, "I'm a prisoner" and he took the sergeant and put his arm around his his neck and carried the sergeant. The sergeant hollered to the Americans that he was out there. And he carried him back to his own lines, to our own troops right there; helped him back. And the sergeant said that he was put on a helicopter and evacuated to the hospital where a day or two days later the colonel came down to give the sergeant his Purple Heart and The sarge says, "Look, I want to put in a good word for that man because he could be converted into maybe a Kit Carson Scout to work for our side. That

Studs Terkel I'll ask you about that word 'Kit Carson'.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert "This man did, in fact, save my life and I want him handled specially." And the colonel said, "We already did handle him specially. We beat him to death and tortured him to death yesterday", you know. And this turned this man. This man said he would just never raise a rifle against an enemy, after that, and he was back. There were other people down there who knew him over there and I'm I'm certain that story is exactly what he said.

Studs Terkel As as we're talking- you just keep talking. The book is "Soldier." Tony Herbert is my guest. Lieutenant Colonel Herbert, retired and reasons for retirement will be forthcoming in a moment. You also were- We'll go back and forth, I think, with your career. You also were sent, as what? Intelli- into the Congo. You were in the in the Congo?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes.

Studs Terkel And the question is what were you doing in the Congo? I'm really curious.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert It's really very strange

Studs Terkel [noise] Describe your Congo adventure.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert When I went to the Congo, I went on a 100-man mission team. The Army- When you went to the Congo, these were classified operations so they re- they kept you signed to Fort Bragg. So consequently, you had no such orders that would send you on classified missions. You [Studs cough] you were working in Vietnam in the same way in Laos and Cambodia: illegally at that time but on clandestinal operations. It's interesting to note that, although the Army denied this occurred, there's an Army book out called the "The Law of Civil War" and it does, in fact, attest to that same period of time up to June of '64 that we had a 100-man mission in there. We had CIA flying strikes [paper noise, pencil writing]. What we did, we went over there to help [the Shomi? Tshombe?] and Mobutu [in Abudu?] to train his para-commandos, so to speak, in order to go up into Kivu province and other places and settle- clean their clock up there. But what happened is, when we went in there, we found a tremendous black market system that- We were not really out there operating. The people who were out there operating were the people who I met in the bars at night; when we were bar- the nights we were in the rear around the embassys and that. And they were CIA. American CIA agents were flying the actual bombing runs and the strafing runs on the natives. It was reminiscent really of- And even there, I recognize this but I I could not link it with the Army; it was like CIA.

Studs Terkel Ahhh.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert And what happened is, it was- To me, we were honorable and here was this CIA doing this. It was just like Mussolini strafing the natives in 1936 in Ethiopia. That's exactly how it struck me because all the [unintelligible] people on the ground in Kivu province, they were being strafed. So we did write reports back and I never realized the reports did any good until just recently when I picked up the Army's book, "The Law of Civil War" and civil warfare. And what it was is, the- I saw Cubans coming in. And I didn't link it until just-

Studs Terkel These were anto- anti-Castro Cubans?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. So what happened is-

Studs Terkel They were the CIA too?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Paid by the CIA. What we did: we had to pull the Americans out of there in order to make it look better and we substituted Cubans to fly those aircraft and the strafing runs. And how long they went on after that, I don't know. But I do know that they were flying 826's and we had some C-130 aircraft and we poured I recently read where we poured, in that particular few months in there we poured, [page noise] six point six; I guess it was? It must be six point six million dollars in that particular six-month period into there.

Studs Terkel Tony, in your case this is- See, you weren't associating. You thought the Army would not do- This was the CIA; something separate, no?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes.

Studs Terkel This you were seeing and I'm thinking about the the two aspects of Tony Herbert the feelings of yourself, you know?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert It's like I couldn't believe a soldier would do it.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert I thought that's why they had to use the CIA.

Studs Terkel Then you were in the Dominican Republic too-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes.

Studs Terkel -during the intervention there.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, I saw some things that should have really woke me up in the Dominican and I interpreted it the same way, you see. I was in a I was in a battalion executive officer, as a captain of the 2nd Battalion of the 505 Parachute [match strike] Infantry. But the unit that was loaded to go when we got the alert for the Dominican Republic was the first battalion of the 508; which I was not in. However, a few weeks before this, we were down on a maneuver at Vieques Island, Puerto Rico where they trained the Cubans for the invasion of Cuba at the town of Isabel, Segunda. So while we're down there training, the battalion commander of the 1st Battalion of the 508 broke his leg and was in a cast; therefore could not make a parachute jump. When the alert came, the man who was the executive officer was an artillery officer instead of a an infantry man; a parachute infantryman. And and the general, at the last minute, moved me over there because they were expecting that we were going to make a parachute assault on San Isidro airbase. Now this man was the official commander; really the major should've moved them. But the general decided, he said, "You will lead the attack. You'll go in and he'll come in later and take over." And I said, "OK, this is exciting; a parachute assault, a combat parachute assault", to me. As we were flying in the- we got the word from [Wesley Westland?], I guess it was, over the radio from San Isidro base that the base was still in so-called friendly hands and we could make an airlanded operation. So, instead of making a parachute assault; I I spoke Portuguese and I could understand the Spanish and-

Studs Terkel Oh, you learned Portuguese and-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert I went to the intelligence school. So you know, [unintelligible Portugese. 'ay o falo português en tendo tudo?'], I guess. But I understood it and so I decided to change it into a airLanded operation where my men would not be scattered all over the place and- I was- I really caught hell for this because the the general that wanted the glory of a parachute combat assault, which I had denied them, but for practical reasons. When you parachute you scatter your men all over; you lose equipment and everything else and the assembly is very critical. In an airlanded operation: you are very intact, your men are under control and no one gets killed; no one gets hurt. And I felt that this warranted it. We landed and we went out and we took the Duarte Bridge back; we captured it, right away, the next morning. Then within the next day or so, the rest of the people landed and the the other man came in and took over the battalion again. I was gonna to go back to my battalion which was coming in later on. But the general picked me once again for special operations; the colonel and the general: the brigade commander and and the division commander. They decided to move across the Duarte Bridge and link up with the Marines at the embassy. And once again he pulled me up there, because of my ranger training experience and everything and because I had also trained a rangers over years, to lead the night attack to the city. Well we didn't- We went through the city very stealthy and sealed off the city without having to kill anyone. But what happened is, where I saw what we, what we really were doing, in effect was: two things really struck me and should've made a difference. It all 'course was deep thought and again, complaint, I couldn't I couldn't put the Army in the blame role. One was, I went down to- The police fort was on one side of the Ozama River and the enemy were on the other side of the Ozama River and a place right behind there was a little place that had- where a tourist came in. It was between Boca Chica and the city. And I stopped there and there was a black man there who spoke good English and we talked; his name was Miller. And I said, " Are you know the owner?" and that, and he said, "No the owner fled because the communists are expected here." And he said, "Would you like something to eat?" And while talking, he was the son of an escaped escaped slave out of America or the grandson of one, that's how he could speak English; he taught English. So we became very close friends. And he said, I mean immediate friends, you know; he was just- we were the same kind of people. And he said, "Would you like a Coca-Cola?" And I said, you know, "Thank you very much." I got my driver and I said, "C'mon we'll have a Coke" And then he said, "Would you like a coconut off the tree?"; and they had really hundreds of coconuts hanging there. And I said, "Yes, I'd like that very much." So he cut a coconut. And the children came over that were watching; his children. And I stopped to give them some coconaut and he saw, "I can't do that." I said, "Give 'em a Coke." He said, "I can't because I don't own this and the owner would be furious", you know, "if he came back and I gave my children something to eat." And I said, "This is crazy. The owner fled. You're you're taking the risk and you can't feed your own children." And he said, "Well I'll get- they'll get it later on when we get settled and everything; when it's all over." So I said, "Gee." I I couldn't eat in front of him so I gave 'em some of the Coke. And I went down to the aid, U.S. aid program, where they had 100-pound sacks of rice. Well they didn't want to give me any. There was a black market going on down there too. They wanted paid for it and I said, "I'm not paying for it, I'm a I'm a captain in the Army. I want a sack of that rice", you know. So I took a sack of the rice. I went back out and I gave it to Miller. Well by Sunday, Miller has- there's a swimming pool at this place also. I swam there one day to clean off. I went back on a Sunday with the colonel, now, had come in. And the colonel and I were invited down. When we arrived- this, there was this, just a- This represented everything of corruption in the world. He had all the- he just looked like the guy that played in the Ian Fleming movie about the gold. What happened is they had this huge table of heaping trays of rice, the rice that I had given for Miller's children, with rice and raisins and all beautiful things in it. And he had a lot of Puerto Rican girls who were from New York. Secretaries would come down there to Boca Chica for a vacation now; now that it was safe again. And the children were still standing there hungry and I I complained. The colonel didn't say anything. And I was very harsh about it; about this rice was given to Miller. And the guy said, "Oh no, you're invited to eat", and everything, and I said, "I don't want to eat. I want- it's for the children." He said, "I'm going to feed the children" and then the colonel told me, "Keep quiet." Well this guy had two huge dogs that were- I thought they were mastifs but they were called rothweilers or rottweilers. Excuse me. When he was done eating, he took all that food and just shoved it onto the concrete, you know, with his arms and the dogs went after it. And now the kids were eating with the dogs and fight for the food. The dogs were very vicious. And I really think I would have- think I would've strangled that man. Maybe I wouldn't have killed him but I would've sure throttled the hell out of him if it wouldn't have been for the colonel. And the arguement, my arguement with it, was with the colonel right in front of him. "No wonder communism spreads in these countries. If I were, if I were a man down here I would be one too. I mean, look what- we end up on the side of this guy. What about Miller? He has to see this. I mean, he loves his children just like we love ours", and that. And the colonel told me, "It's not our business. Keep your mouth shut. It's not Army business. It's a political thing. The embassy will take care of it." I really believed this. I mean, I I felt, 'Well that's right. The Army didn't do it. I'm involved in it personally but the Army didn't do it.' The other thing I saw was that- we had the police come out. Now we we picked up a lot of the so-called rebels. And so, a lot of them were the rebels. They were shooting at us when we picked them up. But instead of us handling them, we turned them over to the the police; that is civilian police. And I walk outside the gate of San Isidro where there were people coming up and really begging for their lives and begging for the lives of their sons and their brothers. And they were actually committing executions out there. But once again, see, I felt that it was the corruptness else would the Army have done it legitimately. And I tried to stop it. And the colonel did go down and stop it. But I'm sure all they did was move it elsewhere and continue it. I mean a guy would come up and plead his case and I could just see this 'David and Bathsheba' thing. If the guy has something you want: land, a wife; anything. Just move him over to the firing squad and down

Studs Terkel So what was happening in the Dominican Republic, as you saw it, was almost a prologue to what you saw happening in Vietnam?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes that's exactly right. But but I just could not-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -believe that the Army was- You know what I mean? Each time there was this little thing, 'Well, yes, the colonel's right.' It was terrible and they did try to stop it; you know. And looking back on it, I can understand what I should have understood.

Studs Terkel You say you learned Portuguese. It's occurred to me, you met some of your friends and- Was- were Mozambique and Angola involved in possible places to go to too?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes I did go to Africa.

Studs Terkel Oh, you did?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert That's where I

Studs Terkel I knew you were in the Congo. Was it Mozambique and Angola too?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert I served in all of Africa south of the Sahara; 51 countries. See, I went on later on as an intelligence agent aboard a ship of a typical Pueblo type.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert I served on three of 'em as as: as an underwater operator-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -a scuba diver and also as an intelligent operator during the India-Pakistan War. And during the-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -I served from East Pakistan, India, Iraq, West-

Studs Terkel You were in Pakistan down- That's where the Middle East down- But let's stick with Angola. We know there's Portugal there-

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes.

Studs Terkel -and was this on the side of Portuguese?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes sir.

Studs Terkel On the side of the Portuguese against the the liberation movements.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes sir.

Studs Terkel We're there?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert We were there.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert You see, the Army's excuse was- I remember the man's name. There was a man, I think he was like Rogers or Roberts or something like that, who was considered a person who was coming across, from- let's see was that Mozambique or Angola, and operating in the Congo. That's the kind of justification we were giving: that we were going to go over there and get these people who were really pouring supplies into the rebels in the Congo; ensuing that we were going to stop their source.

Studs Terkel Yeah. I'm talking to Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert. We're nearing the end of the first hour of what will be at least a two hour conversation with a book that has brought Tony Herbert here, Lieutenant Colonel Herbert, retired, the most decorated man in the Army in recent years, is "Soldier." Holt, Winston Rinehart: the publishers. And it deal, primarily, with Vietnam but it deals with everything. And perhaps end this first hour with your observation in the Middle East. Something about the death of certain Arabs, as I remember this?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert [page Yes,

Studs Terkel Perhaps you could end with that part and this will sort of lead into Vietnam. Do you recall that?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes, when I worked in- over there in 1965 and '66. Yes sir, what it was is in addition to this, there's other jobs [unintelligible] I had over there. I found myself not being an assassin but helping people to move around who were from England, and other places, who later on said that they were doing the actual killing. But I was making the escape routes possible: going in making the contacts and also putting the finger on the people. Because I was doing the research there and would point out to the admiral and other people there that this man is unfriendly to America, and that. Later on, I could put two and two together: who was killed and who I'd put the finger on. But the- yes the- You see, the Army and the government- Let me show you how a

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert -military mind works; it's so subtle that you you just have to grab a hold of yourself. And this is how men participate. The word is, we are going to 'execute' this man. Well that word means, in my mind at that time I can go back on it now and look, meant the man had been: tried, judged, sentenced. And I was merely, just like, a man who pulls the switch at a legitimate execution in America. The word 'execute' inferred this to us. I realized later. I mean, I mean, I realize now that it means 'assassinate'. A [DM?] wasn't assassinated in the minds of the military; he was executed. And this gives it that legitimacy for your country. It strikes you. Like when you see the movies of old where Lincoln would call in someone and say, "You are going to go down and work in the southern part of the United States and you are going to kill governor so and so", and that special mission for your country and, "I cannot release the information to the press. You will have to take the abuse but you can", you are taking, "the word of your president that this is a legitimate thing you are doing." That's the way I operated.

Studs Terkel And I thinking of this this particular passage, Tony Herbert writes about during his time in the Middle East, "We visited parts. Arabs were there. Some Arabs were pro-Russian. Some were pro-American. But some were nationalistic and beyond expectation to cooperating with either nation. I noticed when", writes Tony Herbert, "when I delivered the third judgment, any the people we met; they invariably wound up dead. Those who were not aligned wound up dead on a matter of weeks." The question- then he says, "I started holding off telling-"

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes.

Studs Terkel The question is: who killed them? And the obvious question: whom did you tell?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. Well, I reported it to the admiral at the briefings. And also we had- I had other-

Studs Terkel This was the non-aligned Arabs?

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Yes. You see one of them was- One of them, I felt extremely keen about because he had, he was: one of the ones who taught me how to ride a camel, who taught me the things that would get me close to the Arabs on the desert when I went out to approach Arab intelligence people and he was violently nationalistic. And that's why I really felt close to the man; for this reason. He wasn't pro-American. He wasn't pro-Russian. He was pro-Arab and he was one of the few sheikhs I met who could ride better than his men could could could lead by example. And he was one of the ones I put down- was put down as violently nationalistic and he was one of the ones who was in fact killed.

Studs Terkel Colonel Herbert, let's take a slight pause now and rest. This is the end of the first hour with Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert, retired, U.S. Army. The book is "Soldier." Holt, Rinehart, Winston and this is just the beginning of the saga; part of the saga. We'll pick up the next program with his: experiences, observations and participation and his reflections in Vietnam. Thank you for the moment.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert Thank you.