A Sense of Duty Born South of the Sahara
I first met the unkind end of a bayonet while dad was tasked to America’s 2-man listening post tucked into the armpit of the African continent. Within months members of Macias Ngueme’s guardia nacional demanded that our houseboy turn me over to them because I had made a “weapon dangerous to the Republic” of Equatorial Guinea. I was 6.
I learned early on that my country and those tasked to do its work operate under threat 24/7. The only question about my duty to God and country has always been nothing more than how I would carry it out. And even though it didn’t work out for me to serve in my nation’s armed forces, as an attorney I still have a sworn duty as to the United States Constitution.
Some years ago, I met a combat-wounded Vietnam veteran who had been left to rot and die in a modern urban jail. I got him out of there. And from the hospital bed where he would soon die, that wounded warrior gave me a job to do.
That task was to tell the combat veteran’s story to those with the power and influence to fix some things that very much needed fixing. That’s a big job.
In the United States, 92.7% of us have never served under arms. And we – myself included – seldom have a clue what life is like for those who have. For example, almost nothing in our civilian reality mirrors a fundamental fact of life for our Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen, as well as for their families: an order to march into Hell is neither an invitation to nor an opportunity for, a career change.
My research and writing agenda seeks to translate the experiences of combat-wounded veterans into language designed to help civilians like me begin to understand what exactly we are asking of those we send to fight and what we ask of the people closest to them. A research article telling the stories of combat – wounded Allied airmen flying bombing missions over occupied Europe – crafted around the successful escape and evasion of a B-17 bombardier from Memphis, Tennessee – is in the works.
Expansion of the Research Agenda
Investigation and analysis reveal that the best course going forward is to create a modest 501(c)(3) research and education entity that could secure funding to support continued work translating combat-wounded warriors’ experiences into language designed to promote understanding among those who’ve never served. And there’s good reason to believe that funding would become available to support two other applied research projects. All three research projects offer the promise of reducing the risk of homelessness and suicide among those who’ve served.
The first of these additional research projects would be directed toward the establishment of correctional environments that are both occupied and supervised by veterans. Such facilities, whether free-standing or as tenant organizations within existing jails and prisons, would be informed by, among other things, experimental and nascent efforts that are already under way as well as lessons learned from America’s deepening experience with veterans’ courts. It’s anticipated that such facilities will operate within a theoretical environment built around the concept of “tribe” as articulated by American journalist Sebastian Junger during and after the time that he and the late British photojournalist Tim Hetherington spent with the men of Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan’s treacherous Korengal Valley.
I first explored the feasibility of a second additional applied research project during work on an article I planned to submit to the U.S. Naval Institute. The research would explore and promote legally and fiscally sustainable paths to the establishment of a highly secured, no-fault mechanism to provide financial support for unmet medical and living expenses incurred by special operators and their families from FVEY countries. My initial review of relevant documents, agreements, and instruments of law has been encouraging. Assuring the strictest secrecy to beneficiaries and to participating governments would be of paramount importance. This applied research project anticipates a lot more moving parts than the other two research activities and would take more time to fire up. Without a doubt, there are a lot of folks besides operators who have just as much need and as much claim to such assistance. But if we can build the thing, we need to make sure it works before we take it on the road.
I welcome your private communications about such a research shop.
Charles Bloeser is a Tennessee (USA) – licensed lawyer who is also a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. Beginning his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma (USA), he has spent the largest part of his legal career representing criminal defendants, appellants, and post-conviction petitioners in state and federal trial and appellate courts in the United States. He is the son and grandson of military veterans and a former U.S. State Department brat.
Among his published research are works re Libyan-supported Jihadi terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, civilian-military law enforcement relations, federal criminal law, and Federal court procedure.
Selected praise for author’s recent research products:
“Excellent piece of writing. You have an excellent start for a book about Wheeler. I wish I would have had some of your material for two of the Veteran’s Day speeches I gave the past couple of days. I’ll use next year.” Rear Admiral, USN (Ret), personal email re Cherokee DELTA Operator: Invisible. Not Unseeable.” (Nov. 2017)
“Stunningly accurate piece of writing that will hit a chord with anybody who has served in any of the war-torn areas of the world.” Senior Operations Officer/Flight Commander, RAF (Ret), commenting on “Thank You for Your Service.” (Sept. 2017)
“I have read your article very carefully. It is a most thought-provoking piece of writing by an expert in the true meaning of the word. . ..” Commodore, Royal Navy (Ret), personal message re “Writing Is About Turning Blood into Ink.” (June 2018)
Author’s previously published research has been cited, among other places, in publications of CATO Institute (2009) and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine (listed, 2006); in the Mississippi Law Journal (2016), Small Wars Journal (2011), Georgetown Law Journal (2008), George Mason Law Review (2007), William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal (2006), University of Florida Journal of Law & Pub. Policy (2006), and Indiana Law Review (2003); also cited in: James Seger, The Occupy Movement: Signs of Cultural Shifts in Group Processes Shaped by Place, PhD. diss., Pacifica Graduate Institute (2017), Spencer Mawby, Ordering Independence: The End of Empire in the Anglophone Caribbean, 1947-69. Palgrave Macmillan UK (2012), and Brandon Oliveira & Darby Avilas, Disrupting Emerging Networks: Analyzing and Evaluating Jamaat al-Muslimeen (JAM) and the Development of an Extremist Threat in the Caribbean, M.S. thesis, U. S. Naval Postgraduate School (2012).