Wednesday, February 23, 2011

American Hero v. African Zero

Forty-three years ago a real American hero faced off against a punk young aspiring dictator at the gates of a United States Air Force base in the North African desert.  The punk came very close to dying at the hands of the United States Air Force for the first, but not the last, time in his worthless life.    

In August of 1969, then Colonel Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr., USAF; Tuskegee airman and Korean and Vietnam veteran; was assigned as Commander of Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya.  Less than a month into James' tenure at Wheelus, a small group of junior military officers led by a 27 year-old army captain named Muammar Gaddafi staged a coup d'état against Libya's King Idris.  Gaddafi wasted no time consolidating his power and soon turned his eyes on the American military presence in Libya.

On October 18, 1969, Gaddafi rode with a column of armored vehicles to the main gate of Wheelus Air Force Base and ordered them to drive through the base in a show of force.  Instead of leading the column onto the base, the coward Gaddafi dismounted outside the gate and waited for their return.

Colonel James, alerted to the intrusion, strapped on a sidearm and raced to the gate.  In a scene straight out of the western movies of the era, Chappie and Gaddafi faced off in the dusty road.  Gaddafi's hand rested on the butt of the pistol at his side.  James ordered Gaddafi, "Move your hand away from that gun."  The punk blinked and complied.    

Colonel James was later quoted as saying that if Gaddafi had tried to pull his gun, "it would never have cleared the holster."

Chappie James' outstanding service to his nation culminated at the rank of General.  He died on February 25, 1978, only a month after his retirement from the Air Force.

Noted for his stirring speeches on Americanism and patriotism, there have been few men with as much zeal for this great nation before or since Chappie James.  Excerpts of his speeches have been read into the Congressional Record.  James was awarded the George Washington Freedom Foundation Medal in 1967 and again in 1968. He received the Arnold Air Society Eugene M. Zuckert Award in 1970 for outstanding contributions to Air Force professionalism, citing his service to the nation as a "... fighter pilot with a magnificent record, public speaker, and eloquent spokesman for the American Dream..."

General James' patriotism, selfless devotion to duty, and steadfast belief in American Exceptionalism stands in stark contrast to the so-called "leaders" of this generation whose fundamental view of the American Republic is as a source of power to be accumulated for nefarious gain.

The Colonel prays to be a MAN like Chappie James.
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