SPECIAL FORCES LT COLONEL
The year was 1966. The place, a U.S. Army Special Forces camp at An Phu, near the Vietnamese-Cambodian border.
CIA agent Walter Mackem had just informed camp commander, then-CPT Dan Marvin, that his mission was to infiltrate forces into Cambodia and kill Prince Norodum Sihanouk. The Viet Cong were using Cambodia as a sanctuary and raiding South Vietnamese outposts along the border. The idea, Marvin was told, was to make it "look like" the VC had disposed of the crown prince, thus destabilizing what had been, ostensibly at least, a neutral country.
"As I turned to exit the command bunker, with Major Le close behind me," Marvin told MilitaryCorruption.com, " I looked Mackem in the eye and told him, 'You can tell your "highest authority" just what I told you. If President Johnson insists the enemy be permitted to retain their sanctuaries inside Cambodia, I refuse to send my people to risk their lives to kill Sihanouk.'
The mission was suicide. It meant crossing the border undetected, moving over unfamiliar ground and water a distance of 160 kilometers, conducting an ambush and then returning that same distance through a gauntlet of Cambodian militia who would, by that time, be on a high state of alert.
And it meant LBJ was illegally ordering a Special Forces officer to kill the leader of a neutral country not at war with the United States.
Marvin, once a tough street kid from Chicago, and Mackem went nose-to-nose. The CIA man "blinked."
"People like you don't make demands of the CIA," the spook snarled, then climbed aboard his Air America helicopter and took off.
After that tense exchange, CPT Marvin and his Vietnamese Hoa Hao fighters were "marked men." They were expendable. But we won't spoil the rest of this true story. You can read it in "The Expendable Élite" published by TrineDay of Walterville, Oregon. Call 1-800-556-2012 or click on to the publisher's web site at www.trineday.com. The small but active publisher has a number of controversial titles, but - in our opinion - this book by retired Special Forces Lt. Col. Dan Marvin, is the best. Every Vietnam vet who wants to know the real history of what happened in the early days of the war, and every library in the country, need to get this book, now. It is thoroughly documented. We highly recommend it.
OPPOSITION BY THE SPECIAL FORCES ASSN.
Nothing can ever detract from the glory and honor of so many Special Forces officers and men who fought valiantly in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. This web site is friend to many a Green Beret. Our editor-in-chief - as a young NCO and combat correspondent - fought in Vietnam during the years 1966 to 1969 and knows first hand of their bravery.
But, like most organizations, there are "dirty little secrets" that some would prefer stay unknown. And in the case of Green Beret Dan Marvin, telling this story is clearly considered a "no-no."
The powerful Special Forces Assn. went into full gear to stop publication of Marvin's book. They even brought suit against him in federal court, demanding the book be termed "fiction," despite meticulous documentation that "Operation Snuff Crown" was real.
Former friends and comrades in arms of Marvin were persuaded to turn on their former colleague, and in some cases, renounce earlier support of his account of what happened at An Phu. The truth was at stake as Marvin and his publisher journeyed to Charleston, S.C. to fight the battle of freedom of the press.
LIBEL CHARGES DISMISSED, VICTORY FOR MARVIN AND PUBLISHER
It took the federal court jury only two hours to decide Col. Marvin was telling the truth. He was completely cleared of all charges the book "libeled" anyone or was "a pack of lies."
Despite his sweet victory, the colonel is a man of modest means. It has cost him and his publisher $63,000 (so far) on a bill of more than $150,000 to successfully defend themselves and make it possible for Americans and people everywhere to know one more untold story of the Vietnam war.
It certainly doesn't help the public relations image of the Green Berets, nor does it reflect well on President Lyndon Baines Johnson, but the colonel, whose courage is unquestioned - his decorations include the Bronze Star for Valor and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry - was willing to put his future "on the line" for the truth. He won.
"The SFA were frantic to stop publication of this book," Marvin told MCC. "They thought they could bankrupt me and our publisher, TrineDay, but God saw us through. We won the final victory."
A still rugged, lanky man with a warm smile that belies his brawler past, Marvin is known to close friends and enemies alike as "Dangerous Dan." No one to get in a fight with, but the best friend possible to have on your side when the going gets tough.
"The unanimous verdict of the jury was that we were not guilty of writing and publishing lies in my book that defamed or even libeled the plaintiffs. Instead, as it has always been presented , EXPENDABLE ÉLITE - ONE SOLDIER'S JOURNEY INTO COVERT WARFARE - is a true account of what took place when I commanded the Special Forces camp at An Phu, Vietnam between December 1965 and August 1966.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Col. Marvin is 72 years old and badly needs help in the form of contributions to defray his huge legal expenses. Please make out your checks to "Marvin/TrineDay Defense Fund" and mail it to Bowditch and Dewey, LLP, P.O. Box 15156, Worchester, MA 01605-0156. Likewise, please support courageous publisher "Kris" Millegan. Buy his books and contribute if you can. His toll-free order line and office number is 1-880-556-2012. Thank you.]