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Dan Marvin Passes Away at 78
By: David Deschesne
Fort Fairfield Journal, February 8, 2012
Lieutenant Colonel, Daniel “Dangerous Dan” Marvin (USAR—Ret.) died at a New York health care facility on January 19 at the age of 78.
LTC Marvin was best known within the patriot community for his book, Expendable Elite which highlighted his career as an A-team captain in An Phu, Vietnam in the 1960’s by revealing a U.S. CIA plot to assassinate the former prince of Cambodia.
LTC Marvin served in Vietnam from December, 1965 through December 1966. It was the day after Christmas in 1965 that LTC William Tuttle, commander of all the Special Forces (Green Berets) in IV Corps called Dan into his office in Can Tho and asked him if he would volunteer to command Team A-424 in An Phu and be the first to take the war against the enemy into Cambodia.
From there, as a captain, Marvin went to An Phu, South Vietnam and commanded Team A-424 in that independent operation from 27 December 1965 to 1 August 1966. While there, he won the hearts and minds of the 64,000 Hao Hoas, a fiercely independent militant Buddhist sect that populated An-Phu District. “The Hao Hoas were a very hard working, honest group of people,” LTC Marvin told the Fort Fairfield Journal in a 2006 interview. “I think some of my fellow Christians could take some lessons on faith from them, by observing how faithful they are to their religion.” It was 792 of those Hoa Hao "irregulars" that comprised Marvin's fighting force in An Phu.
In June, 1966, Captain Marvin was approached by a CIA operative and asked if he would volunteer for a mission into Cambodia - then a “neutral” country, even though they were providing a safe haven for the north Vietnamese military - in order to ambush and assassinate their leader, Prince Norodom Sihanouk and make it look as if the Viet Cong had done it.
Marvin accepted the mission with the stipulation that President Johnson would publicly declare on television, radio and in print that the enemy’s “safe havens” across the border in Cambodia would no longer be off limits to U.S. fire. The CIA agent indicated he would relay that counter-offer to the President.
Two days prior to the day that 42 of Marvin's irregulars were to travel up the Bassac River and into Cambodia to ambush and assassinate the Cambodian Prince, Capt. Marvin realized that President Johnson’s announcement was not forthcoming and called the deal off, ordering the CIA agent out of his camp.
The agent subsequently left in a fury. “You can’t fight ‘the system,’ Captain,” Marvin recalls the agent exclaiming, “because you can’t win.”
About six days later, a Regiment in the Army for the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) was dispatched by CIA influenced Premier Nguyen Cao Ky who directed them to attack An Phu Camp and destroy it. When ARVN LTG Quang Van Dang, at the request of the Hoa Hao Central Committee Chairman flew with Colonel William Desobry over the ARVN Regiment and ordered them back to their cantonment area he was told that they were headed for Marvin’s camp under orders from Premier Ky to kill him and all of his troops because, as they were told, he was planning on leading the Hao Hoas in a coup attempt against the government of South Vietnam - which, according to Marvin, he never intended to do. General Dang's arrival over the regiment saved Marvin and his troops from a CIA-instigated attack - an attack seemingly for “payback” against his refusal to play ball with “the Company.”
Having purposely included Top Secret information and the name of a CIA operative in his book, Expendable Elite LTC Marvin realized there was going to be flack over releasing this information. “It would have been worth a few years in prison to get the truth out about our government,” LTC Marvin asserts. "They (the government) didn't dare sue me because they would have to thereby admit that what I wrote was the truth - so they forced my men to do their dirty work."
The U.S. government did attempt to financially ruin Marvin with a proxy lawsuit by getting his former men to sign on to a libel lawsuit against him, rather than directly suing him for releasing Top Secret information. “Before I released the manuscript to the publisher, I sent it to those of my men who I had located and asked for their comments. They did and liked the way I portrayed them all in my writing. I’ve always referred to them as 'heroes.' because that is what they were.” When asked why his men would turn on him, Marvin postulated, “It seems the Special Forces Association has put some pressure on them and scared them by saying to at least one of them that he would lose his retirement benefits if he just spoke with me and it was his wife who told me that! So he joined with the other intimidated ones and agreed to sue me.”
At the end of the trial, Marvin was vindicated as the jury found no libel or defamation of his men in his book. In order to pay the thousands of dollars in defense attorney fees, a fund has been established for those who wish to donate. Donations may be mailed to 2 Evergreen Lane, Cazenovia, New York, 13035-1112.
A veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars, Marvin retired from the military in May, 1973 as a Lieutenant Colonel. While in An Phu he was awarded the prestigious Purple Scarf from the Hoa Hao - naming him as an honorary Hoa Hao - the only American to receive that special tribute. On January 29, 1984 Marvin's daughter, Danilee, led him to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. In 1999 he and his wife, Kate moved to Cazenovia, New York where he enjoyed his retirement fixing antique furniture, gardening and writing a gardening column, The Pig City Gardener for several newspapers.