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Libel Trial of LTC Dan Marvin (USASF Ret.)

Day 1  Day 2  Day 3  Wrap Up  NOT GUILTY!

LTC Marvin

 

LTC Writes book Expendable Elite - draws fire from former soldiers in his command 

 

LTC Dan Marvin Recalls History of Torture Training in U.S. Military.

 

LTC Dan Marvin Trial Intro

 

LTC Dan Marvin Passes Away at 78

By: David Deschesne, Editor

Fort Fairfield Journal

 

Click Here to Learn How to Donate to Dan Marvin's Legal Defense.......

 

The libel trial against LTC Dan Marvin and his publisher, Trine Day Press will be held at the U.S. District Court in Charleston, South Carolina on January 23, 2006.

 

LTC Marvin's Journey Begins

 

Fort Fairfield Journal | January 21, 2006

 

By:  David Deschesne

   The libel trial of Lieutenant Colonel (USASF Ret.) Daniel "Dangerous Dan" Marvin is to commence on Monday, January 23, 2005 at the U.S. District Courthouse in Charleston, South Carolina.

     Marvin and his entourage met in Cazenovia, New York shortly before 6:00 a.m. on Friday, January 20 only to be met with vehicle troubles in what is turning out to be a spiritual war between good and evil; a war between putting out the truth or keeping it quashed. 

   "It was a challenge to remain calm after an auto parts supplier sent back the parts that were special ordered for our travel vehicle because of a misunderstanding on the phone," said Tim Bates, who along with his wife, Cheryl is traveling with Marvin to provide press coverage.  "Ultimately, we rented an SUV.  Once again, the lesson is to not wait to the last minute to get the travel vehicle in shape."

   "We are in a nice, much newer truck so maybe all is not lost," said Bates.

   The Bates arrived at the Marvin’s lovely home around 8:15 a.m.  "We loaded the truck and talked for several minutes with Dan and his wife, Kate.  After prayers for a safe trip, we headed south on our first leg of the trip.  Around 8:00 p.m. we stopped for the night just south of Richmond, Virginia. 

   Bates indicates the first day was wonderful fellowship, catching up on recent days and planning the events of the upcoming week.  "We will continue on to Charleston tomorrow."

   The trial against Marvin and his publisher was brought by former men under his command at An Phu, Vietnam, where he was Captain of a U.S. Army Green Beret A-Team conducting an independent (read: secret) operation.     

    While the book illustrates Marvin's experiences and portrays his men in an honorable, distinguished light, they have succumbed to what appears to be pressure from the 6,000 member Special Forces Association (SFA), who appear to desire to have this information suppressed.  To those ends, the SFA has hired attorneys and convinced some of Marvin's men and former commander to sue him for libel and defamation of character.

 

First Day of Marvin Trial Opens

Defense claims camp An Phu a "resort"

 

Fort Fairfield Journal | January 23, 2006

 

By:  Tim Bates

The libel trial of Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Daniel Marvin began at 9:45 on January 23.  There are eight seated on the jury; 4 white males, 2 white females and 2 black females.

 

The judge,  Honorable David C. Norton, began with the instructions to the jurors, explaining their duty, explaining the charges of libel, slander and defamation of character and their conduct during the trial. 

 

The defendants’ lawyer, Ben Deaver started with his opening statements.  He explained how An Phu was nothing more than a resort.  All five of the men claiming defamation state that at no time did they fire their weapons against an enemy.  He states that Dan was nothing more than a logistics officer and had no combat experience so why would he command a team on the front lines in a war?  He has questioned all of Colonel Marvin’s qualifications and the allegations that this was a very dangerous place to be stationed.  This base was basically for rest and relaxation.

 

Chris Ogeba then gave his opening statement for Col. Marvin and Mr. Millegan.  He started by introducing his staff and Chris and Dan.  He explained how the plaintiffs are portrayed in the book - and to anyone who has ever read the book - as heroes.  Day after day they went above and beyond the call of duty in fighting for the indigenous people and battling the communist insurgents.  Mr. Ogeba then explained the concept of defamation and defamatory comments, followed by a revue of all the evidence that has already been submitted for both sides.

 

Bobby Deaver, attorney for the plaintiffs called the first witness, Mr. James A. Taylor from Fayetteville NC.  Mr. Taylor is a retired Sgt. Major, E-9.  He discussed his family and career.  He entered into the military in Special Forces in 1955.  His first contact since Vietnam with Col. Marvin was in 1988.  In 1990 he broke off contact with Col. Marvin requesting that Col. Marvin no longer contact him.  He discussed several preliminary manuscripts and titles for the book before the official printing.  He stated in 1995 he contacted the Special Forces Association to get assistance in stopping the printing of the book, Expendable Elite. 

 

His comments about An Phu were that at no time was there any hostile action in the area.  There were never any battles and he never fired his weapon at any enemy.  He restated that it was a resort area, a place for "R&R."  The only action he ever saw was medical and civil actions helping the local poor Hao Hoas with medicine, building of schools, churches, infirmaries, etc.  He was in An Phu approximately 7 months and never fired his weapon except in target practice.  He does admit that if the book were true he would be a hero as portrayed by Col. Marvin.  He also says the book accuses him of treason, disobeying a direct order and being a loose cannon, a renegade.  He also stated he was not a member of the Special Forces Association when he went to help in getting the book removed from the market and having it changed from a true story to a work of fiction.  The plaintiff and his lawyer then started to examine the book and discuss anywhere Mr. Taylor’s name is mentioned.  Basically, he stated that at no time did he fire his weapon, did he fire any mortar, participate in any battle or fire into or enter Cambodia.  One major point they dwelt on was that at no time was Martha Raye in the military service, she was never a military officer, nor was she in the nurses corp.  The one time she did visit An Phu her helicopter was not fired upon.  He also portrays Col. Marvin as stand offish.  He claims he never had much contact with Col. Marvin during his time at An Phu, at meetings, discussions or consultations.  At the end of his testimony with Mr. Deaver he states that he has not been coerced in any way about bringing this lawsuit. 

 

Barry Bacharach then cross-examined Mr. Taylor.  He discussed his Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.  Under previous testimony he stated this was presented to him at a victory celebration. Taylor stated that he did not know why there was a celebration because "If there was no battle how can there be a victory to celebrate."  Mr. Bacharach then asked Mr. Taylor if he has heard any of the audiotapes that have been entered into evidence?  Mr. Taylor stated he remembers tapes being entered into evidence but has a hard time recalling exactly what is on the tapes.  Mr. Bachrach then stated the audiotapes of phone conversations between him and Dan Marvin totally contradict his recollection of no victory to celebrate and to the issue of the Cross of Gallantry.  Mr. Bacharach then asked him if he recalls the forward operations bases at Phu Hep and Canh Binh and the firing back and forth across the border with the Communist forces.  Mr. Taylor answered that he does not remember what the audiotapes had on them but that at no time were any weapons fired from the FOB at An Phu.  Mr. Bachrach then stated that Mr. Taylor approached the Special Forces Association and James Dean, secretary to Special Forces Association about the book.  Mr. Taylor stated to Mr. Dean that the book was not true.  He also denied preparing a questionnaire with Mr. Dean which is contradicted by his previous deposition.  Mr. Bacharach then asked Mr. Taylor if he knew that the Special Forces Association wass paying all the costs of the lawsuit.  Mr. Taylor acknowledged they are funding the lawsuit.  There is then a short redirect by Mr. Deaver to illuminate a few details.  Mr. Taylor is then complete in his testimony.

 

The next witness is John Strait.  He has retired from the Special Forces after 22 years of service.  He started in Special Forces as a Sergeant First Class and was then promoted to Second Lt. and went thru Special Forces training a second time as an officer.  He was classified as an infantry officer, specializing in unconventional warfare.  He arrived at An Phu march of 1966.  He stated when he arrived everyone was playing horseshoes and it seemed like a secure village.  He states the closest he came to any action was 100 yards from an ambush at a bridge on May 18 1966.  He states he never fired his weapon at an enemy.  Although there was a large battle at Canh Binh in mid May he knew of no Americans that were in that fight.

 

 They then begin to discuss where he is mentioned in the book.  He states the events where he is portrayed in the book is total fallacy they never happened.  Next they discuss the audiotapes he sent Col. Marvin for inclusion in the book.  He stated he was thrilled to be contacted by Col. Marvin.  He had the utmost respect for Col. Marvin before the book was printed.  He did not know why he was being asked for the tapes but recalls several phone calls, letters and a questionnaire for his input in the book.  He then stated the time he recorded the tapes he was a Commander at an American Legion post.  He stated that he would be at the post drinking for three to five hours before making the tapes that were sent to Col. Marvin.  He claims the stories are all embellished and are a compilation of all his time in Vietnam, not just An Phu.  The audiotapes in question are then played which is approximately 60 to 70 minutes of recorded memories.  All of the audio testimony contradicts everything he now claims is the truth.  It contradicts all testimony of An Phu being a resort area.  On both tapes he mentioned the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry as the best award he ever received.  Although he now claims that anyone who served in Vietnam got one.  Mr. Strait’s testimony was concluded at 5:40 p.m. and his cross-examination will begin at 9:00 a.m., January 24.

 

Dan Marvin Libel Trial Moves on to Second Day

Defense Witness Strait says "Vietnam Cross of Gallantry probably worthless; everyone got one."

Fort Fairfield Journal | January 24, 2006

By:  Tim Bates

   On the second day of the libel trial against LTC Dan Marvin (Ret.), the cross examination of John Strait, Marvin's former XO at An Phu, began at 9:40 a.m.  He indicated he left his rank at home and being addressed, as "Mr. Strait" would be fine.  This has been a common theme among all the plaintiffs.  It seems as though they want their military career left behind. 

   Mr. Strait was questioned about the Special Forces questionnaire he received and his answers seemed very vague.  He was questioned about the tapes that he sent to Col. Marvin which were to be used in the writing of the book, Expendable Elite.  His description on the audiotape of the battle at Canh Binh was “All Hell Breaking Loose” but is now recanting, stating it was only a small firefight - and one he was not involved in. 

   He was then questioned about the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry he received.  On both of tapes that have been admitted as evidence he speaks of this award as one of the most important he has ever received in his military career.  He is now recanting that statement and is saying anyone who served in Vietnam probably got one.  They are probably worthless is his current view of the award. 

    Marvin's attorney, Mr. Bachrach played the first audiotape for the courtroom and jury to hear.  Mr. Strait's first words on the tape were: “my first impression of An Phu”.  This would give one the impression that this audiotape is a true and factual recollection, which he is now stating is nothing more than "GI bar talk."

    He was then questioned about firing mortars. He admits to firing three rounds with the mortar, which contradicts his prior statement that he 'never fired any rounds.'

     He is questioned about using the words “I remember” in connection with almost every incident on the tape.  Several times he uses the words “I’m aware” of things that were happening at the camp and uses the names of the team members.  On the audiotape he thanked Col. Marvin for saving his life from a mortar round that hit just a few feet away.  He made specific reference to this incident because it was very important to him at the time he made the audiotape.  He is now saying it never happened and there is no reason for the Thank-you Col. Marvin. 

     He was then questioned about the events leading up to the lawsuit.  Mr. Strait told James Dean of the Special Forces association that the book is a complete lie.  This led the Special Forces association quarterly newsletter The Drop to print that it was a 100% lie.  This was prior to Mr. Strait having any meetings with Mr. Dean and at no time did he send the two audiotapes to Mr. Dean to show the information he had supplied to Col Marvin.  His attention was then called to a copy of a dollar bill that he had sent to Col. Marvin.  On it was the inscription “Here’s the first dollar your book will ever make.”  And he wished him luck on the book.  Upon questioning about that dollar bill and note, he indicated the dollar bill "meant nothing."  This ended the cross examination of Mr. Strait.

   Ben Deaver, for the prosecution then redirected Mr. Strait.  The case wass made that Mr. Strait is just regurgitating the information that Col. Marvin had supplied to him. 

   The next plaintiff was George Kuchen, who entered the Special Forces in 1963.  He was trained as a medic.  Special forces medics get medical training that would rival a general practitioner.  In the field, they would be qualified to do almost anything including surgery.  He arrived at An Phu in November of 1965.  This was his first A camp in Vietnam.  He stated that at no time was there any military action at the camp.  The only thing that he was involved in was civic action and medical treatment of the indigenous people.  He never treated any American wounded during his time at An Phu. 

    He was then questioned about his inclusion in the book.  He states that at no time did any of the events in the book take place.  He stated that he was "bothered by the accusation of his violating Cambodian sovereignty."  He said he was embarrassed and nauseated that this book was written and that he is included in it.  When the book came out he read it and it turned him off. 

     Under cross-examination he has to admit that the book never mentions him firing into Cambodia.  He is then shown “A Soldiers Report” by General Westmoreland.  On page 222 General Westmoreland states he has received the okay to fire into Cambodia if fired upon and to chase the enemy into Cambodia if we are in hot pursuit.  He is asked if he told James Dean of SFA if the book was nothing but lies.  He states "yes."  However, he doesn’t recall the book being mentioned in The Drop as a pack of lies.  This is the end of his cross-examination.  There is a very brief redirect.  He states he was on one of the teams and neither he nor his team fired into Cambodia.  He also states he was never fired on from Cambodia.  This is the end of Mr. Kuchen’s testimony about his tour of duty at An Phu.

   The next evidence is a deposition from Colonel William B. Tuttle.  Mr. Deaver deposed Col. Tuttle.  They spoke of his early military career and his arrival in Vietnam in 1965.  They started going through the book everywhere that Col. Tuttle’s name is mentioned.  Col. Tuttle’s impression is that this book is complete fabrication from beginning to end.  He even attributes mutiny to Col. Marvin if the book is true, for refusing a direct order to leave An Phu and abandon the Hao Hao people.  He sites the radio transmissions as a complete lie because he was not in Vietnam at this time.  He is asked how he was damaged by this book and states that it has hurt his character and made him look ridiculous. 

    For the defense, Mr. Bachrach  started his deposition of Col. Tuttle.  Mr. Bachrach stated to Tuttle that the book never claims he (Tuttle) gave the order to kill Prince Sihanouk.  The book never states that he was involved with the CIA.  And although he took counter insurgency classes he has never heard of any Special Forces assassination course.  He was asked if he knew who was paying the expenses for the lawsuit.  Col. Tuttle stated he knows the SFA is paying all advanced expenses.  Col. Tuttle also said that any orders to invade Cambodia were pure fantasy.  He does remember having heard about high-level independent operations by the CIA to enter sovereign countries.  He repeated that every reference to him in Expendable Elite is complete fantasy.  This was the end of Col. Tuttle’s deposition.

      The first witness after lunch is retired Major General Overholt.  He is a retired Army Judge Advocate General.  He retired after 32 years of law in the army specializing in criminal law.  Near the end of his career he oversaw 2,400 lawyers.  He states he has read the book and is generally familiar with it.  He is questioned about sections in the book that would contribute to criminal charges against Col. Marvin and his men.  He states that under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the men could be charged with conspiracy, and mutiny.  This is for disobeying lawful orders and conspiring would include two or more people agreeing to disobey a lawful order.  He states that disobeying a lawful order during wartime could carry the death penalty. General Overholt also states that all who know of the mutiny or the conspiracy to mutiny are required to suppress the mutiny and bring it to the attention of their superiors.  If they do not do everything in their power to suppress the mutiny they are also guilty of mutiny.  He also states that to knowingly fire upon friendly forces would be murder or at least attempted murder.  When asked about the statute of limitations, General Overholt states that any crime punishable by death has no statute of limitations. 

     General Overholt was then cross-examined by Mr. Ogiba.  They discuss Lt. Strait's involvement, according to the book, in mutiny, conspiracy to commit murder and other acts of treason.  General Overholt is then questioned about his oral biography titled “The Shoeshine Boys.”  This was published in the Military Law Review.  They then discussed how orders may be classified as legal or illegal.  If a commander orders his troops to go paint his house the would be an illegal order, but if he orders you to paint a military building it would be a legal order.  They then discuss the book and Col. Marvin’s assertion that if he had abandoned the CIDG Forces they would have been slaughtered.  Mr. Ogiba asked if disobeying an order to abandon these people would protect many lives, would this be allowed?  General Overholt replied: "No, you must follow the order and leave the camp."  They then discussed the classifications of orders, direct, general, and lawful.  They also discussed who has the authority to issue an order.  If the order had come down to kill prince Sihanouk then it would be an illegal order.  The plaintiffs say the book accuses them of sedition.  General Overholt states he had researched the general order to not cross into Cambodia.  He was told this order was in effect but was not familiar with the order.  He had not read the order so he would not be able to judge the order.  Mr. Ogiba then asked if General Westmoreland would be more able to judge whether they should stay out of Cambodia.  General Westmoreland’s book is then read and discussed.  The disobeying a direct order may be in question because of overlapping time frames.  General Overholt then acknowledges that military people were in Cambodia and Laos violating their national borders.  The General was asked if he prosecuted any of these people for incursions into neutral countries?  He stated he was unaware of any prosecutions for these crimes.  The General was then asked if he knew of any investigations of the plaintiffs due to this book.  He indicated that some of these crimes may have a statute of limitations but it would not be practical to prosecute the plaintiffs at this time.  His biography is then discussed and on page 320 during his service at Fort Chaffey.  An incident occurred where General Walker ordered troops to seize a newspaper.  General Overholt states that it was heroic for a Captain to violate this order.  General Overholt is then questioned about page 327 and never being prosecuted for missing curfew, which was disobeying a direct order.  He is also questioned about page 332 of his biography.  While he was living in Korea, officers living off base had women other than their spouses living with them.  At the time, adultery was a crime under the UCMJ.  General Overholt said that these men should have been prosecuted if they were found out.  Also on page 348 of his biography there is a list of 16 tenants that he lives by.  Number 11 states that you should do what is right and look at the big picture and he is questioned as to whether this would include disobeying a direct order to do what is right.  General Overholt, being the consummate lawyer, totally sidestepped the question. On page 354 of his biography he states that it is allowable to treat covert or unconventional warfare differently than standard operations.  He stated that the criminal case should be brought forward and the judge would then have to decide how to handle the case, whether it would be prosecuted or not.  This ended the cross-examination of General Overholt.

   General Overholt is a very good lawyer.  He obviously can speak for hours on end without answering a single question.  Trying to get a straight answer out of him was like trying to lasso a cloud.  General Overholt is now with a law firm and does lobbying at the federal government level. 

    The last plaintiff of the day was Sgt. Ray Johnson.  While in the 82nd Airborne he was a field artillery specialist.  Upon joining the Special Forces he was trained in weapons, escape and evasion, map reading and demolition at fort Bragg.  His specialty was communications.  He served for 4 months under Col. Marvin at An Phu. 

    Sgt. Johnson is next questioned about his mention in the book Expendable Elite.  He reiterates the whitewashed story that An Phu was a quiet, pacified area.  He states at no time did he call in for helicopter gun ships or that he even fired his weapon.  He states he never saw anyone from the CIA at An Phu and he states there were never any meetings that he remembers.  Mr. Johnson states that the book has ruined his reputation.  People are calling him a hero but it never happened.

    We start to listen to the taped phone conversation Mr. Johnson had with Col. Marvin.  Mr. Johnson admits being in Cambodia and Laos in 1961.  On the tape he says he got his green beret in 1961 while he was in Laos.  Mr. Johnson speaks of Col. Marvin with the utmost respect.  He states Col. Marvin was the best commanding officer he ever had and would rate him as 10 out of 10. He also remembers the firefights and many Viet Cong bodies.  He asked Col. Marvin for photographs of himself, as all of his were lost.  He specifically asks for photographs of the captured weapons and ammunition.  At the end of the tape Mr. Deaver questions him very briefly.

    Under cross-examination he contradicts himself about sterile operations and knowing what they were, how he knew and how they are conducted.  He stated off the tape that he never went into Cambodia while stationed at An Phu but this contradicts his statements on the tape.  Mr. Johnson stated that the complaint was filed on his behalf without his knowledge.  He also stated that the book is "BS" and it doesn’t bother him, which contradicts a letter Col. Marvin had received that said it was a good read.  He had also made an earlier statement that he had never read the book so contradictions in his testimony abound.  He was then told that because he was not in the camp at the time of the alleged mutiny there is no way he could be prosecuted for it.  This was the end of Mr. Johnson’s testimony.  Court was adjourned at 5:55 PM.

 

Dan Marivn Trial Moves Into Day Three

Sirois says An Phu a "Country Club." 

Plaintiffs Rest Their Case

Fort Fairfield Journal | January 25, 2006  

 

By:  Tim Bates

   The first plaintiff one the stand today was Richard Sirois.  His nickname was Bac-Si while he was in An Phu.  "Bac-Si" is Vietnamese for "doctor." He was the medic for Captain Marvin's A-Team in 1965-66.  Mr. Sirois was very vocal and agitated while being questioned by the prosecution's Ben Deaver.  Sirois denied anything in the book about him is true.  When he is questioned about any information about his time at An Phu, he almost made it sound as if he was never in Viet Nam.  He met Col. Dan Marvin at the 1988 Special Forces convention and states that he was “very turned off” because of the things that Dan said he was involved in.  Going through the book by the pages Mr. Sirois was named on, he claimed the things never happened.  He states he never fired his rifle or any other weapon.  He said he never treated any American wounded at An Phu.  Sirois was questioned about Appendix 14, which is a Combat Statistics Report for the months of January through July of 1966.  He basically said this document was a complete fabrication.  He stated he never treated any combat wounded while he was stationed at An Phu.  He never ordered increased supplies for the expected fight at Khanh Binh as stated on page 183.  His impression of An Phu was a "country club."  He did admit Col. Marvin was a good team leader, though. 

     Mr. Sirois was still in the military when he recorded audiotapes he sent to Col. Marvin in preparation for the book Expendable Elite.  The audio tape interviews were played for the jury.  His opening statement on tape was: “I remember what happened in An Phu.  I have very, very good memories of it.”  He stated there was a lot of action in the area right after he arrived.  He also said in the audiotaped recollection that he was scared when he went out on Med Cap runs out to the villages.  Mr. Sirois admited he treated many, many local people for standard medical problems (In the book he is portrayed as a hero for the amount of work he did).  He also stated he was always scared when he was at the remote outposts.  The outposts were close to the Cambodian border where he indicated the North Vietnamese were.  On the tape he recalls the victory celebration after the battle at Khanh Binh and remembers the dead bodies, captured weapons and ammo.  He states he has photos of General Lam at the celebration.  Mr. Sirois states he does not remember much action around the base but remembers a few specific incidents on the tape of treating a man with his arm blown off by a 155 Howitzer shell.  He also said on tape he is looking through his photo album to jog his memory.  At almost every mention of a specific incident he states, “I remember”.  He restarts taping and says, “What else do I remember about the good old Bassac”.  He talks about a Sergeant Fox being so drunk he could not be woken up when people were needed for fire support (Remember he has already stated he never fired his weapon).  At the end of this recording session he wishes best success with the book to Dan.  Sirois starts taping again and states he remembers being on a boat with many other soldiers near the Cambodian border.  He read the forward by Martha Raye in Expendable Elite and liked it.  He remembered Dan being called the purple pimpernel because of the purple scarf given by the Hao Hoas.  He ended this redording session by saying "this is what I remember from An Phu."

   Mr. Sirois was further questioned and states on the tape he said he did not have a good memory, which is in total contradiction to his recorded words.  He said he received a manuscript but does not remember the title or what he did with it.  When asked how the book has affected him he says every time he sees the book he goes crazy.  “I felt I was used” and claims Dan provided the information. Sirois claimed the memories he indicated, on the 10 plus year-old audiotape, were not his memories.  “The book is 99.99% lies,” he exclaimed.

    After a short break Mr. Bachrach, Marvin's attorney, started his cross-examination.  Mr. Sirois was asked about his nickname of “Cutter.”  He explained he got that after An Phu and is mad that Dan called him that in the book.  They discuss his short bio on page 143.  Dan did not state his nickname was "Cutter" and the rest of his bio, which he claims is false, came from the questionnaire he answered himself.  When asked if the book states he shot into Cambodia, he said "No."  When asked if the book says he went into Cambodia he said "No."  When asked if he was part of the alleged mutiny he said "No," because, as the book says, he was in a Saigon hospital.  Later in the cross examination he is asked why his case of malaria was so important.  He states that there was to be a big build-up in the An Phu area and the Army needed to know how to treat this ailment.  Sirois complained about incidents that were never even in the book.  He was then shown a copy of the questionnaire he completed for Col. Marvin and it matches the bio on page 143.  The beginning of the tape is replayed where he states, “I remember at An Phu.”  This contradicts his allegations that these things happened on another tour years later.  He also stated “Someone told me about the action at Khanh Binh.”  Mr. Sirois says he used his best memories to make the tape, he made notes to stay accurate and has photos of An Phu that he looked at while making the audiotape.  Mr. Bachrach completed his cross-examination.

            Kris Millegan, from Trine Day Publishing was the next witness.  Kris indicated he is a publisher and he puts out books that can’t make it to the market through conventional channels.  He is asked about some of the books in his library: The Octopus Conspiracy, Sinister Forces, Ambushed and Fleshing Out Skull and Bones.  The title for Expendable Elite was chosen by Mr. Millegan, not Mr. Marvin.  Several issues of publishing were discussed.  Mr. Millegan was asked if he tried to verify the truth of Col. Marvin’s book.  He answered that he was supplied with much of the preliminary work and did check some of the information.  When asked if he contacted any of the men that supplied the background information and he answered. "No."  The letters from the Special Forces Association were then reviewed.  Mr. Millegan said he considered the letters were just harassment and bullying.  The second letter stated the SFA had information to prove the book was false but to this date has never supplied the proof.  Kris states that he felt that the SFA was trying to stop the publishing of the book, Expendable Elite.  The plaintiffs rested their case at this time. 

            After lunch the defense commenced with the deposition of Tony Trung.  He was born in Saigon and his first assignment as an interpreter was at An Phu.  His travel from C Team to B Team to A-424 is discussed.  The discussion talks about whom he talks with, how long the trip takes and how he was moved.  The deposition then talks about the weapons at the base and the outposts.  Tony indicated there were mortars at the main camp and he remembers the 4.2 being moved to Khanh Binh.  He is then asked to identify the photos in the back of the book.  He also describes the damage done to the outpost during the attacks.  He is asked to identify areas on the map of An Phu.  Tony describes the fire received from Cambodia and the firing of the mortar into Cambodia from the outpost at Khanh Binh.  When asked which Americans were with him when he fired mortar rounds into Cambodia, Mr. Trung identifies Sgts. Johnson and Barnes.  He also remembers a round stuck in the tube of the mortar with Sgt. Johnson.  When asked about the battle at Khanh Binh, he says he went there when the battle was under way and describes the action he saw with Sgt. Taylor.  He also describes the 10+ VC and the dead CIDG and how the VC attack was repelled.  He recalls the Victory celebration after the battle and who was at the camp.  Tony identifies the letter he sent to Dan Marvin about the book.

Tony is now cross-examined by Mr. Deaver who asked him of his time at An Phu and what his daily activities were.  He is asked if the area was pacified and he said "yes."  Was the area safe for civilians?  "Yes."  Tony mentioned his first contact with Dan was in 1999.  He is asked about his work in Viet Nam after he left An Phu and states he did some Top Secret work in other areas.  He was asked if he knows what a purple zone is and he said no.  After his cross-examination was completed, Marvin's attorney, Mr. Bachrach had one more question.  Tony was asked if he personally received fire from Cambodia, to which he responded, "yes."

The next witness is the main player, Col. Dan Marvin.  He starts off with his personal history.  He volunteered the Special Forces the day JFK was assassinated.  He discussed his transfer to Viet Nam.  Much of how he came to command the A Team at An Phu is discussed.  One point that is talked about is how he could remember so many details.  Col. Marvin says he has always written things on 3”x5” index cards to keep and refer to later.  All his cards were sent to a safe location to be retrieved when he needed them.  Dan is shown various action reports for the month of May 1966 and asked about the numbers.  He states he wrote the reports and was given the information by the men in the area.  The incident of saving the life of John Strait is talked about and Dan again says how it happened.  Dan’s account matches the words of Mr. Strait on the tape.  Col. Marvin says the manuscripts sent to the men to review were always portrayed as non-fiction, a true story.  The questionnaire that was sent was discussed.  Col. Marvin says the audiotapes are true and the men sent them as a true representation of what they recall.  Because of what the men said on the audiotapes and the recorded phone calls, Dan wrote the book as it was published.  The information on the tapes was reviewed, CIA at the camp, ARVN troops coming to take the camp, John Strait’s life being saved and the betrayal of the Hoa Hao people.  The letter from General Dang is read and agrees with Dan’s account in the book.  The photos in the back of the book are identified and the photos of Martha Raye are also discussed. 

James Dean of the Special Forces Association was sent a copy of the manuscript in 1994.  Mr. Dean wrote a letter to Col. Marvin after reading the book.  James wished Dan the best of luck with the book because he thought it was such good work.  The letter in The Drop, the quarterly news magazine of the SFA, against the book was brought out.  The Drop claims that Expendable Elite is 100% lies and one would have to wonder how the secretary of SFA, Mr. Dean, could print the exact opposite of what he wrote in a personal letter to Dan.  Dan is then questioned as to how the lawsuit has hurt him.  He states he is almost bankrupt and the market for the book has all but disappeared.  The emotional toll on his family has also been tremendous.  The acknowledgement of a few small errors comes to light.  These are a few spelling errors and the name of one individual is wrong but none of these changes the truth of the events. 

   Bobby Deaver cross-examined Col. Marvin.  Mr. Deaver started by asking how Dan got his Korea campaign medal if he got there after the peace agreement was signed.  Dan states the DOD issues the criteria to receive a medal.  Col. Marvin’s security clearance is questioned and Dan states that his final DD 214 shows his Top Secret Clearance.  Mr. Deaver then brings up the fact that Martha Raye was not a commissioned officer nor was she in the Nurse’s Corp.  (Martha Raye was given an honorary commission in the Special Forces as a Lt. Colonel and is buried in the Fort Bragg Cemetery in Fayetteville, NC.  She was also given the honorary commission of Colonel in the USMC.)

Some things were left out of the final book that were in earlier manuscripts.  The typical foul language and drinking was left out.  This, however, does not change the flavor of the book at all.  One might think Mr. Deaver is grasping at straws to make his case.  Dan was questioned as to why the men have turned against him and he says he has no idea.  Mr. Deaver questions why A 424 was never up to strength.  Dan says all units were understaffed and his men did the jobs of 2 or 3 men.  Mr. Deaver then went back to his Martha Raye argument and says she was never shot at, but can not prove it.  The letterhead Dan uses was then brought up.  Issue is made of how he addresses himself.  While it is very petty, it has nothing to do with the book.

     At almost 7 PM an impatient Judge asked Mr. Deaver how much longer he would be.  To which Mr. Deaver responded, "Another hour and a half."  The Judge advised him it would be a lot less, at which point court was adjourned until 9:00 a.m., Thursday.

 

Dan Marvin Trial Wraps Up

Wait and See

 

Fort Fairfield Journal | January 27, 2006  

 

By:  David Deschesne

 

The libel trial of Lieutenant Colonel Dan Marvin has concluded and is ready for closing arguments before it is sent to the jury.

   Col. Marvin told the Journal on Friday, January 27:  "I'd like to Thank my supporters for their continuing prayer, continuing moral as well as real support and your trust in our Lord to carry Kris and me thru this war against evil."

   Marvin will contact the Journal when the verdict is in.  "Prayerfully Tuesday at the latest, and hopefully the Lord will allow their deliberation to reach a decision by Monday," Marvin said.

    Still holding to his Faith, Col. Marvin is keeping an optimistic tone.  "The Fort Fairfield Journal, Kris Millegan, Barry Bachrach, Chris Obega, and Tim and Cheryl Bates have helped to make this a personally rewarding experience and, regardless of the outcome, a blessing from our Lord above."

 

NOT GUILTY!

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 KJV

 

Fort Fairfield Journal | January 31, 2006  

 

 

 

 

 

The defense in front of the U.S. District Court in Charleston, South CarolinaFrom Left:  Chris Ogiba, Lawyer; Barry Bachrach, Lawyer; Col. Marvin; Kris Millegan, Publisher.   photo/Tim Bates

 

 

By:  Tim Bates

          After 2 hours of deliberation, the jury came in with a verdict of “Not Guilty” on all counts against Col. Dan Marvin, author and Kris Millegan, publisher.  This vindicates Col. Marvin and his book.  The jury weighed the overwhelming evidence and said, basically, the book Expendable Elite is non-fiction.  This confirms what many of us who have read the book say; the men of camp A-424 in An Phu, Viet Nam are heroes and deserve a nation’s thanks for their service.

 

This trial has tested Col. Marvin and Kris Millegan to the very limits of endurance.  It has put an unbelievable financial burden on them but they trusted in the Lord first of all, and the system to find the truth.

 

          The jury listened to the material presented in court by both sides.  The men that served under Col. Marvin’s command during the time of the book testified that none of the events in the book were true.  To a man, they stated the statements they gave to Dan were “just stories” to spice up the book.  But when the jury listened to the audiocassette tapes the men sent to Dan, at every instance, they spoke of their good memory of what happened with words like “I remember” and “I recall”.  Many times they said to add things about the firefights, mortar attacks and heroism of the Hao Hoa people.  Time and time again the words on the tapes spoke of the closeness of the men and their dedication to the mission.  After the tapes were played the men would then swear under oath that all the statements on the tapes were fabrications.  The most saddening moment was when John Strait denied that Col. Marvin saved his life.  On the tapes, Mr. Strait spoke of how grateful he was that Col. Marvin “saved his a__”.  Dan had pulled John Strait into a trench as a mortar round hit just a few feet away.  Under oath he now denies it happened. 

 

          All through the trial Col. Marvin and Kris Millegan were dressed in suits and ties showing respect for the Federal Court.  Dan always had on service pins showing his pride in his military career.  All of the plaintiffs were dressed as though they were ready to go bowling.  They never dressed to acknowledge the Court or the judge.  Few of the plaintiffs wore anything that let you know these were career military men that had given most of their lives to protecting America.  It was sad that they did not find pride in letting America know that they purchased the freedom we have with their time and dedication.

 

          The many witnesses for the plaintiffs spoke of what was in the book.  A Judge Advocate General for the Army that commanded many military lawyers said some of the things in the book might have been illegal as far as military justice and international law is concerned.  On cross-examination by the defense attorney he admitted that independent missions sometimes work outside the law.  He also admitted, under oath, that rarely would a soldier “following orders” on a mission be prosecuted.  The JAG stated he knew of no soldier ever brought to trial in a case like this and because of the deniability of the orders, commanders would lie under oath and disavow any knowledge of the mission.  Several other witnesses were called that had little or nothing to do with the case or were even in Viet Nam at the time.

 

          It was very heartwarming to see a few loyal supporters stand by Dan and Kris throughout the entire ordeal.  A Special Forces soldier from another state came to see the trial because he had read about it in the paper.  He, too, had been on an independent mission in Southeast Asia.  His small group of men paid a very heavy price as many of them did not come home.  He has never spoken of the mission in almost 40 years and said he never would.

 

          It is a fact that was brought out in court that the Special Forces Association financed the entire lawsuit against Col. Marvin and Mr. Millegan.  One of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Bobby Deaver, incorporated the Association.  One can only wonder why this association would get involved in a personal legal battle that has nothing to do with a fraternal organization.  I wonder how many members know how much of their dues went to fund this fight.  The letters from the Special Forces Association to Kris Millegan stated they, SFA, had hard evidence to prove the book was nothing but lies.  We can only imagine if the evidence presented in court was all they had.  I also wonder if the members of the SFA agreed to the spending of their dues for this lawsuit that had to cost in excess of $100,000.  With the truth coming out in court, maybe the association will get the truth and decide to go in a new direction with new leadership.  I would hope Col. Marvin receives an apology in the SFA newsletter, “The Drop” but I won’t hold my breath.

 

There is one thing that must be said.  The men that served in An Phu are heroes.  The work that they did in befriending the local people was above and beyond the call of duty.  The civic action that was performed was unbelievable.  From building infirmaries and schools to health care and defending the area, every man did more than was thought possible.  The battles they fought, when outnumbered, would cause most to run in fear.  Anyone saying they would be that brave is speaking from inexperience.  No one knows the courage they will have in a situation like these men faced.  But then, to make a career in the Special Forces, knowing you are volunteering to do it again and again is more than I would be able to face.  I salute the men of camp A-424 that served in An Phu.  You are truly heroes.  Our country thanks you.  Be proud of what you have done and speak the truth.

 

 

 

“I have read the book

Expendable Elite and have found not one case of libelous content or

defamation of character

toward any of LTC Marvin's men or those around him at the time.”

-David Deschesne,

Editor/Publisher,

  Fort Fairfield Journal

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