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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.


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By: LTC Dan Marvin (Ret.)

Guest Editorial for Fort Fairfield Journal, January 4, 2006


    Immediately after commanding the memorial tribute at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, in honor of President John F. Kennedy on the day he was assassinated, and knowing how much my best friend, Green Beret SFC Gerard V. Parmentier (KIA in April 1967 in SVN) admired the just slain President, I volunteered for Special Forces. 


In the Spring of 1964 I attended SF Officer's training at their Smoke Bomb Hill training center at Fort Bragg, NC. When the instructors began discussing covert operations they told us how they were "compartmentalized" with regard to chain of command so that the mission itself could readily be denied if need be. In particular; assassinations, terrorism and sabotage were covert operations using all volunteers, with no documentation, always compartmentalized and highly classified. Significant also was the fact that covert operations need not concern themselves with the Geneva Conventions, International Law, International Human Rights Treaties or any other regulation or ruling entity to answer to. "You will be on your own to do what is necessary to get the job done" was a typical briefing opener. 


Torture was something used to loosen tongues, understanding that torture may get you answers that the person being tortured thinks you want so you will quit the torture. My own feeling at the time I was in a position as the commander of SF Detachment A-424 with an Independent Operation (An Phu, South Vietnam 27 Dec 65 thru 2 Aug 66) was that the prelude to physical torture to captured men or women included a warning that any effort on the person's part to give false information to satisfy the need to provide the interrogator with what he or she thought they wanted to hear would result in an end to their life. If you know what you are doing and if the enemy is convinced that you are in complete control he or she will give you the "straight scoop" as I put it. I used electricity in my camp to loosen tongues and, when I personally questioned the four female terrorists my CIDG (Civilian Irregular Defense Group) soldiers had captured near Khanh-Binh I had them (one at a time) strip to the waist and I would then press the wire leads against each breast and give her a shot of "juice." You can read about the (not in detail or as specific as what I just wrote) interrogation of those women in my book Expendable Elite - One Soldier's Journey Into Covert Warfare.  


During training at Fort Bragg we used electricity on each other so as to understand that technique. It was understood that the method of torture would be up to the senior Green Beret and, though I now believe that torture should not be utilized under any circumstance, I was ready, willing and able to use any method because that was the charge to me. 


I understand that no other Green Beret is going to back me on what I now report to the world - but what I write is the truth. In fact the Special Forces Association, apparently wanting to hide the truth of what really happens in covert operations, has brought together and financed from among their own men who served with me to sue me for the truth that they themselves corroborated on audio tape or in writing prior to the publication of the book, Expendable Elite. The trial is to resume in the Federal Courthouse in Charleston, SC on January 23, 2006. If you would like a signed copy of my book please send a check for $25.00 to LTC Daniel Marvin at P.O. Box 538, Cazenovia, NY 13035-0538 and let me know who you want the signed message made out to. 


Please write your Senators and your Congressman and demand that I be called to testify to what this is all about. Lets get the truth out in the world so we can clean up our military and our government. I have two grandsons in the military - one in Iraq and one in the airborne here in the US. I pray daily that they have good leadership above them and I pray that some day our White House has the caliber of President this nation deserves.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - that is what matters.


LTC Marvin lives in New York where he enjoys repairing antique furniture and writing a gardening column for his local paper. His book, Expendable Elite - One Soldier’s Journey into Covert Warfare” is now available at the Fort Fairfield Public Library or to order at 




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