WHAT A LONG, STRANGE TRIP IT'S BEEN...
I grew up in Los Angeles and Miami where, in what has proven to be one of life's little ironies, my high school mascot was a Crusader. At the time I could not have begun to see the relevance of that to a life that would take me through Israel, the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Today I find myself with a Juris Doctorate degree, a TS/SCI clearance and over 20 years of experience in the emergency prep/response and homeland security arenas. I have worked in Israel, across Western and Eastern Europe, Africa, the Far East as well as Central and South America and have provided intelligence and counterterrorism support for US Special Operations in the Middle East and Central Asia. I had the unique opportunity to serve the GRA Special Programs division during their role in rescuing hostages caught in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
Along the way I've been called on to appear as an expert witness before various legislative bodies, such as the California General Assembly, on terrorism and public safety related topics. Commissioned as a Virginia law enforcement officer, I served as a Captain at the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad police department in support of that agency’s emergency response team, and served four years on a Washington DC area Special Operations Hazmat Response Team.
The long, strange odyssey that has been life thus far has been marked by some unusual milestones; time in the Nicaraguan jungle with Eden "Commandante Zero" Pastora and learning the word culebra the hard way; watching the testing of Soviet submarine propellor designs at a hydrodynamics lab in Bulgaria; or crossing into North Korea through landmined tunnels some thirty stories below the DMZ. In his biography, Hazardous Duty, Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub, tells a story about my solving an urgent problem by commandeering Washington DC's National Airport on little more than personal chutzpah; I wouldn't recommend trying that little stunt today.
As hobbies go, my two great loves in life are fast cars and high powered rifles. The first one started in high school with building out a '68 Camaro to some 490 horsepower. The ultimate moment for my love of speed was attending the Skip Barber F1 racing school at Laguna Seca racetrack and experiencing the white-knuckle sensation of sliding into the Andretti Hairpin at 110mph on the hairy edge of your braking ability.
The love of rifles took me to places like the sniper school at Storm Mountain Training Center, one of the nation's premier long-range training facilities. There is nothing like hearing the spang of a bullet hitting a steel silhouette some 950 yards away. Not long ago I took a group of friends out ringing a 10-inch gong at a thousand yards. For a long time I had pursued the dream of joining a small group of shooters who had made a one-mile shot. In Oct of 2014 I went to the beautiful BangSteel range in southern Virginia and realized that goal with two shots on a steel gong at 1820 yards - that is a mile plus a football field. Looks like the new goal is two kilometers!
As true highlights of a life go, I had the unbelievable fortune to meet my two great heroes, John Wayne and President Ronald Reagan. They don't make Americans like that any more.
When not off in in some odd corner of the world I can be found hiking the Shenandoah Valley in the company of my best friend, a 110 pound German Shepherd named Shogun.
This may seem like a lot for one lifetime, I suppose it helps not to sleep much. But I have often started something new being told it was impossible. To those who share this crazy tendency to go hunting for dragons, I share this belief...
Impossible is a big word casually tossed about by small people.
Impossible is the excuse of lesser minds who find it
easier to live in the world they've been given
than to explore new worlds of their own.
Impossible is not a fact, it is an opinion.
Impossible is not a law... it's a dare.