The ordinary took on the extraordinary during what began as a routine day in the 6th Special Forces Group cantonment area at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As the Group S-4 I supervised the logistical support of our 1200 unconventional warriors, whether they were in training at or near Fort Bragg or operating around-the-globe as small teams of Green Berets assisting other nations in counter-guerrilla, anti-terrorist, civic action or psychological warfare activities.
Shortly after lunch I was summoned to our headquarters where Colonel C. W. Patten told me that a ‘Company man’ was waiting in the nearby pine trees to meet with me. Though Colonel Patten was my commanding officer, he had no idea what it was about, familiar only with the fact our visitor was looking for a ‘volunteer.’
“Its the way the ‘game’ is played,” I thought to myself, all the while feeling the beginnings of an adrenaline surge, that shot of extra strength and endurance needed to get me through impossible situations. My mind conjured up wild thoughts about the yet unknown: what sort of intrigue might be in store for the ‘volunteer’ he was seeking? Only too soon I would learn what I thought at the time to be too much. I now thank God for what I learned in that moment of truth from a CIA Operative searching for a volunteer that would open a door to unlock part of the mystery surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the untimely demise of those who would open the can of worms that surrounded the conspiracy cover-up.
Perhaps a hundred yards into the wooded area behind Group headquarters a slender man of about 5’10” waited. Dressed casually in short sleeves, light slacks and sunglasses appropriate for the August heat, he flashed his ID, shook my hand and spoke to me in a low and steady voice, asking if I would terminate a man who was preparing to give States secrets to the enemy — a would-be traitor? Not only was I an overzealous patriot at the time, I was trained in assassination techniques and told that I could be asked to volunteer for such a mission outside the United States. Performing that type of mission ‘outside the US’ was a crucial factor in our ‘understanding.’ Along with the others undergoing the same type of training, I was led to believe that the ‘resources’ of the Mafia were to be drawn on by the CIA via an ‘arrangement’ with them for the fulfillment of Stateside contracts. I was unaware of any rift that had developed between family Dons and the CIA hierarchy. I assumed the ‘hit’ would be overseas as I was on special orders to report to the 5th Special Forces in South Vietnam some four months hence. Without hesitation I said “sure,” thinking that once I was in Vietnam I could easily be flown via CIA owned Southern Air Transport to wherever my ‘target’ happened to be at that time. Once I had accomplished my mission I would return to 5th Group as arranged by the agent in charge, who would be the only one knowing where I’d been or what I’d done.
It was then told to me that it was Lieutenant Commander William Bruce Pitzer whom they wanted “taken care of” before his retirement at Bethesda Naval Hospital. I refused because it was to be done in the United States. As I left, the agent went on to meet at least one other Green Beret officer that afternoon, perhaps finding a volunteer to do his bidding: LCDR William Bruce Pitzer was found shot dead in his office on 29 October 1966, victim of an assassination conspiracy, shot down in cold blood before he could show the world what he knew about the JFK assassination.
Next week… Part Four: Smoking Gun — The Pitzer File
(Prelude to a forthcoming book in the SPECIAL OPERATIONS series)