For ease of reading, the above clipping has been retyped, below.
MacDill Special Forces chief installed
By Brian Edwards
Tampa Tribune Staff Writer
March 1, 1996
TAMPA--The general who led US forces overseeing the return of democracy to Haiti assumed command Thursday of the nation's elite Special Forces headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base.
In a soggy ceremony filled with military pomp and pageantry, Gen. H. Hugh Shelton replaced retiring Gen. Wayne Downing as commander in chief of US Special Operations Command. Shelton becomes the fourth leader of the command since it was formed in April, 1987.
Downing, who spent the last three years as head of Special Operations, retired from a decorated military career that began at West Point in 1958. The Vietnam veteran directed Special Forces during Operation Just Cause in Panama and led a task force during Operation Desert Storm.
Defense Secretary William Perry and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. John Shalikashvili presided over the change of command Thursday. The ceremony dates to 1775 when George Washington took over the Massachusetts militia from Gen. Artemas Ward.
Despite the frequent showers, more than 400 military and local officials watched as Perry transferred the Special Operations flag from Downing to Shelton. Even Ross Perot showed up to bid Downing farewell. Perot has been a longtime supporter of special operations forces.
"These guys do leap over tall buildings when they have to," said Perot.
Perry and Shalikashvili heaped praise on the two generals, who have been in the middle of the military's most important missions recently. "He's just the man to build on the legacy of Gen. Downing," Shalikashvili said of Shelton.
Shelton was preparing plans to invade Haiti and had the planes in the air in 1994 when negotiations rendered the invasion unnecessary, Shalikashvili said. The general didn't miss a beat when his invasion force had to transform itself into a peacekeeping force in a matter of hours, Shalikashvili said.
The Special Forces call themselves "quiet professionals" because few people know much about what they do. The 46,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen in the Special Forces make up less than 2 percent of the Department of Defense. YET THEY AVERAGED 280 MISSIONS A WEEK LAST YEAR IN 137 COUNTRIES (emphasis added). Special Forces include a variety of operations from small, strategic military attacks to combating terrorism.
In addition to Haiti, Special Forces have been involved in Somalia, Turkey, Iraq, Bangladesh, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Peru and Ecuador. The forces are coordinating efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina among the 32 countries involved in the humanitarian mission.
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Many people who distrust the mainstream media have turned to alternate news sources, some of which are Internet based. Unfortunately, many of these alternate sources of news simply promote an alternate series of lies. These alternate lies are of course dressed up as "exposés." But you can easily tell the phonies from the real thing. The information in the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum is an acid test.
Does your news source promote Mike McNulty's video, Waco: The Rules of Engagement or wring its hands because the Davidian law suit against the government failed? (See Waco Documentary Is A Hoax! and Waco Suits for Waco Suckers.) Does your alternate news source carry promotional pieces about rebuilding the Davidian church in Waco and mouth nice words about "healing"? (See The Cover-up Church.)
Remember, since ancient times, inquiries into questionable deaths have started with the bodies of the victims. If your news source won't give you an honest and full account of the forensic information on Waco, or if it does not have a link to the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum ... your alternate news has failed a fundamental acid test.
All original material is copyright 1996-2000 by Carol A. Valentine,
on loan to Public Action, Inc.
Postal Address: Carol A. Valentine, PO Box 10933, Burke, VA 22009
This page last updated February 28, 2001.