Tuesday, April 20, 2010

15th Anniversary of Oklahoma City Bombing: Remembering McVeigh's U.S. Military Connections

Prior to being accused of involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing [of 15 years ago], former Sgt. McVeigh was in the U.S. Army between either 1988 or 1989 and 1992, fought in the 1991 "Kuwaitigate War" and was stationed at Fort Riley, near Junction City, Kansas. According to the Times (4/28/95) "before the bombing," McVeigh "was reportedly seen on the streets and in the bars, gasoline stations and motels of Junction City," next door to Fort Riley.

At McVeigh's initial hearing, FBI agent Hersley "testified that unnamed witnesses saw" McVeigh "bring a truck rented from a Ryder agency to the Dreamland Motel in Junction City...on April 17 [1995], and then saw him in the truck at 4 a.m. on April 18 [1995], 29 hours before the bomb exploded." But "a Pentagon spokesman...disputed a report that Army explosives might have been used in the bombing" in Oklahoma City. (NY Times 4/28/95)

The Buffalo News (4/23/95) noted that "records of McVeigh's military service with the First Infantry Division have been sealed...but fellow soldiers told the Associated Press that he served in the Gulf War as a Bradley vehicle gunner and a sergeant" and "Sgt. James Ives said McVeigh, eager to join the Army Special Forces, trained on his own time..." Sgt. Ives also told the NY Times (4/23/95) that former Sgt. McVeigh "was a good soldier" and "if he was given a mission and target, `it's gone.'"

At McVeigh's initial hearing, FBI agent Hersley testified "that three witnesses who had claimed to have seen a man lingering outside," the Oklahoma City federal building "minutes before the bombing on April 19 [1995] were unable to identify Mr. McVeigh at a lineup."

(Downtown 5/17/95)

The grand jury that's supposed to be investigating who actually ordered the Oklahoma City bombing in April [1995] apparently met "in private at the heavily secured Tinker Air Force Base outside Oklahoma City" and "witnesses" were "accompanied by FBI agents on flights to Oklahoma" and "escorted 24 hours-a-day by federal agents," according to the Dallas Morning News (6/4/95). Prior to being accused of involvement in this bombing, former Sgt. McVeigh was apparently being considered by admission into the elite U.S. Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg.

According to Inside the Green Berets: The First Thirty Years, by Charles Simpson III, "a certain aura of secrecy surrounded the early days of Special Forces, both based on its mission and the identity of the troops" during the 1950s and "little or no publicity was permitted." The same book also recalled that, within the U.S. Army's Special Forces team, "the demolitionists acquired special techniques of conserving explosives and concocting homemade explosives and detonators from locally procured materials."

In addition, the demolitionists of the U.S. Special Forces "learn to make booby traps and sabotage motors," "visited hydroelectric plants, factories, transofrmer stations, and rail yards to learn to recognize critical points for quick knockout blos" and "learned to derail a trian anda to rig a desk drawer to blow up when opened."

(Downtown 6/14/95)

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