HALL OF SHAME (You be the judge!)
(Toll also later began telling journalists and claiming on computer bulleting boards that he had been on secret reconnaissance missions as a member of the elite covert operations branch of the American military in Vietnam, MACV-SOG, and had served as an intelligence officer at the American embassy in Bangkok. (67) )-Extracted from 'Quoted from pages 287 - 291, Inside Hanoi's Secret Archives below"
Berry history seems to have been with a circus as a traipse artist and had the screen name of SOG35. In one chat room he told of being with SOG and on one mission, he's on a helicopter skids hanging from his knees upside down and the chopper swung down into the jungle and he pulled "Frenchie" out of a fierce fire fight with both dangling under the chopper. Bill Waugh, myself, and several others confronted him. He threatened us by telling us he was going to turn us into his "Secret Service" buddies. Soon after his screen name got deleted.
Subj: Barry Toll Date: 7/31/01 11:35:04 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: email@example.com (frank greco)
I just got Barry Allen Toll's (only one on file) military history record under FOIA. It, of course, shows no SF or SOA assignments but does disclose that he served with Co C 2d Bn 35th Inf Div FEPA-RVN as a LRRP Team Leader (11B20) from 9/11/68 to 1/09/69 when he becomes a patient at MHD USAH Cp Zama Japan and is then put on Reserve status from 1/27/69 to 4/25/69 when he reenters active duty and leaves active duty again on 8/15/75. He arrived in Vietnam in 3/26/68 and was assigned to the above unit as an Indirect Fire Crewman (11C10) until he became a LRRP. His training record shows that he attended pre-Recondo and Recondo school but it does not say where or when. Under "Decorations and Awards" it shows, among other things, a CIB but no awards for Valor, Purple Heart. or Air Medal but it does show an Aircraft Crewman Badge.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer also requested his records and by now they have gotten the bad news.
I hope the above is of interest to his many fans. One of the results of the announcement on your board about my looking for material for my book on CCC was that several people suggested I get in touch with Mr. Toll. I reviewed material by and about him on various websites and he failed the sniff test pretty quickly.
have to make a correction to the Barry Toll info I sent you earlier. I was one line off and the record actually reads that he was a "Team Ldr LRRP" with "HHC 3d Bde 4th Inf Div" from 9/11/68 through 1/09/69. Gotta get new reading glasses.
Hope this helps,
You need to get a new life, and stop trying to impersonate the guys who ran operations for SOG. I spent from 1967 to 1969 running from FOB1 and FOB2, later to become CCN and CCC. You have thrown a lot of names around, and I know these warriors, some of them very well. I have forwarded your asinine accusations to them, and each and every one of them that knew you said you were full of shit, and a puke, who couldn't even pull guard duty right at the relay site.
Therefore, you really need to get with the program and also, out of courtesy of those of us who spent most of our careers in Special Forces and worked for SOG, remove the SOG from your email address, and stop attempting to be someone you are not, nor ever will be qualified to be. BTW, I was a Master Sergeant when I was running recon out of Phu Bai and Kontum.........................Ringo
Mac has been telling me about this guy that claims to have been in SOG, that evidently has stirred the body public into a fervor of righteous indignation. You need to put me on the mailing list, I could never resist a good fight.
These pitiful creatures who try to steal our heritage and claim to come from the same lineage deserve to be cast into the harsh light of the truth so that they can start the healing process. They and most civilians do not understand our pride and our brotherhood because they have never had to stand in the crucible and find where their heart is.
You know the ancient Danes had a group called the House Thralls, those who guarded the King and the JKingdom. To falsely claim to be a Thrall was a adjudged to be a sin that required having ones tongue cut out and face branded with the rune of Loki. that of the Liar and Trickster, then banished from the land . Any who gave succor to he with this mark were adjudged as guilty also.
Nick Brokhausen; RT HABU
HERE'S A LETTER FROM BERRY TOLL TO JIM RINGLAND:
From: SOG35LRRP@compuserve.com (Barry Toll)
To: CCNCCC@aol.com (INTERNET:CCNCCC@aol.com)
"You need to get a new life, and stop trying to impersonate the guys who ran operations for SOG. I spent from 1967 to 1969 running from FOB1 and FOB2, later to become CCN and CCC. You have thrown a lot of names around, and I know these warriors, some of them very well. I have forwarded your asinine accusations to them, and each and every one of them that knew you said you were full of shit, and a puke, who couldn't even pull guard duty right at the relay site."
Only a phony fucking asshole would send someone like me something like this. What you did do, is give me and mine a good laugh tonight...and I delight in the fact that assholes like you are so exacerbated by what reporters write about me in history, that you waste your time and dwell in anger and anguish so that you are compelled by your neurosis to write to me...never realizing that someone like me is merely amused at your obsession to contact someone you don't even know, and write such asinine trash to them.
It proves you have no class...no dignity...you have no character as a person. You're just another asshole who writes to people they don't even know to aggrandize yourself...you have no connection to my life, or my experiences...they don't write about you...you're just a lame asshole who thinks someone else really cares about what you think. Let me assure you, I don't. <g>
Now, go fuck yourself.
And understand that idiots and phonies like you, make me talk all the more louder in my life and I delight in it irritating you and those like you...see...you sold your integrity long ago because you're a political hack and syncophant...you have nothing but someone else's opinion to guide you in life.
You missed the point of your combat experience, if you ever had any, because to me you're just another asshole who writes unsolicted emails to people you don't even know...you're a gutless coward...it takes a gutless coward to write an email to someone you don't even know....like the one you wrote me.
I assure you, John Kedenburg and people like him, would spit in your face for what you've done. Because it is gutless. And it insults those of us who were for real in the war.
I enjoyed telling you off. <g>
It amuses me. <g>
Now, I've added your asshole name to my Email Shield list to delete before downloading so I'll never have to hear from you again. Meanwhile, I hope you waste lots of sleep gnashing your rotten teeth worrying about people like me who are for real.
Tell your little buddies on your websites I said, "Fuck You Assholes! I never saw a fuckin' one of you next to me in any firefight and I delight in you're wasting your time and lives worrying about what I say. It's precisely why I say what I say...to provoke punk assholes like you."
You can find me at my home in Hawaii...if you land on my island, where I've been for thirty-seven years, I'll make sure you have the worst time of your life since we're all good, ol' home boys here. Meanwhile I'll report you to the Secret Service as another punk idiot who wrote me trash emaill because I've served in three White Houses. And you're name will be added to another list as an aberrant jerk who writes people in government service nutty emails.
An asshole like you would last about two minutes in the company I keep. In prison they'd would have turned an idiot out like you into a punk for shooting his mouth off, in a New York minute. See, you shoot your mouth off to people you don't even know. Only a phony asshole does that. Real people don't say anything to assholes. They can't be provoked. Only assholes can be provoked.
You don't know ANYBODY I know. If you did, they'd tell you're an asshole and shut up.
You make me grin. <g>
I eat punks like you for lunch.
Robert, I also received a reply from "The Creep" (Toll). It read about like the one Jim got. One difference though - since he has been associated with "three", count'um, "three" White House administrations, and was forwarding my email to him to the Secret Service (he probably thinks those guys & gals worked for SOG also), I just forwarded his reply to the present White House. Hope it works for him!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ernie Acre)
Robert: I found the following links concerning Barry Toll. Check them out. I found myself shaking my head even more. Some of the guys on your list might want to see this. If the links don’t work, tell me, as this is unbelievable stuff.
http://www.miafacts.org/toll.html or click--> Barry Toll - More Tales
By Noe: Note: Mr. Toll now claims he was never in SOG, that's because we are bring heat on his ass, he now claims the newspapers, etc., made all that up, but wait, check out: Click--> Barry A. Toll Testimony or go to: http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/2527/tolltest.html
(This link furnished by Ernie)
Foreign Relations SubCommittee for Asian and Pacific Affairs Barry A. Toll - Transcript of Hearing 10-Feb-94 Sworn Transcript of Hearing (and certified with his corrections as submitted by Barry Toll) before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Chairman Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.) presiding, on February 8, 1994, in Washington.4th paragraph of that tesimony, he states:
"I will begin by telling you that my service in the United States Army began as a draftee, like most of my generation in 1967. And that in 1968, after heavy combat as an infantryman in Vietnam, I became a volunteer team leader of long range reconnaissance patrol missions, and then was detached and operated under the auspices of MACVSOG, the Studies and Observations Group, which of course, we now know contained and conducted America's most covert operations in Southeast Asia."
In a message dated 7/3/01 9:17:17 AM Eastern Daylight Time, SOG1RLNOE writes: << : SOG35LRRP@compuserve.com (Barry toll >> Toll states that he was not SOG. Strange that he would use SOG in His E-mail address.
In his story, he claims to be SOG and running SOG ops, now he's blaming the publisher for lying??
Berry Toll Story Continues
(Note: Got this in today from Berry, seems someone sent a letter to his editor saying they remembered Mr. Toll from Leghorn and being a pothead or something and he's responding to me for it--FYI I never got anything from his editor that he refers to in his email to me-Here he admits he was never SOG—RLNoe
From: SOG35LRRP@compuserve.com (Barry Toll)
>>"This sort of explains how Toll got some of his info. As a security guard at Leghorn he would have learned some of the things he talks about.
I was never on Leghorn. I was on Sledgehammer for 47 days. My unit and FOB 2 Op 35 jointly operated and conducted recce operations support from there for almost two years together. Anybody who was for real at FOB 2 will tell you that, and I note that Sherm Batman already has, and also told the paper FOB 2 had two 4th ID LRRPs who WERE NOT SF QUALIFIED OR AIRBORNE as FOB 2 one-zeroes during his time as a team leader at FOB 2.
No. I was not a "security guard" either. That is laughable! We do not send LRRP team leaders to be "security guards." That is absurd. Sledgehammer was always occupied by at least two 3rd Bde LRRPs of the 4th ID, two to three FOB 2 recce one-zeroes or one-ones, and occasionally some Omega or Sigma types from CCS, like Mike Bostic, who was up there when I was in 1968.
The paper has already told you that I never, ever, claimed to be assigned to SOG...I know they did, because they sent me copies of what they sent you. They printed the story and wrote it...I did not. I did not get to see what they were going to print, so it's their problem, not mine, got it?
I could not care less what you, or anybody else like you thinks. Frankly, you're a disgrace to the guys who I did know from FOB 2 and FOB 1 while serving with them, if this is the way you go around behaving to other recce team leaders along the tri-border in 1968...furthermore, you and those like you, don't even know the true history of SOG FOB 2, Op 35 during that time, or you would have known our two units jointly operated for years. So your ignorance is showing.
Now, I'm in Hawaii fishing with "Frenchy" where we both live most of the year and the big ahi are running, and frankly, we're laughing our asses off over this nonsense.
Good luck to you and your SOA buddies...I hope you find better ways to waste your time in the future. It just goes to show how ridiculous such associations are, when they don't even know the history of their supposed units...which is why I would never bother joining any of them, except those containing persons I actually know served in combat with me. Since I can't find Cunningham, Love, Tompkins, or any other of the SOG guys I remember who ACTUALLY ran teams, I'm not the slightest bit interested in joining with a bunch of mostly clerks and desk bound warriors nitpicking nonsense.
Now, I'm going fishing again! Have a nice time chasing esoterics and remember, I did not write the story and had just as many complaints as you did...except mine were delivered in a dispassionate voice...and keep in mind fella, unless I sent it to you directly, whatever is being said up wherever you waste your time on this, it didn't necessarily come from me...since anybody can say anything they want and claim I said it, and they do. So you're being hustled. Which tells me you ain't too smart.
Have a nice day.
More from Toll ref: Airborne & Puting a Pistol to the Pilot's Head
From: email@example.com (pmartin)
----- Original Message Forwarded-----
To: pmartin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>In re your "I was in SOG Aviation, can you tell me what unit it was that " Refused" to get your SOG men out?" The newspaper got that WRONG. It was not a SOG mission. It was a 3rd Bde LRRP, 4th ID mission on the Chu Pa massif, about six klicks south of the
Bolah in early September '68. Also, they over dramatized it...I did NOT point a handgun at the pilot's head at all....I merely pulled it out and placed it in ready position. The pilot DID NOT REFUSE TO GO BACK IN...the disagreement was over him wanting to stand off and let the gunships go back in and work the dinks some more, BEFORE going back in...we had taken hits on extraction.
But I could see "Frenchy" (whom the newspaper interviewed several times) E & Eing frantically on the ground, inside the treeline of the LZ and I thought it best to go right back in that moment and NOT WAIT for the guns to work the area again. So the pilot changed his mind and to his credit, went back in right away after one circle. The story was written up at the time in 1968 in Vietnam, in the official paper of the 4th ID..."The Ivy Leaf" and it appeared there first in, I believe, an Oct 12th issue...they have it at war-records.com...in the "records" section, "Section XVIII" or somesuch, labeled as "Toll Documents" under "Background - Read First" where they've jpged the Ivy Leaf original story.
I hope this clarifies it for you.
I am not responsible for what the newspaper wrote...they had the original story, and it is quite clear it is 4th Div LRRPs, NOT SOG, and the paper has printed that I made it very clear to them I was not ASSIGNED to SOG. They write what they want...I did not see the story before it was printed, EVER.
In my book and other short stories I've written, I've PRAISED the chopper pilot. Sometimes, newspapers, don't let facts get in the way of a good story, I guess. <g> It was too much detail to print the WHOLE story's episode to explain it fully.
The guy Toll is really a kook. Clown came in (drafted he says in 1967) and was running big time Recon in '68. He is not worth the effort of even a fleeting thought.
From: email@example.com (B. R. "Ray" Chambers)
Do not know who this guy (Berry Toll) is either.... Must be the brand of tobacco he smokes. While I was at Kontum all of 1968, and even when running on Team Hawaii and my team Nevada, Later as the Commo Guru.... I must state that I never did put any 4th Inf Div folks on Sledgehammer..... 4th Div was not authorized to comduct any type of missioon out of country..... Also, We did not use the word(s) OP35) in the area only the S-2/3..... Must be smoking what ever Capt Weird was using and he was not on Sledgehammer either.....Have a safe 4th
Chambers sends; "Path of a Warrior"
AND HERE IS ANOTHER ONE FROM MR TOLL!-----------------
From: SOG35LRRP@compuserve.com (Barry Toll)
3rd Bde LRRPs of the 4th Division (later, K Company, 75th Rangers) launched from all sorts of sites throughout 1968-69, including the following: Duc Co; Oasis; Plei Mrong; Polei Kleng; Plei Mrong; Kontum; and several others whose names I cannot recall...small firebases where we ran RR's from on temporary periods...Mostly, we launched from Duc Co, or Oasis during that period. The 3rd Bde LRRPs restricted area and TOC was at Oasis, then later in the year briefly, at a "jump CP" established by Colonel McClellan, the Bde Cmdr, at Plei Mrong during the offensive launched by the NVA in late Sept. '68.
Hope that answers your question.
We also jointly operated SOG's clandestine Mission Support Site (MSS) "Sledgehammer"....3rd Bde LRRPs/FOB 2/CCC/Op 35 MACV SOG, for almost two years, and closely coordinated our recce missions with them in a rather "unique" relationship in the tri-border "special tactical zone." (I believe the designation was "24th STZ." That is where what the paper has called "oversimplifications" occurred in the story, and the paper has now reported I always told them I was not assigned to SOG, but was a 4th Div LRRP.
I'm not responsible for what they wrote. Got it? As for your reference to "wannabe" ....I have nine contact missions as a LRRP team leader and major engagements as a grunt infantryman member of 2nd Platoon, C Company, 2nd Bn, 35th Infantry (the 4th Div's "reaction force") under my belt and I don't give a flying fuck what anybody thinks about them, or me from their armchair in front of their computer, thirty years later.
Have a nice day.
In a message dated 7/3/01 12:06:24 PM Eastern Daylight Time, SOG1RLNOE writes:
<< now he's blaming the publisher for lying??
sorta like telling a lie to get out of a lie. never worked for me when I was a kid.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Day)
I would like to thank you for the article on Barry Toll. It appears to be a genuine attempt to give recognition to what I believe to be a very deserving group of men. Even though it may sound self serving since I served with SOG for 19 months, I honestly believe the men I served with deserve all the credit that they get.
Unfortunately, Mr. Toll did not serve with SOG and the story that he told your reporter is very evident to a SOG veteran as false. The men that ran those clandestine missions 30 years ago did some amazing and outrageous things. Read John Plaster's "SOG" and you will get a better feel of what actually happened
I especially find the part about a helicopter crew willing to desert a team member as distasteful. Those crews considered any team they inserted as "their" team and many of them died trying to get "their" team out. We considered those helicopter crews as equals. We would have died for them and they us. That bond was proven far too many times.
If you need help in your investigation of Mr. Toll feel free to contact me. If you have a question I will answer it if I can and if I can't I will try to find you someone that can.
Thanks again for your efforts.
Jim Day; CCS 12/68-7/70; RT Rule
Entry #1: Berry Toll's Story
|The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio
Path of the Warrior
By MICHAEL HEATON
1968. Barry Toll hunkers down on the jungle floor in the tri-border area where Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam meet at the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The heat, humidity, vegetation and variety of animal life make for a kaleidoscopic sensory experience. The dense mountain rain forest is one of the world's most beautiful - and harshest - environments.
Toll, code-named "Circus" for his years performing on the high wire with the Great Wallendas, is a sergeant, 4th Infantry Division LRRP/K Co.75th Army Rangers. He wears a black bandanna in place of a helmet, and his fatigues bear no patches, markings or other identification. His pack, supplies and weaponry are foreign issue and untraceable. Only the whites of his eyes show through the olive green-and-black waterproof camouflage grease that covers his face.
Toll is a team leader for what the Central Intelligence Agency likes to call the "Studies and Observation Group." Its real name is Special Operations Group (SOG), a Joint Service/CIA military outfit designed for covert and clandestine activities. The Special Op directives in Cambodia and Laos include collecting intelligence on enemy numbers and location, destroying munitions, snatching North Vietnamese Army (NVA) officers, planting sensory devices and "neutralizing" as many of the enemy as possible. Its mission is "to gather strategic intelligence for the president."
Beginning with John Kennedy in 1962, SOG border intrusions are under direct authority of the president of the United States. The top-secret activities of SOG are unknown to all but the highest government, military and intelligence officials. The soldiers have signed a written agreement: If killed or captured, the U.S. government will deny knowledge of their existence. Toll and his comrades are on the front lines of a secret and illegal war.
The NVA is, however, well-aware of the guerrilla force. They call them "men with painted faces." While the North Vietnamese both fear and respect them, they also are eager to capture or kill them. Each dead SOG member has a $10,000 piaster price on his head. Caught alive each brings $100,000 piasters. The average annual income in Vietnam is $300 piasters. SOG operatives are like walking winning lottery tickets.
The dangers of war aside, the jungles of Southeast Asia offer myriad forms of disease and death. The ecosystem is like a churning organ, a relentless, grinding and insatiable tropical maw. Life feeds on death.
Toll has four days of enemy surveillance just 3 kilometers from the Ho Chi Minh trail in Cambodia to inventory the possible forms of his demise.
He is here with two other SOG members, Frenchie and Adair, as well as two Montagnards, Rhoi and Jac, members of a separatist mountain tribe that has fought the Vietnamese for generations. The CIA employs them for special operations. The team's very presence violates international law.
Toll's dedication to the Eastern philosophy of Taoism serves him well on the long nights in the jungle. He meditates, practicing kundalini and hatha yoga hours each day when off watch, mentally and rhythmically repeating his mantra until his mind empties of all superfluous thoughts while maintaining hyper-mental alertness.
Movement could draw the attention of the North Vietnamese, and a battalion could be as close as 20 feet away. Swatting bugs is not a good idea. Yet the mosquitoes carry the threat of malaria, strains of which defy Western medicine. Then there's amebic dysentery, which can easily kill a man inside of 10 days. There's dengue fever, bubonic plague and gangrenous jungle rot, a danger with every boil, blister and scrape. The leeches in the jungle are attracted to the smell of salt and ammonia in human urine. To keep them at bay, the SOG team wears condoms at all times. They can't apply insect repellent: The chemical smell could alert the NVA to their whereabouts.
In fact, 48 hours before every mission all LRRPs (Lurps), the acronym for men on Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol, cease eating anything other than indigenous foods, mostly rice and dried fish. They quit drinking alcohol or bathing with soap or using toiletries, lest the smells give them away. Conversely, when the wind is right, a Lurp can smell the Vietnamese, who spend much of their time in tunnels where cooking fires smolder. A whiff of stale smoke will cause the hairs on the back of a Lurp's neck to stand up.
The scene is nightmarish.
Eastern philosophy teaches that the most direct path to enlightenment is through prolonged exposure to imminent death. But first, says Toll, you must survive. Then, you have to emerge from the experience sane. Toll likens these missions to dangling his legs over the edge of the abyss and gazing in.
In the course of 24 hours, Toll encounters an ark's worth of wild animals. Snakes are everywhere. An 18-foot python slithers by. Cobras and banded kraits, two of the world's deadliest snakes, are common in the jungle. Cobras mate for life and travel in pairs; when Toll sees one, he makes a mental note to keep an eye out for the other. Later in the day, a full-grown 400-pound tiger prowls by. The tiger, upwind, doesn't smell him. Toll wonders if he's hunkered down in the tiger's hunting grounds and if the cat will be back later that night looking for a snack. He can hear the monkeys chatter in the trees as a monitor lizard the size of a small dog lumbers by.
The teachings of Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism, are close to Toll's heart here in the jungle. He thinks of the saying from the Tao Te Ching, Taoism's most sacred book: "Those who know how to live can walk abroad without fear of the rhinoceros or the tiger. They can enter battle without being wounded. Why is this? Because they are beyond death."
There is no talking on the four-day range patrol mission. All communication is by hand signals. Sleep is at a minimum.
Government-issued amphetamines fuel them on five-mile-long hikes over hilly terrain toward the interior and throughout the mission. Each SOG member is an expert, trained in at least two military disciplines and cross-trained in each other's specialties. Adair is a radio tech and medic. Frenchie is an expert in explosives and languages. Rhoi knows geography and maps. On this mission, Toll's team is trying to locate NVA headquarters by monitoring troop movements. The information will be used later to launch massive B-52 air raids.
It takes great self-control to sit in the same location for days at a time without being detected. During the long nights in the black jungle, Toll, wired on Dexedrine, takes his mind off snakes, leeches and mortar fire by thinking of home, his wife, Mary, infant daughter Loretta, and strawberry banana splits.
He recalls growing up in Cleveland: His buddies back in the old Collinwood neighborhood, playing baseball, going to Indians games at Municipal Stadium, collecting baseball cards and player autographs. He remembers his family's move to St. Petersburg, Florida, after his dad, a union official at Addressograph Multigraph in Cleveland, died. There were hours spent in the St. Petersburg library reading everything they had, especially books on Eastern thought and religion. Toll was the only 14-year-old Taoist in St. Pete who had read the entire Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, both sacred books in Taoism. There were afternoons boating and fishing with friends, most of whom were transplants from other Northern cities, and a bit on the wild side for the likes of the then-sleepy Florida town. Toll literally learned the ropes and the trapeze at the St. Petersburg Youth Circus. It was a taste of show business, and he liked it. He was very good on the high wire, and when the Wallendas found themselves short a performer, they called Toll. He ran away to join the traveling troupe. He was 16.
Toll remembers being drafted just when everything was going so well. He was 19, leaving the Wallendas and heading to New York to pursue an acting career when FBI agents came knocking at the door of his mother's house in St. Petersburg, wanting to know why he hadn't registered for the draft. He thought about going to Canada, but his mother talked him out of it. "You will be a witness to history," she told him. She couldn't have known how prescient those words would be.
1967. The Army puts Toll through a battery of intelligence testing, and the high school dropout scores high enough to qualify as a third-year college student. An instructor tells him his I.Q. is 182. He's classified "rare and unusual" and is recommended for training as an intelligence analyst.
Instead, the Army decides it needs fodder. He is shipped off to Fort Polk, Louisiana, for training at a place called Tigerland. It means only one thing: The jungle. He is headed for Vietnam.
In March 1968, with the Tet Offensive raging, Toll takes his place on the field of battle at Dak To: 105 Americans are trying to take a hill in the Central Highlands against 365 NVA. It is a protracted, vicious, bloody firefight that lasts five days. Chaos reigns. When it's over, American soldiers - the 23 still alive - own the hill. Toll is the first American to reach the top.
Back at home, Lyndon B. Johnson announces he will not seek re-election. He halts the bombing of North Vietnam and publicly calls for peace talks. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis. His death brings about rioting in 130 American cities.
After three battles, Toll realizes if enemy fire doesn't kill him, the lack of U.S. Army coordination on the battlefield will. He wants more control over his future, whatever it takes. He volunteers for Lurp training, an intense month of physical and mental conditioning: A seven-mile run wearing a 30-pound pack in the morning, 18 hours of classroom instructions, then seven-mile run wearing a 30-pound pack in the morning, 18 hours of classroom instruction, then another seven-mile run before turning in. The course has a 65 percent washout rate.
As the sun rises over the triple-canopied jungle ceiling, Toll is mentally recounting his past SOG and Lurp missions. This will be his ninth, he thinks, but quickly snaps out of his reverie. Less than 50 feet away he sees enemy troops patrolling. He alerts his team with a low wave as he prepares them for possible escape, evasion and extraction. The sounds of birds and bugs become deafening. A plan is in place should the team be compromised. They have planted a variety of explosive devices in an arc 30 feet out on the perimeter of their encampment. There are tripwires, toe-poppers and Claymore mines.
The tripwires set off grenades, the toe-poppers will blow the toes off a foot, and the Claymores will spray 750 large ball bearings straight ahead for 150 feet like a shotgun blast. The explosion is capable of cutting a dozen men in half. Minutes later, an unlucky North Vietnamese soldier moves too close to the SOG team and a trip-wired grenade takes him out with a concussive blast.
It's time to move. Fast. Toll quickly radios the location of a landing zone a mile away where the team will meet a chopper. The escape drill has the team leaving in single file. The men peel back. The point man, the Montagnard Rhoi, unloads two clips of bullets from his AK-47. Then Frenchie stops, tosses a grenade and puts down some short fuse mines to discourage pursuers. Adair and the other Montagnard do the same. The team leaves an array of explosive hardware in its wake.
At the landing zone, a helicopter swoops in under fire. In minutes, the team boards, and the chopper begins to lift when Toll notices Frenchie is missing. He looks down and sees him waving in the clearing. He was pinned down during the retreat. NVA troops are arriving at the treeline and laying down heavy fire.
Toll tells the pilot to land again. The pilot shakes his head "no" as the chopper takes some heavy dings from the groundfire. Toll pulls his side arm, a Browning highpowered 9mm, and points it at the pilot's head. "Take it down." After some quick and heated negotiations, the pilot agrees to take a low pass at Frenchie. Toll has two men hold him by his ankles as he hangs from the helicopter. Frenchie sees him coming and leaps off a tree stump up into the two-handed trapeze grip. Toll swings him into the bird while bullets fly on all sides.
Mission accomplished. No one dead. No one left behind. Enemy regiment located. Frenchie turns to the pilot, grinning like a madman, and says, "That's why they call him Circus. N'est pas?'"
Tonight, there will be a party back at the base. Dope and booze and prostitutes. SOG/Lurp members are not subject to Army regulations. They even carry get-out-of-jail-free cards signed by General William Westmoreland. The cards instruct military police not to detain them.
Two weeks later, on the night before his next mission, Toll awakens with a 106-degree fever. After going in and out of consciousness, he is put in a metal container and packed with ice. He begins convulsing and, since his dog tags ID him as Catholic, he is given last rites as his men and the field commanders file in the hospital ward to bid him a warrior's farewell: Adair, Frenchie, Rhoi, Futrelle, Bartholomew, Hess, Wood, Loftus. They say prayers. There are no Taoist monks available. Not in the U.S. Army anyway.
Toll's team is told he will not live. Their mission is canceled and they are replaced by another SOG/Lurp team. A comatose Toll is medivaced to Zama Army Hospital in Tokyo, where he is treated for malaria and tropical jungle fevers of unknown origin.
To the hospital staff's surprise, Toll emerges from the coma after nine days. At 6 feet tall, he has wasted away from 180 to a mere 109 pounds.
He soon learns the SOG/Lurp team that replaced his - made up of some of his closest friends - was wiped out in a firefight two days after being "inserted" in Cambodia. After a month, Toll leaves the hospital. But even if Toll wanted to return to the jungle, he can't. The malaria could return. His days of active combat are over.
Barry Toll is going home.
1973. Toll is a staff sergeant in an elite unit assigned to the World Wide Military Command and Control Systems at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. During the past four years, Toll has been formally recognized as one of the Army's top-rated operations and intelligence specialists serving in a series of Joint Service staff positions dealing with highly classified information. His assignments have taken him to Hawaii, Europe and Asia. His team is one of five charged with around-the-clock duty to administer "doomsday" orders in the event of nuclear war. Toll jokingly describes the job as "practicing blowing up the world."
The team, led by a four-star admiral, is on three days, off seven. They monitor world events, often from a 707, poring over sensitive, high-level intelligence bulletins, maintaining a posture that prepares them to brief the president for a worst-case scenario. The early Seventies are troubled for American national security. Toll is behind the scenes at every juncture: The anti-war demonstrations at Kent State and Jackson State in Mississippi. The turmoil over the New York Times publication of the Pentagon Papers, the massive top-secret history of the illegal U.S. role in Indochina. The accusations of dirty tricks and sabotaging of political enemies at the Nixon White House that culminates in a "third-rate burglary" at the Watergate Hotel.
Internally, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are convinced that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger are operating their own secret agenda in Vietnam. Toll knows the "peace with honor" agreement Nixon signed in 1973 isn't worth the paper it's written on. Nixon's statement to the American people - "All our POWs are on their way home now" - is a lie. Toll and others in the loop know an estimated 350 Americans are still being held secretly in Laos. At least 75 of the missing are SOG associates.
The missing men are something Nixon and Kissinger desperately needed to conceal. The first Article of Impeachment pending before the House of Representatives alleged "Conduct of an illegal and unconstitutional war in Cambodia and Laos." Large numbers of American soldiers captured in Cambodia and Laos would be proof of an illegal war.
With the Watergate indictments of Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, former Attorney General John Mitchell and many Nixon Cabinet officers, the government is in disarray, and the Joint Chiefs are near mutinous.
One of Toll's duties is to keep track of who is in line to succeed the president. The almost constant round of musical chairs makes his job a nightmare. Nixon nominates the German-born Kissinger for secretary of state after William Rogers is forced to resign. In this poisoned climate, the Senate confirms Kissinger's nomination. Toll believes that Kissinger is being rewarded for sticking by Nixon while others fled, were fired, or went to jail.
Toll has come on duty after a two-week hiatus. It's October 6, 1973. His Doomsday Team is put on Presidential Alert. Sixteen hours after arriving at work, an alarm goes off in the Communications Center, and the team is notified that the Egyptian Army has crossed the Suez Canal. Only the United States and the Soviets know that Israel has nuclear capability.
Toll sees top-secret exchanges between Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir wherein she vows to use nukes against Egypt rather than surrender one inch of territory. The Soviets are threatening to supply Egypt with nukes as well. This is nuclear saber-rattling at its most alarming. It is the closest the United States has come to a nuclear war.
Nixon orders that Kissinger be added to the National Command Authority (NCA) succession list. The secretary of state is normally fourth in line for the presidency, preceded by the vice president, speaker of the House and president pro tem of the Senate. But Toll knows the Constitution provides that no American citizen can succeed to the presidency unless that person is a natural-born citizen of the United States. Toll alerts his super-visor, the battle staff commander, Colonel Wallace Crompton, a man he respects immensely.
Crompton, then the senior colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, is a legend, having risen to colonel from a Marine private. Toll knows Crompton was as disgusted as he was by the intelligence they were privy to. He told everyone within earshot that he would soon be resigning.
Vice President Agnew is preparing to resign over tax charges. Toll sees the message from the president ordering them to add Kissinger to the NCA. "Colonel, I cannot lawfully obey any National Command Authority order from Henry Kissinger, because he cannot constitutionally succeed to the presidency. I need to know what you are going to do about this, because I may not be able to perform my duties," Toll says.
Crompton, his face crimson in anger, tells Toll to assemble the battle staff team and get the NCA's 707 aircraft aloft.
After solemnly gathering the team 40,000 feet over the Atlantic, Crompton asks Toll to speak his mind before the staff. He does so in no uncertain terms. After murmurs of outrage from the other seven team members, Crompton instructs Toll to immediately query the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon as to the validity of the order and to copy the White House. The plane becomes library quiet. This is a national security showdown.
Toll sends the query. Landing at Langley some hours later, he's called into the Communications Center and told there is a phone call from a general officer in the National Military Command Center. To take the call, Toll steps into a top-secret secure "phone booth." Crompton and the others stand by, unable to hear Toll's words in the soundproof booth but able to see his intense, agitated responses.
As Toll emerges from the booth, an alarm sounds. For all they know, Israel has just nuked Cairo. The team is airborne in less than 90 seconds, heading out over the Atlantic, getting lost in the cover of a phantom flight profile of a commercial aircraft vectoring overseas to Europe.
In the air, after confirming that the nuclear crisis has passed for the moment, Toll reports that the general officer at the Pentagon had forwarded the challenge of Kissinger's authority to the White House. Chief of Staff Alexander Haig had responded: "I just talked to the Old Man [Nixon]," he said. "The list stands as issued."
The eight team members are silent. It occurs to Toll that he is standing where Lyndon Johnson was administered the presidential oath of office with Kennedy's blood-spattered widow at his side. A dozen feet behind Toll is the rear door from which Kennedy's casket emerged after that fateful day in Dallas. The plane's tail number is 26000. Back then it was known as Air Force One.
He thinks of these events, the long, drawn-out war in Vietnam and the effect it's had on American lives. How decisions each president made have dominoed down through the years to bizarre moments such as this.
Toll turns to Crompton. "Colonel, I need to know what you are going to do if we receive an order from Henry Kissinger because I cannot lawfully obey one from him regardless of what the president says." The colonel does not hesitate. Looking at each member of the president's nuclear control team, he says, "Barry, I'll tell the sonofabitch to go to hell."
Toll can't disguise his relief. "That's good enough for me, sir."
Toll heads back to the bunks in the rear compartment. A thousand images race through his mind. He is shaken, but resolved. He sits in a leather command chair and thinks about the ghost of Kennedy that hovers somewhere in this plane, the secret war Kennedy started and the men, his brothers-in-arms, who Nixon left behind in Laos.
Then he cries.
July 4, 1975. Toll has put in two years as a member of the Doomsday Team working for the White House. He shows up for his shift out of uniform. He's had enough. He shocks everyone with the words, "I can no longer perform my duties or wear the uniform in good conscience. I am going home and requesting immediate discharge."
Within minutes, the White House sends a Flash Override message around the world ordering the recision of the current secret codes and replacing them with new ones. The FBI, the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency convene for an emergency security damage-assessment meeting to decide what to do. They must have a plan in case Toll considers defecting. They also must have a plan should Toll go to the media to talk about the U.S. government's foreign policy.
Toll has no intentions of defecting, although he is outraged and angry at presidents and a government he sees hiding behind the guise of national security for its own political ends and, in the process, abandoning more than 350 American soldiers in Southeast Asia.
Toll the patriot has become Toll the outlaw. Nobody quits the military.
He doesn't care if he is put in the stockade. But if he is, he tells them, his first call won't be to a lawyer. It will be to syndicated columnist Jack Anderson or Sydney Schanberg of the New York Times. After a 45-day debriefing session, he heads home. He just wants to disappear. He is unaware that St. Petersburg is well on its way to becoming the marijuana smuggling capital of the United States. It's a great place to get lost.
In St. Pete, Toll hooks up with several high school buddies who are running a marijuana smuggling operation. He turns his back on a life of service in the highest echelons of national security.
Still bitter and disillusioned, he blames the treachery of Nixon and Kissinger for his abandonment of an otherwise exemplary military career and his current life of crime. He sees his turn to crime as payback for a morally bankrupt government. During that last horrific year of the Nixon presidency, everything was out of control. On at least three occasions, Toll's Doomsday Team received memos from Secretary of State Kissinger and other Cabinet officers to ignore all orders from the Oval Office until further notice. The implication was that Nixon was incapacitated. Toll assumed he was drunk. It was another indication of the profound instability of Nixon and his administration.
Toward the end of his time working for the government, Toll could no longer keep quiet about his feelings regarding the POWs and MIAs. He began illegally leaking information about SOG operations and consequent cover-ups regarding POWs and MIAs to Republican Representative Pete McCloskey of California. The congressman used the information during the McCloskey Hearings to determine what U.S. policy was in Southeast Asia.
The hearings led to the first article of impeachment regarding the "illegal and unconstitutional war in Cambodia and Laos." Toll's expertise in covert operations makes him popular with the South Florida smugglers. They are millionaires many times over from importing marijuana, but their hit-and-miss methods have more in common with Cheech and Chong movies than they do with anybody's idea of organized crime. Shipments are intercepted and smugglers are arrested.
Toll brings military discipline and a world of technical know-how to his friends' drug dealings. He teaches them how to sweep their homes and offices for listening devices. He instructs them on government methods of surveillance. He tells them how marijuana bales in South America are tracked by satellite until they arrive in the United States. He buys radio scanners that allow the smugglers to monitor the air waves, listening for federal frequencies that tell them which law enforcement agencies are active and where.
Toll uses mountains of illegal drug money to outfit a van with the latest communications intercept radio equipment. He helps the smugglers bug the feds. The vehicle becomes a mobile anti-arrest unit. He buys a Bell Ranger helicopter to spot Coast Guard cutters up and down the waterways on both the Atlantic and Gulf sides. He teaches smugglers how to ferret out and manipulate informants, detect wiretaps and spread misinformation. He shows them how to employ diversionary tactics, including "accidentally" sinking an old boat on the Atlantic coast when a big drug shipment is coming in on the Gulf.
Toll is paid with a percentage of profits from the increasingly successful operation. In less than four months he is a millionaire. Now able to finance his own operation, Toll recruits the best men from each group he was hired to help and forms his own organization. He is the embodiment of the "high life." He and some other smugglers form a rock 'n' roll production company to hide their assets and launder their cash.
When the IRS comes snooping, they fold the old company and start another under a new name. They book the Eagles, Loggins & Messina, Fleetwood Mac and other touring bands, including a local favorite, a guy named Jimmy Buffett.
Toll has a permanent all-access pass to money, drugs, Lear jets and limos. There isn't a party in the United States or Rio de Janeiro he can't get to in four hours or less. Since he can't report his cash, he spends it. His accountant estimates Toll spends $3,800 a day on sundry items, the best restaurants, most expensive clothes, gifts for friends and family, not to mention cars, boats and other big-ticket toys. He and his partners like to brag, describing themselves as people who "don't count money."
Toll quickly learns that crime, however profitable, does not pay. Maybe because it is so profitable.
Toll and his pals in St. Pete, now also into cocaine in a big way, are caught by the Drug Enforcement Agency when dealers roll over on distributors and distributors roll over on the smugglers. Toll is asleep in a Detroit Metro Airport motel room in Romulus, Michigan, where he'd gone to meet up with his drug partners. When the phone rings, no one is on the line. Toll knows it's the police calling to make sure he's there.
He quickly flushes his coke down the toilet and drops his Smith & Wesson .357-caliber Magnum down a heating duct just before police kick in his door. They drag Toll out of the room and cuff him, naked in the winter chill, to the second floor railing.
They don't find anything in the room, but it doesn't matter. An arrested associate cuts a deal and implicates Toll in a conspiracy to distribute drugs. There's no avoiding jail time, even though Toll hires the best lawyers money can buy. He's sentenced to seven years but serves only two. He's on strict parole for the remaining five.
On March 31, the night before he enters the world's largest walled prison, in Jackson, Michigan, Toll flies to Cleveland for the final night of the Eagles' Hotel California tour at the Richfield Coliseum. He goes backstage to say hello to the opening act, his old friend Jimmy Buffett. He celebrates his last night of freedom with the Eagles and Buffett. As the sun rises on April Fools' Day 1977, Toll drives to Jackson to surrender to prison authorities. Four months later, sitting in his prison cell, Toll hears a new, oddly catchy Caribbean-flavored song that seems to be playing on every radio station on the dial.
Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, But, I know, it's my own damn fault.
The song is Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. It could have been written for him.
1992. Toll can't believe what he's about to do this morning in Washington, D.C. He's in a suit and tie and has a fresh haircut. He's heading off to appear before the Senate Select Committee on POW and MIA Affairs. Reviewing the testimony he's about to give, he wonders what it will be like to have all five living presidents angry at him.
After his release from prison, he'd bounced around for a year, avoiding the feds who wanted him to testify against his former associates. By the fall of 1985, his marriage now history, he'd heard through the grapevine that it was safe to come home. Toll was completely free of the legal system for the first time since his arrest at that motel in Michigan in 1976.
Toll, still a follower of Taoism, begins his Sadhu period. Like one of India's hundreds of wandering yogis who live off alms as they seek to become one with God, Toll settles back in St. Petersburg and divests himself of all earthly belongings, seeking simplicity and spirituality.
He gives up all drugs and alcohol, and refrains from sex. Living off of his military pension, he resides in Florida and helps his mother and grandmother care for an invalid aunt.
Toll spends his free time studying American history, specifically military history and issues related to national security. He concentrates on how war changes men and the differences between the soldiers of World War II and Vietnam. He wants to understand why the war in Southeast Asia was so devastating for so many American soldiers. Toll believes Harry Truman was right when he said the two worst things he had ever done as president were signing the National Security Act and creating the CIA in 1947. His research confirms his belief that every president since Truman has systematically abused the Constitution under the guise of "national security." Toll believes that a license to lie to Congress and the American people represents the gravest threat to democracy.
After several years of extensive research, scholarship and personal exposure to presidential decision-making, Toll envisions himself a self-made academic. He acquaints himself with the Freedom of Information laws and masters the use of the Internet to find information. He finds an esoteric Military Forum chat room on CompuServe's network that intrigues him. Up to this point he's been avoiding the POW/MIA issue. While he knows most of the people involved are sincerely seeking the truth about relatives, he's also aware that mixed into the movement are kooks, wannabees and phony fund-raisers exploiting people's misery for profit.
It's increasingly difficult to ignore the families seeking closure regarding their loved ones. He knows if a credible investigation is begun, he will testify. 1989 begins happily when Toll finds a long-lost SOG mate, Mike Bartholomew. Their reunion is joyous, but "Bart" is clearly a troubled man, plagued with profoundly debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder since his combat days. Toll takes it upon himself to help his friend back into the flow of normal life. Toll knows "Bart" has the gift of perfect pitch and he tracks down a master piano tuner in Elyria, back in his home state, who agrees to take on Bartholomew as an apprentice. Things begin looking up for his war buddy.
At the onset of the Gulf War, Bartholomew becomes distraught. Despite Toll's assurances that this war will be nothing like Vietnam, Bart checks himself in for two weeks of therapy at the Brecksville VA Hospital.
On January 29, 1990, two weeks after the bombing of Baghdad has begun, Bartholomew, frightened and deeply disturbed, checks himself out of the hospital, drives to Lorain and walks into a gun store. He buys a shotgun and a box of shells, climbs into his van, loads the gun and fires it into his chest, killing himself instantly.
After hearing the news, a devastated Toll travels to Bart's mother's home in Newport News, Virginia. Toll tells Mrs. Bartholomew he's afraid his reunion with Bart stirred up old ghosts. She dismisses Toll's fears and thanks him for giving her son back for a year. She asks him to honor her son by making sure the American people find out the truth about Vietnam and the men who gave their lives there.
1990. Toll's phone begins ringing, and reams of unsolicited material begins arriving in the mail. His fax machine burns out, and his computer is flooded with e-mail. The messages are all requests from families trying to find out what happened to their sons, their husbands, their dads. Realizing he cannot address the thousands of requests piecemeal, he agrees to speak at a national convention in Washington, D.C. At the Willard Hotel, a stone's throw from the White House, he addresses a POW/MIA convention for the first time. He promises three years of time to the cause and talks about how SOG operated and why the White House misrepresented and underreported soldiers lost in Cambodia and Laos.
In June 1992, Toll appears before the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs headed by Senator John Kerrey of Massachusetts and Senator Robert Smith of New Hampshire. Toll gives his testimony in a sworn deposition about much of what he had witnessed while working as an intelligence specialist and Doomsday Team member for the Nixon White House.
He tells the committee it was the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. intelligence community that an estimated 350 U.S. POWs and MIAs were alive and were held captive in Laos in 1973 after the Peace Accords were signed and that President Richard Nixon had that information. Toll says that Nixon was given that analysis in intelligence briefings on several occasions. Toll also tells the committee that he was privy to information indicating POWs were transported from Laos and Cambodia to the Soviet Union and to the People's Republic of China.
"The truth must come out now," declares Toll.
The POW/MIA movement has discovered Barry Toll.
One month later, in a series of precise and carefully measured disclosures, he begins revealing what he knows on the CompuServe Military Forum. CompuServe Magazine publishes a feature story on Toll's experiences in Vietnam and as an intelligence specialist with access to sensitive secrets from the Nixon White House. In 90 days, the CompuServe Military Forum chat room membership grows from 4,000 to 38,000.
Toll is interviewed for print, radio and television, demanding the U.S. government come clean on the issue. His testimony generates more than 100 articles and columns written by writers with viewpoints as varied as the liberal Sydney Schanberg, formerly of the New York Times, and the conservative Robert Caldwell of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The POW/MIA Affairs Committee disbands in January 1993. The Senate Committee issues a report concluding that men were left behind. But the findings are obscured in the otherwise long and fuzzy document. The national press lets the story fade. Toll stresses all along to the families that the POW/MIA issue is not going to be won quickly or easily. Too many politicians and military and intelligence personnel have too much to lose by releasing documentation that would reveal the truth. Toll borrows a popular aphorism claiming there is little accurate history until 50 years after an event. Toll tells the families they have 30 years in Vietnam and the truth will surface completely in the next 20.
Midway during his three-year commitment to the POW/MIA cause, Toll's cousin, the accomplished cinematographer John Toll, visits him. John has worked on a number of successful Hollywood films, including Norma Rae, Urban Cowboy, The Falcon and the Snowman and Scarface.
For all his success, John Toll is not a happy man. He's grown tired of Hollywood "formula" movies. Toll advises him to win an Oscar before chucking it all. Toll has recently found solace in the writings of Joseph Campbell. From Campbell's philosophy Toll comes up with what he calls "The Plan."
Toll advises his cousin to shoot only films with a strong mythological base. Toll believes what the world wants now is redeeming mythology to revitalize the ideals of the young and reinvigorate the rest of society.
Reality, Toll says, is too discouraging.
The cinematographer listens to his cousin. He tells Toll if The Plan works, he'll owe him big.
Toll's commitment to the POW/MIA families is almost up. The effort lands him back in the White House. After years of presidents, Congress and executive agencies avoiding the truth by keeping the secret war in Southeast Asia classified, the POW/MIA buck has landed on President Clinton's door-step. It's a thorny issue. Even though none of it is Clinton's fault, the secret of men left behind carries with it a "kill the messenger" stigma should he decide to open the archives.
Clinton asks Toll to consult with National Security Adviser Anthony Lake on the continuing Vietnam conundrum. The POW/MIA issue still threatens the normalization of relations between the United States and Vietnam. In 1994, Toll, with the help of former CIA Director George Carver and General Eugene Tighe, chief head of intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency, present their findings on the POW/MIA issue for Lake. Toll's team reports the same facts of the war's hidden history. They are impossible to discredit. Toll's persistence pays off. Clinton, in an effort to appease the POW/MIA movement after lifting the trade embargo against Vietnam, issues an executive order for massive declassification of 3 million documents relating to Vietnam. It is as decisive a victory as Toll has ever seen for his work.
Toll retreats to Hawaii, knowing his service to his country is finally complete. He hopes Bart approves.
When not in Ohio (he has a home in Painesville), Barry Toll spends three or four months a year in his beloved Hawaii, mostly on the Garden Isle of Kauai. Here, he fishes with friends, prowling for the giant Ahi tuna and marlin that come up to feed from the 10,000-foot depths surrounding the Pacific paradise. He keeps a friend's restaurant on the island stocked with fresh catch.
But this day, he's at home in his beach-front stilt house watching a satellite feed of the Academy Awards. His cousin John wins his second Oscar for cinematography in two years. This time it is for Braveheart. The year before, it was for Legends of the Fall, a movie based on the Celtic myth of Tristan and Isolde.
The phone rings and Toll knows who it is. The Plan worked again.
Toll reminds himself to get going on his memoirs. John Toll has offered to direct the movie of Barry's life, tentatively titled Path of the Warrior.
Sunday Magazine staff writer Michael Heaton recently enjoyed reading Mark Bowden's modern war classic, "Black Hawk Down." He can be reached at 216-999-4569 or through email@example.com.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 216-999-4569
I just got Barry Allen Toll's (only one on file) military history
record under FOIA. It, of course, shows no SF or SOA assignments but does
disclose that he served with Co C 2d Bn 35th Inf Div FEPA-RVN as a "Team
Ldr LRRP" with "HHC 3d Bde 4th Inf Div" from 9/11/68 through 1/09/69
(11B20) when he becomes a patient at MHD USAH Cp Zama Japan and is then
put on Reserve status from 1/27/69 to 4/25/69 when he reenters active duty
and leaves active duty again on 8/15/75. He arrived in Vietnam in 3/26/68
and was assigned to the above unit as an Indirect Fire Crewman (11C10)
until he became a LRRP. His training record shows that he attended pre-Recondo
and Recondo school but it does not say where or when. Under "Decorations
and Awards" it shows, among other things, a CIB but no awards for Valor,
Purple Heart, or Air Medal but it does show an Aircraft Crewman
The Cleveland Plain Dealer also requested his records and by now they have gotten the bad news.
I hope the above is of interest to his many fans. One of the results of the announcement on your board about my looking for material for my book on CCC was that several people suggested I get in touch with Mr. Toll. I reviewed material by and about him on various websites and he failed the sniff test pretty quickly.
Hope this helps,
Stenographic Transcript of DEPOSITION Before the SELECT COMMITTEE ON POW/MIA AFFAIRS UNITED STATES SENATE December 1992 Washington, D.C.
On behalf of the Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs:
Q. Are you a veteran?
Q. Would you describe your military service.
Q. You served 20 years in the service?
Q. So when did you join?
Q. And you were in what service?
Q. And what was your military specialty?
Q. Were you in any particular special branch of any sort?
Q. How long were you special forces?
Q. What area were you in when you left in ?
Q. And your rank was?
Q. E7, which is what?
Q. Sergeant first class.
Q. Had you been stationed in Vietnam during the war at any time?
Q. When was that?
Q. Were you in Vietnam?
Q. And what were you doing in Thailand?
Q. Were you a medic there?
Q. Were you a medic in Vietnam?
Q. Have you been back to Vietnam? Was that the last time you were in
Q. Have you been back to Southeast Asia since then?
Q. Would you describe those circumstances.
A. Okay. I went to work as an independent contractor, working explosive
Q. That was a contract you worked on?
A. That was a contract. Until the middle of the summer, I went back for
Q. Okay. Help me build the chronology. You first went on ***** 1991.
Q. And how long did you stay?
Q. And then you came back home?
Q. And then you went back again?
Q. And you came back --
Q. Of 1992?
Q. So there's two periods.
Q. You said you had had military experiences in operations and
Q. As a part of the special forces training?
Q. Were you trained as an intelligence collector?
Q. Were you on medic when you were in?
Q. You went back in ***** 1991 for EOD-type work?
Q. Do you training in that?
And about when was that?
|P.O.W. Network Note: This document is edited from the
original by including and inserting a document submitted by Barry A. Toll
to the Senate Select Committee on November 22, 1992 titled:
CORRECTIONS, ADDITIONS, CLARIFICATION TO DEPOSITION ON 26 JUNE 92
Additions in this document are enclosed in [ ]
DEPOSITION OF BARRY A. TOLL
Deposition of Barry A. Toll, a witness herein, called for examination by counsel for the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, pursuant to notice, the witness having been duly sworn by Mark T. Egan, a Notary Public in and for the District of Columbia, taken at Room S-407, The Capitol Building, Conference Room A, commencing at 1:36 p.m., and the proceedings being taken down by Stenomask by Mark T. Egan and transcribed under his direction.
On behalf of the Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs:
JOHN ERICKSON, ESQ.
C O N T E N T S
WITNESS EXAMINATION BY COUNSEL FOR BARRY A. TOLL THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON POW/MIA AFFAIRS BY MR. ERICKSON
P R O C E E D I N G S
MR. ERICKSON: We are here today in the Senate Security Office to take the deposition of Mr. Barry Toll. I would ask the reporter to swear the witness.
Whereupon, BARRY A. TOLL, the witness herein, was called for examination by counsel for the Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs and, having been duly sworn by the Notary Public, was examined and testified as follows:
EXAMINATION BY COUNSEL FOR THE SELECT COMMITTEE BY MR. ERICKSON:
Q. This is a sworn deposition and all of the questions I will ask are going to be taken under oath and I am going to presume that all of your answers are truthful. You have a right to have an attorney here. Do you desire to have an attorney present?
A. No, I do not.
Q. I want you to know that you have the opportunity to review the transcript and make any corrections. Would you like us to send you a copy of the transcript when it is completed?
A. Yes, I would.
Q. We will do that.
I am going to ask the reporter to mark the Authority and Rules of the Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs for the Senate.
(The document referred to was marked Toll Exhibit No. 1 for identification)
BY MR. ERICKSON:
Q. I have provided you a copy a few minutes ago. Do you have any questions that I could answer for you? These rules are very specific and I will, in essence, go over them. As I said, this is a sworn deposition. You have the right to have an attorney here. You have a right to read the transcript. And in essence, that is what I have covered.
A. I have not read the rules; however, I am here to proceed to tell the truth exactly as I know it regarding these events. I don't feel it's necessary to delay the deposition in order for me to peruse them and I'm quite willing to proceed not having read them.
Q. The next exhibit is going to be the notice of Senate deposition.
(The document referred to was marked Toll Exhibit No. 2 for identification)
BY MR. ERICKSON:
Q. This is just a formal document. You are here. This, in essence, is telling you when it is going to be and everything else. If you have any questions I will be glad to answer.
A. No, this is quite clear. I can't fulfill this statement here, please provide the committee with. Just I would note that it's impossible for me to do this since we're already in the deposition and it's the first time I've seen it. Please provide the committee, you understand?
Q. Yes. The second one is the U.S. Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, the deposition authorization, which basically tells you that the chairman, John Kerry, has authorized this deposition. It is a formality. It lists several staffers, including my name, and Bob Taylor, who will be taking the deposition.
(The document referred to was marked Toll Exhibit No. 3 for identification)
THE WITNESS: Certainly. And will I be able to be provided copies of these before I leave today?
MR. ERICKSON: Yes. We will give you copies.
THE WITNESS: Thank you, sir.
BY MR. ERICKSON:
Q. What is your name?
A. My name is BARRY ALLEN TOLL.
Q. Where do you live?
A. I live in St. Petersburg, Florida, at 2930 29th Street North, St. Petersburg, 33713.
Q. Where were you born?
A. I was born in East Cleveland, Ohio at the Huron Road Hospital on the 15th of November, 1947.
Q. What is your Social Security number?
A. My Social Security Number is xxx-xx-xxxx (removed by the P.O.W. NETWORK).
Q. Where did you attend high school?
A. I attended high school at South Euclid, Ohio, Memorial Junior High School, the ninth grade I attended there. Tenth grade, I attended in Florida at Northeast Senior High School in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Q. Did you graduate from high school?
A. No, I did not. I quit on my 16th birthday.
Q. Have you taken any additional college courses, or have you completed your high school education?
A. Yes, I have. I received a GED in basic training, in June or July of 1967 at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and I have attended numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States and even in Europe subsequent to those days.
Q. Approximately how many college hours do you have?
A. It would be very hard for me to estimate. I have had counselors tell me that all I need is to stay 30 hours in residence at some university and I could be awarded a baccalaureate, so I suspect that's somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 or 90.
Q. What particular major or curriculum are you studying?
A. I have studied anthropology, cultural anthropology, and in the social sciences, educational and motivational psychology. And I did have duties pertaining to that while I was in the military.
Q. After you left high school, what did you do?
A. In St. Petersburg, Florida, I joined a circus act and became a member of the Great Wallendas and performed as a high-wire artist for a couple of years, up until I was drafted in 1967. So in 1965 and 1966 I was on the road with the Great Wallendas as a high-wire artist, as a performer.
Q. And when did you enter the United States Army?
A. ON 14 June of 1967 I was conscripted and sworn at Jacksonville AFFEES Station in Florida, and immediately moved to Fort Benning, Georgia for basic training.
Q. How long was your basic training?
A. My basic training was 8 weeks.
Q. Where was your first duty assignment?
A. Well, subsequent to basic training, I was moved to Fort Polk, Louisiana, to what was called Tigerland, which was an area where persons who had already been levied for the service in Vietnam as infantrymen, training occurred there and the 3rd Brigade of the -- I can't recall the rest of the unit, but I was in Delta Company. D-4-3 was the designation of the training brigade for advanced infantry training, and then for transshipment to Vietnam.
I was, however, put on a hold there for warrant officer flight training, and remained there for a short while and then received a pregnancy deferment when I had arrived at Fort Lewis, Washington in November of 1967 for movement to Vietnam. And I remained on hold there until March 1st before transiting to Vietnam.
Q. And what were your primary military duties at this duty station?
A. At that point I was merely, up through the training period before departing in November for Fort Lewis, Washington for shipment to Vietnam. I was merely a trainee, an infantry trainee. At Fort Lewis, Washington, once placed on hold for shipment to Vietnam, since my wife was pregnant, I did perform administrative duties at the initial reception point for the overseas replacement station for some 5 months, and processed officers and enlisted men en route to Vietnam.
Q. Did you have a security clearance at that time?
A. None whatsoever. I had a simple ENTNAC at that point.
Q. And when did you go to Vietnam?
A. My records indicate, and I would assume that they are accurate, that I arrived in Vietnam on the 9th of March, 1968.
Q. And what was the command that you were assigned to?
A. I was merely assigned to the 22nd Replacement Battalion, Cam Rahn Bay, United States Army, for further assignment, and I was subsequently further assigned to the 4th Infantry Division as a combat infantryman approximately 3 to 4 days after my arrival in Vietnam.
I then went through an orientation course at the 4th Infantry Division headquarters at Camp Enari, Pleiku, Republic of Vietnam, and then was assigned as a combat infantryman in the 2nd Platoon of C. Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.
Q. Did you see combat in Vietnam?
A. My first day in the field, I was involved in an assault at Dak To, up Hill 1062 with 105 men in my infantry company. I managed to survive. 7 days later there were 15 of the original group left, 25 in total, including the replacement we received during the course of the battle. Additionally, I saw considerable more combat in numerous fights with enemy as an Infantrymen, Squad Leader and Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Leader.
Q. How long was your tour of duty in Vietnam?
A. My tour of duty was originally slated for 365 days like all Army personnel; however, I was Medevaced and my tour was cut short after I came down with what was believed to have been cerebellum malaria, and lately I have been informed some complications called leptomaniasis. They still have my blood at Walter Reed or something and are examining it, and I just learned that. I was Medevaced on the 31st of December of 1968 and arrived at Camp Zama Army Hospital on the 1st of January 1969, and I remained there in intensive care until discharged approximately the 23rd of January 1969. I was returned to San Francisco-Oakland Army Base, and was discharged from the Army on 29 January 1969, I believe.
Q. And what did you do after that?
A. I returned home to St. Petersburg, Florida. Of course, I was in a highly debilitated physical condition, having lost 60 to 70 pounds while in a coma and not having recuperated very well. I stayed with my family. I had a newborn daughter at the time, and after about a month I went to enroll in college at St. Petersburg Junior College and I became very frustrated at the antiwar demonstrations and I felt that it was best for me to leave the country, to be quite honest with you. So I want and rejoined the military. I joined the Army and asked for assignments to Europe. I was assigned subsequently as an infantry operations and intelligence specialist in Europe and remained there until January of 1970 when I returned to the United States, to officer candidate school, to be a candidate as an infantry officer in the United States Army.
Q. What enlisted grade were you discharged?
A. I was discharged as a staff sergeant E-6.
Q. And when you reentered the United States Army did you came back in as a staff sergeant?
A. Excuse me. Allow me to correct that. I thought you were speaking of ultimately the 1975 discharge. The 1969 discharge I was a sergeant E-5. Again, I had been awarded the MOS of infantry operations and intelligence specialist because, of course, I became a long-range reconnaissance volunteer and then became a long-range reconnaissance patrolmen, and that is the military occupational speciality associated with those duties, on the last half of my tour in Vietnam.
Q. And what enlisted grade did you reenter the Army at?
A. As a sergeant E-5.
Q. so you lost --
A. No, I lost no grade at all.
Q. And what were your primary duties in Europe.
A. My primary duties in Europe were to serve as a battalion and brigade level and for temporary duty assignment time at Army level the commanders of those various Army elements in the conduct of infantry operations in Europe.
Q. Did you have a security clearance at this time?
A. Yes. I was granted a top secret security clearance based upon a background investigation in 1969. The form 873 should be in my file somewhere. I'm not sure of the exact dates. I suspect it was probably in around July of 1969. That was awarded while I was assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry at Ashaffenberg, Germany.
Q. And your next duty assignment when you left Germany?
A. Was to proceed to the officer candidate school, 9th Battalion, at Fort Benning, Georgia in the United States Army Infantry Center.
Q. And how long were you there?
A. I remained at Fort Benning approximately 3-1/2 to 4 months. And in the third week of training I had what we now know was another recurrent malarial attack and I was forced to be recycled. I delayed a week and began the class again and then had further medical complications. I had recurrent malaria over the years a number of times.
After this happened, and after about 7 weeks and I would have to start the course entirely all over again, I had the opportunity, I thought, to reenter, rejoin former comrades of mine from Military Assistance Command, Studies and Observations Group, Command and Control Detachment in Kontum, former associates there. They were forming up to begin a new unit controlled out of Okinawa, a joint task force advisory grout that continued to perform clandestine missions in Vietnam and the associated Southeast Asian area.
I applied to go on that tour. However, because of my recurrent malaria, that was rejected and I was subsequently assigned in June of 1979 to the United States Army Hawaii Command at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, again as an infantry operations and intelligence specialist.
Q. And how long were you in Hawaii?
A. I was in Hawaii -- the duration of the assignment was until the end of April 1973; however, I did perform temporary duties at numerous places. On the order of the Secretary of Defense on 24 hours notice, for example, in 1973, January through April, I replaced a critical need assignment to the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization and I flew to Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand and operated under the auspices of the embassy as a liaison to the counterpart of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Thai military who also happened to be the deputy commander to the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization.
Q. Did any of these TAD or TDY trips take you back to Vietnam?
A. No, they did not. I never entered the legal area of Vietnam after I was Medevaced or its contiguous waters excepting for plane refueling in Vietnam enroute from Thailand to Hawaii or vice-versa.
Q. After your assignment in Hawaii, where were you stationed?
A. I had requested assignment to the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon some months in advance in anticipation of my rotation. Initially, the assignment came through; however, I was diverted while on leave and was further assigned to the Headquarters, Atlantic Command, Commander-in-Chief Atlantic, with duty with the airborne command post located at Langely Air Force Base, Virginia.
Q. How long were you in that duty assignment?
A. I remained in that duty assignment until approximately 4 July 1975, when I submitted the statement that you see and refused to continue my duties any further under the conditions described in my statement. I was discharged from the United States Army honorably. I believe the date of my discharge is 15 August 1975.
Q. After you were discharged, what did you do?
A. I immediately went into a religious spiritual retreat for 45 days with my wife and close friends.
[Clarification and Addition: My response to this question on Lines 10 and 11 do not reflect the fact that this exact period, in "retreat" had been the subject of discussion in vastly more detail with your investigators. I had conveyed to them that I believed I was the subject of intensive DIA or other intelligence Community surveillance at this location and for the entire period, August 1975 through Spring, 1976. This becomes pertinent in that the Sworn Affidavit you have received from Mr. J. Lawrence Wright clearly reflects independently his recollections that the DIA solicited assistance and information from him in early 1976, well after my discharge, regarding their loss of surveillance on me, and seeking his assistance as my Military Counsel as a Judge Advocate General attorney, to help "make me surface" so as to resume surveillance. I had reiterated several times to your investigators that at this "retreat" I had been approached by what I believed was a DIA agent undercover, and so labeled him so to his face numerous times. This agent masqueraded as a person attending the retreat and resided there for some 30 days. It is my understanding that the DIA has not furnished those files of that period of extensive surveillance of me as a civilian, which would have been illegal. Your investigators have sought those files because I insisted that in my debriefings in July and August 1975 with DIA agents, I had told them specifically about the POW/MIA abandonment issue as being central to my demand to be discharged from the Army. Further, as I have told your investigators, I also reiterated to the Agent I describe above on "retreat" extensively over the month he saw, interacted and monitored me daily in discussions directly, my abhorrence of the POW/MIA abandonment. My understanding is that the DIA won't give you those extensive surveillance files which may very well contain reports on my statements to them regarding the POW/MIA abandonment.]
Q. And after that, did you go back to school or did you get a job?
A. I returned home to St. Petersburg, Florida, having applied for my
Veterans Administration benefits since I had no means of income any
further. I had left the Army quite suddenly, demanding to be discharged.
The VA did not contact me until I think in October. They sent me a notice
saying to come in for an evaluation in March. I just couldn't wait that
long, so I began at that point to travel around and visit old friends. I
went and visited friends in Cleveland, Ohio. I subsequently never
followed up my
Below extracted from http://www.miafacts.org/toll.htm