Salvadoran Air Force gunner returning fire at FMLN forces, Christmas 1985

“El Salvador 1981-1992. Blessed are the peacemakers. In sacred memory of those who died to bring hope and peace.”

– On the only marker at Arlington Cemetery for those twenty-one Americans who fought and died in the Central America War; at Section 12, across Eisenhower Ave. from Section 59.

On July 14, 1918, U.S. President Wilson sent a detachment of 5,000 troops to Arkhenglesk, Russia. From September 1918 to July 1919 members of the 339th Infantry Regiment, First Battalion of the 310th Engineers, and the 85th Division, along with a British detachment fought the Red Army. The Bolsheviks, and the Soviet Union they would become, never forgave us for what would be remembered as the Polar Bear Expedition.

We would spend the next 82 years fending off this aggressive attempt by the Soviet Union and Communism, starting with Comintern, to protect itself by turning every nation in the world under Soviet/Communist rule: Lithuania, Poland, Korea, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Vietnam, Angola, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile…

By the late 1970s, taking advantage of a population bursting at the seams and unsustainable by its environment and dictatorial political structure, and spurred by their resounding success in Vietnam, the KGB, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and Fidel’s brother Raul Castro ramped up training of Communist insurgents in Cuba and Vietnam for battle in Central America: Nicaragua’s Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and El Salvador’s Farabundo Martí Liberation Front (FMLN)—just another progression of a historical link between the Soviet Union and Latin American insurgents, such as the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran Communist fronts’ namesakes, Augustín Farabundo Martí Rodríguez and Augusto Nicolás Calderón Sandino, an old Communist link well publicized by Sandino’s half-brother Socratés speaking at rallies organized by the Communist Party USA in New York City during the 1920s…It all came to a head in 1979.

Nineteen Seventy-Nine was a horrendous year for the United States’ and revealed clearly the inability of President Carter’s Administration to work effectively in protecting American interests abroad: ironically these two fiascoes under the Carter Administration would mar the following administrations, also—Nicaragua and Iran.

From 1979 to 1981, the Carter Administration paid the Sandinista government $120 Million US dollars. For the following 11 years, American servicemen and women, and their allies, paid for that Whitehouse insanity with their blood and lives. Thankfully, President Reagan didn’t run his administration under the same delusions that the Soviet Union could be bargained with. He understood well the words of the founder of Lenin Soviet Communism: Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, known to the rest of the world under his nom de guerre — Lenin.

“The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”
— Vladimir Lenin

During those 11 years, the United States used skills, strategies and tactics hard-earned in previous counter-insurgency wars, such as the Philippines, Nicaragua, early post-WWII Japan and Germany, and Vietnam. As part of the two point front to final victory against the Soviet Union (Central America/Afghanistan), the U.S. finally succeeded in 1990 with the fall of upheaval in the Soviet Union: a lesson learned well during the United States’s political upheaval and “peace” demonstrations and following resulting loss in protecting South Vietnam.

Applying the knowledge that the Vietnam War wasn’t lost in Vietnam, but in the streets of Washington DC, the Reagan Administration had to fight one of the most decisive battles of the Cold War secretly. This form of war fighting was what led to a resounding victory, but also resulted in the American public having no knowledge of how close the United States and its allies came to falling under the yoke of Marxism.

For those who remember John Milius’s release of the movie Red Dawn when the ‘real’ war was happening south of the border, Milius wasn’t far off the mark: if successes came through repeatedly for Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz (Raúl Castro was really the one who shared Che Guevara’s enthusiasm for Marxism and insurgency, not Fidel—Fidel was always the politician, happy to just dictate over his island, unlike Raoul, who, like Che, loved to get his hands bloodied) in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, and then T-37 Soviet-made tanks would be standing on the southern US border ready to give back to Mexico that which it never forgave the United States for taking — the northern half of Old Mexico!

The irony is that the US and its allies did win this war: what’s worse is that to this day, those who laud the successes of the Reagan Administration during the fall of the Soviet Union, make no recognition is ever made of the United States having won a counter-insurgency war. Had the American people known, would the Administration of George W. Bush have been so eager to jump into war that could only be followed through with an occupational force that so easily could feed into the propaganda machine of the Modern World’s greatest enemy?

Alas, the one who would have honorably sought the recognition for those who fought dearly, DCI William J. Casey, was dead before he had the chance to see the victory against Communism he so enthusiastically sought. The Korean War was the “Forgotten War”. The Central America War was the “Secret War”, no less furiously fought and with no less sacrifice.

The purpose of this multi-media magazine is to share with those in Law Enforcement, State Department and Military, deep in a number of counter-insurgency (CoIn) and counter-terrorism (CoTer) efforts in the US and abroad, those lessons learned while fighting a successful covert war against a Communist-inspired and supported insurgency war.

Except for reviews of equipment and materials that do require a sharing of some tactics, there will be no indepth description as tactics can easily be overcome by the terrorist/insurgent when they’re  clear on what they are. What this online magazine will do is reveal strategies. Much like those mentioned in Sun Tzu’s Art of War, there is no defense against effective strategies.

The second purpose of this online presence is to gather recognition for those American men and women killed while fighting for the United States in the Central America War (many, many more than the 21 nameless noted at Arlington), and so their lessons not be lost to false history, recorded by those who either sought to inaccurately report the war, or more often, by those who were never there.

As there is really no such thing as a ‘new’ war (especially as so many present-day news events reveal), the lessons taught will be applicable to all generations.


Cork Graham

Naval officer candidate Cork Graham, back row, under “XIN” in Lexington, in 1983

Upon his release in 1984, from 11 months of political imprisonment by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Cork Graham was debriefed by the POW/MIA department of the Pentagon (presently called the Joint Casualty Resolution Center [JCRC]). An OGA representative contacted him when he was later in Central America freelancing as a photographer for the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters. Realizing that the actual events in Central America weren’t being reported accurately by the media in the US and Europe, and remembering the horrible effects of Communism in Vietnam, Graham accepted recruitment after observing the aftermath of an atrocity committed by the Salvadoran FMLN.

In the Gulf of Fonseca in 1987, Cork Graham helping cut Sandinista arms smuggling to FMLN in El Salvador

Within months of his arrival in El Salvador, Graham received his first training in counter-insurgency (CoIn)/counter-terrorism (CoTer) and combat medicine at the Salvadoran Naval Special Forces School in La Union. This was followed by training at the Salvadoran Centro de Entrenamiento Militar de la Fuerza Armada‘s (CEMFA) sniper school in long-range tactical shooting, and further training in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency throughout his tenure. As a paramilitary operations officer from 1986 to 1989, he served alongside fellow Hispanic-American officers in Central and South America.

Throughout the early 1990s, he carried on a career in psychology and sociology as a counselor specializing in assisting combat veterans deal with the post-traumatic stress response (PTSR). In the late 1990s he moved into the Silicon Valley’s technology gold rush. He has been published in a number of books and papers on interpersonal skills, combat-related stress, indigenous cultures, survival skills, wildlife conservation, foreign language study, and guerrilla warfare.

He speaks seven languages, and continues his shooting proficiency as a hunter and MIL/LE long-range tactical shooting instructor.

© Rigel Media 2010