1. Based on Actual Events

    2. June 13, 2018

He Is My Father (v.5)
A Story About CIA’s Darkest Warriors

By Thomas O'Hare


Chapter 2 – History and JM/WAVE

In 1960 Florida remained a tropical paradise – minus the mosquitoes.  The name derived from the early Spanish explorers; Florida truly was ‘The Land of Flowers’.  Cobalt Blue skies over emerald green waters lined the horizon.  Long stretches of snow white beaches outlined the Florida coastline.  The tourist migration had yet to occur and afternoon summer monsoons still hit like clockwork.  It was a slow paced agricultural and fishing mecca.  Ninety miles south of Key West it was a different story…


On January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro and his compatriots had taken over Havana and the rest of Cuba soon followed.  Cuban styled Communism had found it’s way to the Western Hemisphere.  The United States, fearing retaliation from Russia and a Nuclear War, made no overt gestures against the takeover.  Covertly it was a totally different story.  The CIA’s top secret JM/WAVE station was being established near Miami and ‘No Name’ Key now had uniformed exiled Cuban inhabitants.  Meanwhile two operators, little known outside of military circles, were quietly moved to South Florida.  The CIA recruited a Special Forces Captain and Marine Captain to head up the covert response to Castro’s aggression – The Bay of Pigs Invasion.


For months the CIA trained and armed over 1,400 Cuban exiles in South Florida in preparation for the Cuban incursion.  On April 17, 1961 the CIA led invasion was launched on Cuba’s southern shores which soon failed.  What may sound like the end of the story is actually just the beginning.  Because of that great blunder, the seeds had been sown that would alter the course of human events.  Events that forever changed the destiny of all mankind.


By most accounts, the Bay of Pigs ‘fiasco’ was the Genesis of what would shape world history throughout the 1960’s and beyond.  Looked on as the great American blunder, it is actually the most misrepresented and misunderstood incident of it’s time.  


Long before the invasion the leader of that covert CIA mission, Grayston Lynch, had quietly become a true American hero.  Wounded during the Normandy invasion in WWII, severely wounded at the Battle of the Bulge and wounded again at Bloody Ridge in Korea he defined the word ‘relentless’.  During his career he received three Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and one Bronze Star with a ‘V’ for valor, among various other awards.  That would have been enough for most distinguished military careers.  Yet Grayston was far from the end of his battle for Democracy and American principles.  Grayston Lynch literally defined true ‘American Hero’ in every sense of the phrase.


After Korea Grayston joined the U.S. Army 77th Special Forces (later re-designated 7th Special Forces) as a Captain in 1955.  He served in Laos and eventually retired from the U.S. Army in 1960.  We should say Grayston Lynch ‘transitioned’ from a U.S. Army Special Forces Officer to a CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer in the CIA's famed ‘Special Activities Division’ in 1960.  Soon after he would organize, train and fire the first shots of the Bay of Pigs invasion.  He was one of only two U.S. personnel on the beach that night.  The other was the former Marine Captain William ‘Rip’ Robertson, his second in command.  


After that failed invasion Grayston was quoted as saying “It was the first time in my life I was ever ashamed of my country”.  Here was a man who fought in more major battles and wounded more times than most U.S. soldiers.  Nothing less then an iconic U.S. Military hero was now ashamed of his own country. Why?  Because President John F. Kennedy pulled support for the invasion at the last minute making the invasion a failed undertaking from the start.  The invasion was effectively lost before Grayston’s men ever hit the beach.  When the men Grayston trained stormed the beach they were slaughtered as a result of lack of U.S. air cover and Naval support.  Grayston personally blamed President Kennedy for abandoning him and his men on the shores of the Bay of Pigs that day.  Grayston fought fearlessly alongside his brigade the entire battle until he received the direct order to board ship and leave his slaughtered compatriots behind.  The agency did not want an American CIA officer to be captured or killed in Cuba.  Grayston would never forgive Kennedy for what he considered to be an act of cowardice by the American Commander-in-Chief.  He remained extremely bitter about Kennedy’s inaction with the botched invasion until his death in 2008.


Grayston always grieved for the men of the Cuban exile Brigade 2506.  He believed his compatriots were led to their slaughter by the cowardice of a weak U.S. President.  A President who approved an invasion of Cuba, by CIA led Cuban exiles, to rid the island of Communist dictatorship.  To only withdraw decisive Air and Naval support of the invasion at the most critical point.  Grayston would never back off of the hate he held for a U.S. President who would put men in harms way only to abandon them and let them be slaughtered.


For his part Grayston was awarded the ‘Intelligence Star’, the CIA's most coveted award for heroism at the Bay of Pigs.  The title of the book Grayston wrote on this experience in 2000 says it all; ‘Decision for Disaster: Betrayal at the Bay of Pigs’.


Meanwhile at JM/WAVE in Miami things were rapidly escalating.  After the Bay of Pigs fiasco JM/WAVE became a hub of covert activity.  It grew to be the largest CIA station in the world outside of Langley, Virginia.  From there paramilitary planning and training was underway.  Well over 100 Commando raids into Cuba were conceived and carried out from there.  A professional staff of 300 to 400 CIA personnel were permanently stationed at that location.  This was to be the central hub for most CIA operations in Latin America from 1961 to 1968.  The men stationed at JM/WAVE would form the nucleus of groups that would eventually shape world history.  


The man in charge of JM/WAVE during it’s critical years (1962 to 1965) was a WWII veteran named Ted Shackley.  Ted would eventually rise through the ranks and become the CIA Deputy Director of Covert Operations under CIA director George H.W. Bush.  Later in life he would earn the title ‘Spy Master’ and for good reason.  But for now he was station chief at the largest CIA secret base in the world.  Along with Ted was Grayston Lynch and Rip Robertson – the two CIA leaders from the Bay of Pigs failed invasion.  All three were WWII veterans and had a long set of credentials behind them.  From here all three of these high end operators would form a strong bond and plan operations that would never reach paper.  These three would be the silent Shadow Warriors that would eventually operate in Laos, Vietnam, Africa, Chile, Cuba and most of Latin America.  All three are now deceased and with them went a number of untold secrets no one will ever know.


Other names to note stationed at JM/WAVE at the time were Edward Roderick, Gordon Campbell, Felix Rodriguez, Thomas Clines, David Morales and Tony Sforza.  Two of those names especially stand out; Felix Rodriguez and David Morales.  Felix was most notable for being in Bolivia when Che Guevara was captured.  There is a photo of Felix and Che together shortly before Che’s execution.  David Morales was a hard living Mexican who was feared by most at JM/WAVE.  It was suspected David ran execution squads that neutralized high priority targets for CIA.  Both Felix and David ran operations in Vietnam for CIA along with Ted Shackley and William Colby (future CIA Director).


Eighteen months after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred.  On October 14, 1962 a U-2 spy-plane flew over Cuba and took pictures of an area of concern.  From those pictures it was determined there were Soviet missiles on Cuban soil.  The placement of Nuclear tipped missiles in Cuba by the Soviet Union was in direct response to the failed invasion of Cuba by the CIA led Cuban exiles.  The missiles were put in place to prevent any future incursions.  The earlier failed invasion not only let a Communist Dictator stay in power just ninety miles off of Florida, but also directly led to the closest the world came to Nuclear annihilation.  For approximately two weeks in 1962 the world came closer to a Nuclear war then ever before or since.  It was the first Nuclear showdown by two major super-powers.  That showdown would teach the world how easy it is to start Nuclear Genocide. The world took notice and never came as close to such a disaster since.


In the United States and especially at JM/WAVE there was growing concern for the man leading the country.  First, President Kennedy abandoned the men during the Bay of Pigs invasion which led to a slaughter on the Cuban beaches.  That allowed Communism to flourish close to American shores.  Second, he allowed Russian styled Communism to infiltrate the western hemisphere including Latin America.  Third, he almost caused thousands, if not millions, of Americans to loose their lives in a nuclear holocaust.  All this stemmed from President Kennedy’s inability to follow through on his own commitments.  The flip flop thinking Kennedy displayed troubled many American patriots.  They believed the man was dangerous and he would eventually allow communism to take over Latin America.  And in the process very possibly cause numerous innocent American lives to be extinguished.


Less than twenty years prior a significant number of staff at JM/WAVE fought to rid the world of a fanatical leader in WWII.  They were now watching as history was very possibly being repeated.  The belief was if strong action were not taken soon another fanatical leader could start WWIII.  These men survived WWII and swore it would never happen again, yet another world war seemed to be unfolding right before their eyes.


For most of the 1960’s members of JM/WAVE would take part in other operations across the globe on several continents.  Most notably was the Rebellion in the Congo during the mid-1960’s.  Exactly one year to the day after President Kennedy’s assassination Rip Robertson and a detachment of Cuban exiles landed in the Congo to support operations against the Congolese Rebels.  Cuban exiles who were trained by Rip Robertson and Grayston Lynch, a number of whom took part in the Bay of Pigs invasion, were now in the Congo.  Their goals were two-fold; support Col. Mike Hoare and his ‘5 Commando’ mercenaries in stopping the Congolese Rebels and to catch Che Guevara who was leading a contingent of Cuban troops.  At that time Che was spreading Cuban style Communism across the globe and was discovered operating in the Congo in 1964.  Col. Mike ‘Mad Dog’ Hoare and his CIA backed band of mercenaries were the thrust of the operation against the Rebels.  Rip would lead the Cuban exile unit consisting of 17 heavily armed men in support of ‘5 Commando’.  Again, CIA assets were secretly deployed to fight the wars that the U.S. could not openly fight.  And JM/WAVE, based in Miami, was at the heart of it.


The close proximity of so many resources near the Miami, Florida, area where JM/WAVE was operating made it impossible for a number of key figures to not be operating collectively.  JM/WAVE was the glue that would hold together the best and most significant resources that made up the Shadow Warriors.  The Dark Warriors names were never mentioned at JM/WAVE.  Dark Warriors did not exist so they could not be found at known CIA sites.  Dark Warriors always had clandestine meetings at Miami night clubs and bars or other not so obvious areas.  Dark Warriors had cover stories and aliases that were insignificant and did not attract attention.  There is no doubt the Dark Warriors interfaced with the Shadow Warriors around the time JM/WAVE was operational.  JM/WAVE was not the best kept secret and actually spurred a boom in the local economy.  With a not so secret Top Secret base there was the clear need to keep the Darkest of the Dark Warriors at arms length when it came to their proximity to JM/WAVE.  Yet the actions and events that occurred in those years in Florida and elsewhere leaves little doubt JM/WAVE held several layers of extremely resourceful and useful assets that were used for years even after JM/WAVE closed.  The strong connections between a large number of CIA assets were created at JM/WAVE.  Numerous CIA Shadow Warriors and Dark Warriors forged silent bonds that would exist for decades in complete secrecy.  That was the best kept secret JM/WAVE ever had.


In typical covert operations the common deception is called ‘a box within a box’.  That describes the silent activity no one sees operating within a secret operation.  The overall secret operation serves as concealment for the actual deeper silent mission no one sees.  The idea is if the Secret Operation is somehow detected it would be devious and large enough to garnish all the attention and prevent anyone from looking any deeper.  Effectively you could say it is darkness hidden within a shadow.  Dark Warriors are concealed by Shadow Warriors.  That’s how Special Ops and Black Ops work, that’s what happened at JM/WAVE.  


When sunlight begins to permeate shadows, the dark soon disappears.  So did Rick’s father in 1975.