Friday, March 11, 2005

The "Training Program"

by Carolyn Hamlett

"The Training Program"
Original post date: March 11, 2005

“Jim”, a very close friend of mine was on Navy Seal Team 2, one of the very first navy seals. Because he was one of the instructors for a leading Florida Search and Rescue team that trained near my home, I used to meet up with the group when ever “Jim” was in town. 

On one occasion one of “Jim's” government friends, “Sam”, joined us all for dinner. Toward the end of the meal “Sam” made a proposal to “Jim”. He began talking to “Jim” about Homestead Air Force Base here in Florida and of a special ops training program that the U.S. government wanted to set up and run there. “Sam” offered “Jim” the job to design the program and lead it. 

The program was to have only the very best instructors that the U.S. had to offer. The staff would live on base in the under ground bunkers which had already been completed.

I asked “Sam” who would be training there. He grinned at me, then said, "anyone, from anywhere in the world…no questions asked. All they have to do is come up with the money". My impression was that this was no cheap program…and not your typical search and rescue training. 

“Sam” went on to tell “Jim” that what ever he wanted for the program he would get, that money was no object. “Sam” laughed as he raised his arms in the air, “If you want a 12 story building for training purposes, we’ll build you a 12 story building!” he said. "Anything you want, “Jim”, get!"

“Jim” asked if he could think it over and get back with “Sam” about it.
A couple of weeks later “Jim” told me that he declined the offer. I didn't ask him any questions about his decision and he said no more about it.

As was typical in my relationship with “Jim”, our contact with each other was always followed with spaces of silence lasting several months or more. This time we both allowed several years to pass with no contact. I purposely kept my distance from him because I feared for him. I kept my silence about the meeting with “Sam” for fear that if I ever told anyone, “Jim” would pay for it with his life.

Maybe this was really just about a search and rescue training program, but when 9/11 took place I really got scared. This particular meeting had taken place 2-3 years prior to 9/11.

"The Training Program" Update

January 6, 2007

Since the writing of this last one about the training program I have been back in touch with “Jim”, my former Navy Seal friend. I asked him if he remembered when we met with “Sam” and discussed the development of the training program for search and rescue on Homestead Air Force Base. He said, "yes". 

We both sat in silence for a minute or two. I turned and looked at him, finally getting up the nerve I asked, " Have you ever heard any more about it since you turned down the offer?"

“Jim” breathed out a soft" no". Again there was silence.

Not wanting to pry too much out of my fear for his safety I asked one last question as a statement. "The program was for search and rescue,.......'' ( I accented the "was".)

“Jim” lifted his head up and looked into my eyes and paused. Then he replied, "Yes, search and rescue." His words said one thing. His eyes purposely said another.