Sometimes there is a comment added to the blog which I think is worth bringing to the attention of other readers. On my post about the 25th Anniversary of the El Mozote massacre, the following comment was left a few days ago:
Contrary to the information posted here regarding myself - I did not participate in the training of the Atlacatl Battalion, either at Fort Bragg, NC, or in Panama/El Salvador.
I was the Special Forces advisor who reported being shown a guerrilla's skull (at the unit's base in El Salvador) that had been turned into a desk lamp. My report was delivered to the US Embassy in El Salvador at the time through the proper chain of command.
The vast majority of SF advisors serving in El Salvador did likewise as this was part of the mission statement. For example, there was a senior Special Forces advisor at El Mozote the day/night of the massacre (and only one). He attempted multiple times to dissuade Colonel Domingo Monterosa to spare the victims. When Monterosa ignored him, the advisor departed by foot and made his way, alone, back to San Salvador. There he made a full report to embassy officials of what the unit and Monterosa were doing in El Mozote.
As for justice...
In an interview I conducted with former Commadante Gilberto Osorio in San Francisco in 1993, Osorio described the lengthy and well planned assassination of Colonel Monterosa by the PRTC, an assassination carried out in great part due to the war crimes actions of his unit at the time (the Atlacatl) in El Mozote. Portions of my interview with Osorio were published in "Behind the Lines, September/October 1993" as well as in "Fighting Knives Magazine" and my book "At the Hurricane's Eye, 1994".
From the FMLN's view revolutionary justice, in this case, was carried out.
The absurd and fanciful claims made that "green berets" murdered babies in El Mozote or anywhere else, at any other time in that war, are as absurd as they are the products of an ill mind.
At the conclusion of the war as brokered under a UN peace agreement, it was the guerrillas of the FMLN that requested US "Green Berets" remain with Salvadoran military units during the early stages of the accord. This because the guerrillas had learned of our commitment to human rights, and the sometimes dangerous reporting we made to the US embassy regarding thugs like Monterosa.
Greg Walker (Ret.)
United States Special Forces
Author, "At the Hurricane's Eye"
Director, Veterans of Special Operations - El Salvador
I recognize that anyone can post a comment on this blog, so I have no way to verify that Greg Walker actually wrote this comment. Assuming it is the same person, in 2001, Walker was interviewed on the website of Paladin Press, a publisher of military and action books, where he was quoted as saying:
“I was afforded the opportunity to study hand-to-hand and knife combatives under several blooded military instructors. In El Salvador, I had the opportunity to teach close combatives techniques to selected reconnaissance/sniper team members, techniques immediately proven effective based upon guerrilla body counts racked up by these units. I guess you could say my ‘black belt’ comes in the form of a green felt hat, which I’m very proud to have earned in the traditional manner.”
Walker was also quoted in a May, 1996 Washington Post article:
Officially, there were only 55 American advisors in El Salvador at any one time, and their rules of engagement prohibited them from participating in combat operations. But none doubted he was in a combat zone. They carried weapons, received combat pay, accompanied government troops in the field and were targeted by guerrillas who had decided U.S. troops were fair game.
"The U.S. government was going to allow a clever blurring of the history of the civil war to go unchallenged," said Greg Walker, a former Army Special Forces staff sergeant who has led a veterans' campaign to gain official recognition of the US military role in El Salvador.
"We wanted to correct the history," Walker explained. "We wanted to recognize the sacrifices of those who served but were made to feel they were fighting a dirty secret war that no one wants to talk about. And we wanted to honor our dead and bring closure to their families."
Particularly troubling for many who knew the truth were the incomplete or outright false official reports relatives received about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of those killed in action in El Salvador.
In 2007, it is not new information that the US trained Salvadoran forces in counter-insurgency tactics, and that US military advisers did not just sit in bases around San Salvador. What was new information to me in Mr. Walker's comment post, was the presence of senior US Special Forces adviser at El Mozote during some part of the massacre who left the scene and provided a full report to the US Embassy. (The Embassy and Reagan admministration would subsequently deny that a massacre had taken place).