Part 1 http://looserounds.com/2020/03/18/interview-with-army-green-beret-sog-1-0-jim-bolen/
Can you share any memorable missions with our readers?
Jim Bolen: I will copy and paste one of my many missions that are in my book:
American Bronze Star Medal And Vietnamese award, Gallantry Cross with Palm Leaf
On 28 June 1968, my team was inserted into Cambodia for a reconnaissance mission deep behind enemy lines. Read my following military citations for a brief description of my actions. On the first day, moving through the jungle, I started noticing that every third or fourth tree had been cut off at ground level. The NVA did that so that the overhead canopy cover would not be unduly disturbed and noticeable from the air. That was the first time I had ever seen anything like that. Even my point man did not notice this. I knew that the enemy must be building something large close by. We started moving more slowly, expecting to come across an enemy compound close by. Within an hour, we spotted two large buildings under the canopy located on a high-speed trail. Both buildings were under roof, but the sides were left open. The buildings were only about 20 feet apart. We sat there and watched the compound for about an hour to make sure there wasn’t any enemy troop movement. We moved into the compound and found that one of the buildings was housing a huge cache of enemy weapons, the largest found in enemy held territory. The other building was empty. We took pictures of the weapons and moved out of the compound. During our next scheduled radio check, I reported to FAC what we had found. I requested that they support me with another team with demolitions to destroy the weapons. They contacted me and said they would start putting a team together right away. I moved out of the area for about a day in order to stay as far away from the enemy compound as possible and looked for a safe LZ to bring in the supporting team. The next day the second team was inserted and we spent that day preparing and going over where the demolitions would be placed.
On 30 June 1968, we headed back through the jungle to the enemy compound. Everyone, including our Commander at FOB 2 base camp, was worried if I could find my way back to the enemy compound without being detected. I have a good sense of direction and have always been good with maps, even the old French maps that we were using. We hit the compound dead center. To my dismay, when we got there, there was a small enemy unit cleaning the cache of weapons. I radioed back our predicament and our Commander said to abort the mission. I declined and said that we were going to try and wait the enemy out. We laid outside the compound for a couple of hours, and, sure enough, the enemy moved out. We immediately went into the enemy compound and placed our explosives. We selected certain of the enemy weapons to take back with us for intelligence purposes. (See picture of me with the captured weapons below the citations.) We moved back towards our original LZ. I had pulled the wire that was connected to the explosives along with me as we moved away from the buildings and hooked it up to the detonating device. Once my team was at a safe distance, I detonated the explosives, destroying the building and, hopefully, most of the weapons. Each team, along with the addition of the captured weapons, was border line overweight. Once we got to the LZ, I had the two recon teams with the captured enemy weapons get extracted with the first two choppers and I stayed behind by myself and waited for the third chopper.
This operation was extremely successful and important, so much so that they sent the three other Americans on the teams and me to Saigon to brief General Abrams. (See radio text message below). It was about a month later that we Americans on the two teams were alerted that the Commander of the Fifth Special Forces Group at Nah Trang was coming to give us our awards for this mission personally. We found out that the Bronze Stars that we would be receiving were for Achievement, not Valor. We were really pissed and almost decided not to accept them. His reasoning for this, the Commander of the Fifth Special Forces Group, was due to the fact that there were not shots fired by the enemy or us. So I guess that when you are behind the enemy lines and sneak into their compound while they are having lunch and blow up hundreds of weapons that were going to be used to kill Americans with about 80 pounds of C4 plastic explosives and get out unscathed, that is not considered as a valorous deed??????? We did, begrudgingly, accept the awards but, as you can see, it still bothers me to this day.
Can you tell us a little about your time in Rhodesia ?
About Rhodesia, while working as personal bodyguard for Larry Flynt, founder of “Hustler Magazine” I was getting bored. It’s hard to believe going to Hollywood VIP parties (including Hefner’s mansion), private jets, finest restaurants in the world, flying on the Concord plus unlimited expense account boring but it me it was. Larry was intense and demanding but I liked that, and we got along very well. When he heard I was leaving he offered any other job if I wanted if I would agree to stay on. He wrote me a very nice letter of recommendation (see enclosed letter).
The way I got to Rhodesia was through Bob Brown editor of Soldier of Fortune Magazine. Bob and I met through my background in the military, he is really a great guy. I told him I was getting bored and looking for something else. He said there was The World Pistol competition in Johannesburg South Africa and he was submitting a team, if I was interested, he would put me on the list for a visa as a competitor (see enclosed letter). He said from there I could go to Rhodesia where they were having trouble with communist infiltrators coming in through Mozambique. I said great lets do it. The competition starts in about six weeks. I told Larry Flynt the date I would be ending my employment, and he asked me for one last favor. He was leaving for England then France on the Concord and really wanted me to go with him, of course I agreed. I got home just in time to catch my flight to Africa.
After a very long flight myself and two other Americans landed in Johannesburg and made it to the Johannesburger Hotel. This is known where most of the “Mercs” say and hang out. We spent a little time in Johannesburg and met some people that could help us get to Rhodesia. You must remember I just got back from Cannes France a few weeks earlier, but I could not believe how beautiful the town was and had the finest cuisine from all over the world. Everyone dressed to a “T” and were in shape physically, I was really impressed.
We made it to Salisbury Rhodesia and again I was impressed by to town and people. We passed out our resumes and soon got offers.
We picked up the additional gear we needed along with the FN’s. We met our guide Samson and started our work. We were paid 125.00 for every terrorist we captured and 1250.00 for everyone we killed, we had no captures. We stayed there for a few months. We had to get back to South Africa because of the limit of our visas. In Johannesburg I spent a lot of time with an extremely sharp individual, I was very impressed with him. He offered me a job and gave me 24 hours to make my decision and If I decided to take his offer, I could not talk to anyone I knew or family member for 6 years. Obviously, I wonder what my life would be like if I took that job. I know what the job was as it is well publicized in the worldwide news years later. Of course, it is just another one of the things I cannot talk about.
Things worked out great for me because when arriving back in the US I met my wife now and have been together for over 42 years and have a wonderful family. There is more info in my book on Amazon if interested.
You can buy Jim’s book and read more details of his amazing life story . His book, No Guts, No Glory can be found at amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Guts-Glory-Mercenary-Businessman-All-Around/dp/1884532926/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364346996&sr=8-1&keywords=jim+bolen