EXPERT PERSPECTIVE — Some thirty years ago, when I was a CIA Chief of Station in the war-torn Balkans, a US Special Operations soldier with whom I was working gave me a unique gift in honor of our time together.
He was an elite soldier from a family of elite soldiers. His stepfather served as a Green Beret in Vietnam while his father was one of the German GSG-9 commandos who freed an airliner from terrorists at Mogadishu airport in 1977. The gift – a bolt from a World War Two German MG-34 machine gun – came from the weapon his grandfather carried as a Fallschirmjaeger (‘paratrooper’) during Operation Eiche (‘Oak’), the 1943 raid that freed Benito Mussolini from his mountaintop prison.
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