Tag: William C. Montgomery

Leaving Home – Chapter 12 – Somali Pirates

There are numerous ways to communicate from one vessel to another when at sea: maritime radio, lights flashing Morse code, semaphore flags, flaghoist signals, and gale pennants and hurricane flags. But when facing down a Johnny boat full of pirates motoring through light chop toward our stern, the Captain improvised his own communication. He snatched the shotgun from my hands and held it over his head like a victorious minuteman. After the pirates got a good look, he grabbed the weapon by the forearm, again with one hand, and pumped a round into the chamber with a flick of his arm. Without aiming, he discharged a single shell from his hip over their heads.

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US Marines Hunt Sangin Sniper

The town of Sangin is best known as the southern epicenter of the Afghanistan opium trade. Today, however, the Pashtun town of 14,000 captured a headline at the Wall Street Journal (Sniper in Afghan Town Puts Marines on Edge) for another reason: an insurgent sniper that the US Marine Corps wants dead. So far, the Sangin Sniper and an accomplice are responsible for two dead (one British and one American) and three wounded. Some of the shots were spectacular . . .

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Leaving Home – Chapter Eleven – Purgatory

After 36 hours of favorable winds, our sails fell slack in light airs. We were forced to motor through windless, putrid heat. The Gulf of Suez is narrow. A busy shipping channel dominates the 180-mile waterway running through its center. Even in this time of war this maritime highway was jammed with traffic — massive fast-moving container and tanker ships that would slice Neko II in half like PT-109 if she got in their way. Lacking the speed and agility of Jack Kennedy’s boat, we hugged the arid Sinai shoreline to avoid the Egyptian mainland, dodging oil wells and pipelines submerged, some only feet or inches below the surface.

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Daniel Silva (courtesy William C. Montgomery)

Book Review: The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva *UPDATE*


“I read the entire book while I waited in line.” “I’m sorry, you did what?” the successful author asked without looking up from the book he was signing.  The Rembrandt Affair, which I reviewed last week, is the tenth novel by Daniel Silva featuring the Beretta 92 toting Mossad assassin, Gabriel Allon.  At the end of my review I concluded that this would be the last Gabriel Allon novel – at least for a while. “I’m just kidding.”

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Leaving Home – Chapter Ten – Zero Hour

Ernie whisked me into the guardhouse at the foot of the dock. He checked behind me to make sure that I hadn’t been seen. As soon as he closed the door, I pulled a bottle of Plomari Ouzo from my bag and handed it to Bert. Ernie did a little happy dance and Bert cupped the bottle solemnly in his hands and raised it heavenward, as if presenting a newborn child to Allah for a blessing. Light from a bare overhead light bulb diffracted brilliantly through the clear liquid.  His crooked, stained teeth worked the cork out of the bottle. He spat it into a corner. I handed Ernie a second bottle, holding two in reserve in my rucksack. And then I sat down to eat with the two men that I had been sent to kill.

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Book Review: The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva

When generating sequels, authors develop a recognizable template for stamping out their stories. The public demands it. Publishers require it. The ribbons around the literary tent pole must be familiar. Predictable. Safe. But I don’t like reading form letters. Give me variety. Be original. Take a risk. So I was pleased to discover that Daniel Silva’s The Rembrandt Affair—the tenth novel by the author featuring legendary Israeli assassin Gabriel Allon—satisfied both my craving for something fresh and this die hard fan’s desire to hang out with old friends.

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Leaving Home – Chapter Nine – The Executioner

The walk from Neko II’s gangplank to the guardhouse at the foot of the dock was laborious. Little ridges of black tar bubbled out of the dock’s creosote-impregnated timbers.  Each step across the dock made a scandalous ripping noise. My gaze darted frenetically down the dock, to the window, the door, to the warehouses beyond.  The oily smell of the dock, the aroma of the slow-roasted meats in my backpack, and the approaching stench of humanity emanating from the old dock house overwhelmed my senses. This would be the night we made our escape. Hidden behind a panel sewn in to the bottom of the bag was the gun I’d use to set our boat free. Yet I felt like I was marching to my own execution.

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Mexico: “Shootout Drills” for School Children

When I was a kid my grade schools had regular “emergency” drills. Sirens would wail as we’d crawl under our desks and fold our hands over our heads. It never occurred to us that it might be worse to survive a nuclear conflagration and face a slow death from radiation poisoning. We accepted that the world was a cruel place and soldiered on with our young lives. The world is still a cruel place. I was saddened to read in USA TODAY that school children living in the dystopia of Mexico are required to participate in classroom “shootout” drills, in which students are trained to . . .

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Irresponsible Gun Owner(s) of the Day: Bibi’s Bodyguards

Shin Bet to the bone (courtesy Daylife.com)

DEBKAfile reports from New York that a suitcase containing four Glock 9mm handguns belonging to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s security detail was stolen from his chartered El Al aircraft after it landed at JFK airport, New York. The bag was supposed to be on a flight to Washington, where Netanyahu met President Obama at the White House Tuesday, July 6. It was discovered later at Los Angeles international airport but the guns were missing. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

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Leaving Home – Chapter Eight – Bert and Ernie

More than twenty-four hours after the bombing of the airfield north of Suez, it was apparent that our two captors had been abandoned at their post. They seldom ventured beyond the threshold of the dock house at the foot of the pier.  One was taller and thin and had a tuft of black hair sprouting form the middle of his receding hairline.  The other was compact and wide.  Their heads frequently appeared like hand puppets in the small rectangle window that overlooked the pier.  I began to call them Bert and Ernie. The rest of the Neko II crew immediately picked up on the nicknames.

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Leaving Home – Chapter Seven – The Six Day War

I couldn’t imagine what Annie was doing or where she was going. She didn’t speak more than a few words of Arabic and didn’t have any Egyptian pounds. I suppose she might start by seeking to hire a translator from a British or American consulate, a western news bureau, or a hotel. From there, what? Catch a boat or train back to Port Sa’id? And then try to cross Sinai to Gaza? Whatever her plans, she was either the bravest or most foolhardy person I had ever met.

By the time Ibrahim and I caught up with Neko II, she was already into the canal cutting that connects Lake Timsah to the Bitter Lakes. The Captain was glad to see us. I returned my passport and headed straight to my bunk. I didn’t even hear the diesel engine pounding away on the other side of the wall when my head hit the pillow. The last thought I had before dropping into unconsciousness was of Annie.

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Leaving Home – Chapter Six – Lake Timsah

By mid-morning we came upon Ismaïlia, located where the canal opens into Lake Timsah, which is about half way through the Suez Canal system. The heat of the day was already upon us and a brown cloud from a hundred thousand cooking fires hung over the crowded desert city. Fishermen cast and hauled in nets from boats with square sails swarming the lake, as their fathers had done since before the Pharaohs. A ferry, low in the water, crossed in front of Neko II, laden with soldiers in tan uniforms destine for an encampment on the east shore.

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Leaving Home – Chapter Five

It was dusk when we docked at the bustling Port Sa’id. None of the crew were permitted leave to go ashore. We topped off our diesel fuel tanks; we would be motoring through rather than traveling under sail. The Captain contracted a potbellied Egyptian canal pilot named Ibrahim to take us to port Tawfiq at the canal’s terminus. The man had a long narrow face with missing molars. He looked distinctly equine. His job was not to keep us from running aground – the canal is easily navigable. The fast-talking native was aboard for one reason: to facilitate our passage past every small town Sheikh with a couple Mausers and rowboat demanding “jizya” and every port authority, police, and military official with his palm out expecting gifts and cash. The Captain would still have to spread the wealth to these tin-pot extortionists to complete passage, but Ibrahim would hasten negotiations and minimize the ransom required.

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John R. Lott, Jr: Calderon’s False Statements On Guns

In an editorial for Investors Business Daily, “More Guns, Less Crime” author John R. Lott, Jr. responds to Mexican President Felipe Calerdon’s ridiculous and insulting comments regarding Arizona’s new illegal alien law. Some of Lott’s arguments bear consideration. {Ed: All Americans have the right to bear consideration.] For example, Lott points out that the “real” military weapons (as opposed to military “style” assault rifles) the drug lords are using are already banned in America. As always, the academician (Lott) pummels misleading pro-gun control statements with facts. Facts. And more facts.

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Leaving Home – Chapter Three

I learned to be a sailor, cruising the azul Atlantic waters down the coast of Portugal and crossing the Mediterranean. My Quartermaster title did not absolve me of any crew duties. First Mate Piest made certain of that. There were twelve of us at his command. He rotated us through every duty station in eight-hour shifts. Myself excepted, the crew worked with the fluidity, timing, and toughness of the Green Bay Packers on Lambeau Field. But day by day, I learned the play book and the coach spent less time chewing me out.

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