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General who was held hostage now an example of how to survive -- Brig. Gen. James Dozier
Stars and Stripes ^ | August 5, 2005 | Nancy Montgomery

Posted on 08/04/2005 10:27:55 PM PDT by Former Military Chick

In U.S. military anti-terrorism training currently under way, the American general kidnapped by Italy’s Red Brigades and held captive for six weeks is used as an example both of what to do and what not to do.

He was an exemplary hostage, who “maintained his composure and survived…,” according to the anti-terrorism training materials.

Yet Brig. Gen. James Dozier had been studied for a month by the leftist group before his kidnapping in December 1981. The terrorists considered kidnapping three other U.S. generals but “chose Dozier because his personal security was less rigorous,” the training materials say.

Dozier, now 76, a retired major general and a resident of Fort Myers, Fla., is OK with that.

“I’ve continued to be involved in the dynamics of international terrorism,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I teach hostage avoidance, and hostage survival, if you screw it up like I did.”

Dozier says he erred, along with others, in taking the threat of terrorism too lightly — especially when, as he says, the Red Brigades announced each fall a season of terrorist activity, with the aim of destabilizing the government.

Generals in Naples and Vicenza, Italy, were better protected, he said, living on base or with a security detail. But Dozier, then a brigadier general working for NATO, lived with his wife, Judy, in a penthouse apartment in Verona and had only an armed driver as security.

“Verona had been a backwater for years. ... We didn’t think we were threatened,” Dozier said.

“We were wrong, but we just didn’t take the threat seriously.”

Dozier’s kidnappers, after previously appearing at his door selling soap and reading the water meter — “indicators,” in retrospect, he said — got into the apartment by posing as plumbers. Dozier let them in, and “things went downhill from there,” Dozier said.

Dozier was trucked to an apartment in Padua. His captors made him wear headphones with music playing 24 hours a day. But they weren’t especially vicious, he said.

“They first started out with hard-rock tapes. It was awful,” he said. “I’d argue with the guards, and they’d turn the volume down. Finally, they changed to Gershwin tapes. At least the music was better.”

He and his captors didn’t talk much, he said, but he worked to make them see him as a human being, not just some military-political symbol — something he recommends when he gives talks such as the one he gave in Stuttgart last year for the U.S. Air Force’s Joint Special Operations University.

“There were two things I did: I was continuously asking about my wife; pretty soon they started bringing me news clippings about what she was doing,” Dozier said. “The other thing I did was to make myself a more reliable prisoner.” That meant he made himself predictable so his captors saw him as less threatening.

Dozier didn’t worry too much about being killed because usually the Red Brigades released its captives.

“It’s just like combat,” he said. “You do the best you can, rather than worrying about what’s going to happen.”

After he was freed in a raid carried out by Italy’s caribinieri police, Dozier said, he met with Gen. Frederick Kroesen, U.S. Army Europe commander who himself survived an assassination attempt in Heidelberg, to discuss security.

“The generals were running around carrying machine guns in their cars,” Dozier said. Kroesen was concerned that might lead to trouble.

“We decided it was better to rely on our security details than be John Wayne ourselves,” Dozier said.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antiterrorism; hostage; jamesdozier
He was an exemplary hostage, who “maintained his composure and survived…,” according to the anti-terrorism training materials.

I am glad he is OK with it, but still, what a contribution to help teach other's!!

1 posted on 08/04/2005 10:27:56 PM PDT by Former Military Chick
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To: Former Military Chick

I remember how he complained about having to listen to a bunch of Blondie tapes (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein, Clem Burke, etc).

After his rescue, there was a fictionalized letter in National Lampoon "from" General Dozier, with him quoting his hostage diary "Day 27 - that Chris Stein is a genius".


2 posted on 08/04/2005 10:43:08 PM PDT by Numbers Guy
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To: Numbers Guy
I don't remember the outcry from Amnesty International about this barbaric use of torture...

Thankfully Dozier wasn't severely traumatized with wearing panties on his head...

...and if he was, you think any Leftist group would come to his aid?
3 posted on 08/04/2005 11:03:13 PM PDT by endthematrix ("an ominous vacancy"...I mean, JOHN ROBERTS now fills this space!)
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To: endthematrix
I believe that if you are at War with "Someone" this would work, but we are at War with ghosts that seem to be your next door neighbor today and your shopping mall bomber tomorrow.

Nuke Mecca, Restore the Neighborhood.

I ain't kidd'n, cause I'm too old to go back to humping over that next hill just to kill a few Enemy. (No matter how much I would derive, from it)
4 posted on 08/04/2005 11:39:55 PM PDT by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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