Green Beret Adventure School, Thailand. At a Special Forces camp toward the end of the Vietnam War where MSgt. Howard Upchurch is spending part of his amnesty after coming back into the CIA fold.  Howard, center of picture, left leg raised, is instructing the children of the American Embassy in Bangkok and a few officers’ children how to rappel. He created the Adventure School because “the kids” had absolutely nothing to do,” and because his team was in limbo between missions, stagnating.

Shortly after this picture was taken, Sgt. Synder, demonstrating a maneuver off the rappel tower, smashed into the ground when his rope overstretched. He suffered a fatal coma.

“Even the best among us, and Sgt. Synder was, can’t escape a freak accident,” Howard told the stricken children, calming them, making them face the tragedy straight on. “We’ll go on with the lesson.  And later … we’ll grieve. It’s now or never.”

And the children, one by one, climbed the tower with their SFs and went on.
Ref. Tapes 11, 17, 60, old tape 61.


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