Coconut Grove, Miami. July 1965
The black limousine entered the high walled compound through gates guarded by highly trained men equipped with holstered Colt 1911 pistols and Uzi sub-machine guns, and pulled under the mansions porte-cochere, allowing the passengers to exit the vehicle.
The four men were escorted into the spacious manor and down a wide hallway to a wood-paneled study, with walls lined with rare first-edition books. Hundreds of hardcover manuscripts covering science, literature, art, history, and volumes of encyclopedias detailing in-depth information on every country in the world. Once seated in comfortable Victorian era chairs, they waited patiently for the man they had come to call on.
All four gentlemen were highly placed advisors to the President, and it was on his orders that they had come to Miami.
Wallace Throckmorton, a portly fifty-one-year-old man, not over 5’10” was in charge of the South/Central American and the Caribbean Basin division of the U.S. State Department.
Fred Patchoulis, 6’3” was fifty-three years of age and skinny as a beanpole, with eyes that never stopped moving, held the post of CIA station chief in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Bannister Hollings, the oldest of the group, was sixty-one, 5’11” of solid build, but with a red nose that betrayed evidence of his fondness for distilled beverages, had been the CIA station chief in Bogotá, Colombia for almost a decade.
General Mack Davidson, stiff and starched at 6’4” was the commander of U.S. Army Forces Southern Command (CINCSOUTH), which directed all U.S. military programs in Latin America with oversight of the Caribbean Basin.
In less than a minute, the door of the luxurious study opened, and Lucius McGee entered the room. A very fit and tanned, sixty-four years old, standing a straight and tall 6’1” was the proprietor and director of a private military group based in San Miguelito, Panama. He had held the rank of colonel in U.S. Military Intelligence until 1947 when he was asked to end his military career and resign his commission to join the newly formed Central Intelligence Agency. He then worked as a field operative throughout Europe and then later as the station chief in Buenos Aries, Argentina.
In 1964 he left the agency, recognizing the need for a deniable group to operate in South and Central America and the Caribbean, that could work outside the bounds of the U.S. Military, and thus not subject to international treaties and protocols. He began recruiting elite military and intelligence personnel from around the world to assist and train a force that could provide executive protection details for businessmen and government officials, gather intelligence on communist activities and train the armies of U.S. friendly third world countries in current weapons and military tactics.
He named his company, The Organization, and based it in Panama, but maintained the company’s headquarters at his large estate in Miami.
All four visitors stood as Lucius stepped forward, hand extended. “Hello, Wallace. I didn’t know you were bringing reinforcements to our little soiree.”
“I didn’t want to scare you off, Lucius. You know all the boys, don’t you?” Wallace asked.
“Why, yes. How are you, Fred?” Lucius asked, shaking the bony hand of Guatemala’s agency head.
“I’m good, Lucius. But I would be even better if you could send me some proper help. The commies are getting stronger on the banana plantations.”
“Well, maybe I can help you. Long time no see, Bannister. How’s it holding in Colombia?”
“Not well, Lucius. But we’ll talk of that here shortly.”
“Very well, then,” Lucius remarked. “Good to see you, Mack. I told you I’d buy you a steak the next time you were in Miami. I’ll make sure the chef prepares a nice thick one for you later.”
“That would be great, Lucius. We didn’t intend to put you out,” the general commented, “but we know you lay out a pretty good spread here at your place.”
“How about a little toddy to wet your whistle before we get down and dirty?” Lucius asked, and the words were no sooner off his tongue when the door opened, and a liveried waiter brought in a tray with five glasses and an unopened bottle of Dewar’s 12-year-old scotch whiskey.
“That would be great, Lucius,” Wallace chimed in, smiling, “I see you saved back a bottle of the good stuff for us.”
“Only the best for you boys, Lucius chuckled, as he poured a hefty measure in each glass and handed it around. When all had a tumbler of the golden liquor in hand, Lucius offered a toast, “To good times and bad, my old friends, and better times ahead.”
“Here, here,” the men echoed their assent, as they all took seats, and sipped the rich blend.
“Now,” Lucius began, “what brings you scoundrels here to see me today?”
“Lucius,” Wallace Throckmorton began, “when I called you yesterday to arrange this meet with you, we had all just left a high-level meeting with the president. We have some problems that are getting worse by the day in Latin America and the Caribbean, and we are hoping you can help us out.
“You must have a good crystal ball because when you left the agency, I don’t think any of us here could have guessed, or should I say, had the foresight to envision a need for a group like you are putting together.”
“Well, that sounds good to me, Wallace, but can you be more specific,” Lucius asked.
“If I may, Wallace,” the general spoke up, “we all go back a long way with Lucius. Let’s just throw our cards on the table face up.”
“You’re right, Mack,” Wallace continued, “Lucius, we asked the president for the use of the military to combat several different problems we are facing in our joint areas of operation, and he shut us down completely. The problems in Southeast Asia are taking all of his energy, and he doesn’t want to go to Congress for authorization for what needs to be done, so he told us flat out, find another way that doesn’t leave an American footprint. So, we are coming to you for help.”
“Alright. Tell me what you need, and we’ll see if I can provide a fix for your problem.” Lucius said.
“First of all,” Fred Patchoulis spoke up, “The commies are beginning to get a foothold in Guatemala and Honduras. The Cubans are sending in advisors with training from the Russkies, and small groups are spreading dissent among the peasant workers. We need someone to come in and make the troublemakers disappear quietly. Just cease to exist.”
“And on my turf,” Bannister Hollings cut in, “The gangs in Colombia are starting to work with the resistance rebel army they are calling FARC. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the buggers are financing their arms purchases from… you guessed it, Cuba, by kidnapping for ransom every foreigner they can grab who they think has some money. The ransom demands started as chicken scratch, and the governments made the mistake of paying them thinking the problem would go away, but now they are starting to ask for some serious money, and it’s only going to get worse, I’m afraid. I need you available to go find the hostages, rescue them, and put the kidnappers out of business permanently.”
“And if that wasn’t enough,” the Assistant Secretary of State, Wallace Throckmorton continued, “in the Caribbean Basin we’ve got a piracy problem that is about to make big headlines if something isn’t done soon. Almost weekly yachts are disappearing, or in some cases, all the crew members are massacred on the boats, and the vessels are ransacked. If this news gets out, the tourists will stop coming into the region on vacation. We’ve got dozens of little island nations that depend on those tourist dollars. We’re talking billions of dollars here. If that happens, the whole region will turn into a bunch of little Haiti’s.
“We’ve started to promote a backdoor theory about supernatural occurrences in the region we are labeling, The Bermuda Triangle, just to divert the attention of the public from what is really going on, but the jury is still out on how well that’s going to go over.
“We need you to rid those waters of that threat before it becomes an even bigger problem. Just make it go away without any fanfare.”
“I can’t help you with anything on the books,” Mack said, “but we’ve got slush money from the CIA that is set aside for black operations, totally off the books and more importantly, off the radar of Congress. They’ll never know, or care for that matter. I can get you anything you need, arms, logistics, air transport, you name it. Just not personnel, that you will have to supply. You name the price for your work, and we’ll pay it, no questions asked.”
The room went silent for a minute as all eyes focused on Lucius McGee. Finally, he spoke, “I think I can solve all of your headaches, with the guarantee that I operate with full immunity from prosecution by any government, and that my people are not suppressed by any damn rules of engagement. If that can happen, I do believe I can solve all of your problems.
“Now, let’s go have dinner, and we’ll work out the details of this program later with full stomachs and a snifter of good cognac.”
Late that evening, the five men hammered out a plan for the most extensive black operation ever devised in the Americas. Only a handful of people would ever be read in on the top-secret undertaking. The American public’s attention was so focused on Vietnam and Southeast Asia that they never realized what was happening in their own backyard.