Redwoods Treewalk (2017, first trip to gather

resources and 2019, second trip with the book published

and in print)

​Many thanks to Bruce, Jamie, and all the Redwoods

Treewalk staff in Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand for

this most fantastic experience to walk among the redwoods.

Two years ago, David Yeomans, my principal character in

my sixth book, The Path of Aotearoa New Zealand, and I

had our first experience to walk the suspension bridges and

explore the trees above ground and below while I researched for The Path of Aotearoa New Zealand. And now two years later, we returned with book in hand to enjoy that same experience of 'taking in the forest atmosphere.' If one suffers from Nature Deficit Syndrome, then come to the Redwoods Treewalk to find the cure. Most highly recommended as this setting provides the healing environment...…. EVER.... as the fictional Aundi and Daniel exclaim in the book. Trees provide the healing touch for those with anxiety or stress as they capture all our senses. Breathe in the fresh smells, hear a bird sing, the sound of moving leaves, feel the texture of the bark. It awakens something in all of us. The Redwoods Treewalk gives new meaning to the adage hug a tree to feel better as the tree hugs you back.

There is great excitement these days around the Treewalk as the new addition will come on line in 2020. David and I were thrilled with the personal tour of the new section under construction. Jamie, the general manager, explained the section has greater height to explore, themed bridges, and several gentle ziplines to use between a number of tress to feel the freedom of flight as one experiences from a bird's eye view perspective. Utterly fantastic!

Te Aroha Mineral Springs Spa, North Island New Zealand

Many thanks to Diana, the spa attendant at Te Aroha Spa in Te Aroha as one of the characters in The Path of Aotearoa New Zealand. I met Diana and Jan, not present in the photo and now retired the day David and I went to the spa so I could learn about balneology. Balneology!?! Weren't we going to a spa commented the Aundi and Daniel characters in the book? Why, of course! Balneology is the study and therapeutic practice of mineral waters and the gases in combination with the knowledge of medicine, chemistry, geology and physics. It is more than just a spa experience.

So, Diana and Jan explained it all as we were given a tour of the Victorian-architectural buildings two years ago, 2017.

It was my pleasure to give Diana the book that came into reality as part of my children's series.

Te Aroha comes from the Maori name for Mount Te Aroha. The myth notes the ancestor of the local tribe who climbed the mountain and saw his homeland in the distance. He felt such a sense of love (aroha) and peace upon seeing it. Te Aroha is often referred to in English as 'place of love.'


L-R Henry Gole, Mike Blackwell, Dan Thompson, Joe Pamer, Shirley Williams, Robert Dumont, Steve Sherman, Ti.It Meyer, Gamble Dick


​The SPECIAL OPERATIONS ASSOCIATION (SOA), established in 1977, is a fraternal veteran's organization of past and present American and Allied military personnel who have conducted special operations in a combat environment.  My interest in and involvement with this association stems not only from my long career as the military wife of a US Marine but also my interest in war history and battlefields,

For a number of years, I have been assisting in the mission to preserve Special Operations history through the SOA Video History Project which sets to capture the oral history of those events before those who were a part of that history are lost. 

At the recent SOA Reunion held in Las Vegas, NV, I was invited to attend the SOA Author's Book Signing Event along with a number of other authors.  It was an honor to be invited and celebrated!​

Copyright Watermark Resources LLC, Tucson, AZ. All Rights Reserved.

Taken from the SOA Reunion Author's Signing Event guide: 

On Tuesday, 22 October 2019 during the conduct of SOAR XLIII, seven (7) SOA Authors took advantage of a new program initiated by the SOA Board commencing with SOARXLIII.

The response was outstanding, both from the Authors point of view, and the SOA Members and Guests who elected to listen to the Authors tout their latest book(s). The Authors were all given a minimum of 10-15 minutes to promote their respective book(s), and then_ following all presentations, answered any queries from the audience. Additi01fally, each of the authors donated an autographed copy of their book(s) to the SOA Archives for which the SOA Board was very appreciative. Thank you gentlemen, and our very own Shirley Williams.

Following the program, the SOA established two (2) tables in the SOA Vendor Area where all Authors had an opportunity to autograph, and sell their respective book during the conduct of SOAR:

Dan M. Thompson, SOA # 3046-GL - (POC via email: tmael@rcn.com):

Dan's book, "Colors of War & Peace", is available only on Amazon, ($15.), and is a collection of short stories, that spans the long divide between chaos and community. Assigned to Top Secret, Studies and Observation Group, (SOG) during the Vietnam War, the Author returned home to school, family and career. Convinced that Chapter closed, the Author forgot and forged on. But the arc of his war had not reached its apogee. Driven by an addiction for risk and desire to reorder his war, the Author shares stories of his inexorable crash. Illuminating and powerful, these stories provide an intimate portrayal of how memories once buried, rise again from the dead.

Gamble C. Dick, SOA # 2553-GL - (POC via email: gcil3@att.net):

Gamble's book "A Glorious Nightmare", is available through CLC Publishing, LLC, Mustang, Oklahoma 73064. In 1965 while working as a surgical orderly at the local hospital, Gamble C. Dick enlisted in the U.S. Army with the intention of becoming a Special Forces (Green Beret) Medic. Along the way he diverted to Officer Candidate School and became an Infantry Officer before proceeding to Special Forces. In the fall of 1967, after much training and preparation, he went to the war zone in Vietnam. He was assigned to a Top-Secret project known as MACVSOG.

His primary job was to lead Cambodian mercenaries on combat missions against the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos. Years later, after the confidentiality of the assignment had expired, he started writing something about it for his grandchildren. The memories came flooding back and it became a book about some great and courageous men. Not famous, but better than famous. They believed in something greater than themselves and put their country and brothers before all else including their own safety. They were men of honor. They were heroes! This is their story as he remembers it...

Henry G. Gole, SOA # 291-GA - (POC via email: golehg@aol.com):  

Henry's book, "Legacy of Lies, Over the Fence n Laos", is available at  Amazon  and  Barnes & Noble in  paper, and  eBook.  Henry has four (4) other books that are available via Amazon. Henry wrote his book on the premise of three (3) questions:

•          "Why he wrote about SOG",
•          "Why he, as an Academic Historian wrote it as a novel", and
•          "What is the premise of the Novel?"

He wrote about SOG because he was an unabashed admirer of the skill, courage, and character of the men he knew at CCC, (Command and Control Central) in Kontum. In a career that commenced with Basic Training in 1952, and ceasing with retirement in 1988, he had gratifying positions with troops in Europe and Asia; in the Pentagon; in the American Embassy in Bonn, Germany; and teaching at West Point, and the Army War College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The brainy jobs absorbed him, but reflecting on his 36 years as he prepared for retirement from the Army, he saw the men. The best thing about the Army to a 19-year old BAR man in Korea was the men; the best thing about the Army to a 55-year old Colonel, was the men. Standing reveille and retreat with the men of the 10th Special Forces Group in Prince Heinrich Kaserne in the mid- 1960's was the thrill each time he did it. So was living in 1970 with Franklin Miller, Bob Howard, Ruff, Don Green, Mike Shepherd, Joe Walker, Robbie, John Kinstry, Pete Landon, Heinz Roesch, Fritz Krupa, Chuck Behler, little Bemis, Mike Rose, Jim Storter, Ken Locke, Ron Tom, and First Sergeant Billy Greenwood. Memorial services in Vietnam from 1966 to 1971 for dead Comrades-in-Arms were potent stuff. Taps at night at Arlington - hell anytime - ripped his guts. Was it worth it? Yeah. Why? The Men. It was always the Men. Now, Henry considers himself as an "Old Geezer", and time to write his book. There may not be a next year.

He wrote his SOG story as fiction because his Army refused to declassify SOG records of "Cross Border Operations". DOD and DA did not wish to open a "can of worms" during the social turmoil that characterized the period 1967 onward. Recalling the bad old days: Combat refusals and racial issues in Vietnam; a US Navy ship and crew captured by North Korea; ignominious evacuations of Saigon in 1975. And, in the US; Detroit and LA in flames; riots in Chicago; the White House surrounded by war protestors chanting, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many babies did you kill today?"; students burning draft cards and ROTC buildings and occupying university offices in Madison, Berkley, and Columbia. The   Green   Beret in 1966 was a Badge of Honor. In 1970, the Special Forces soldier might be called a baby­ killer. The Army was a gang that couldn't shoot straight. Conscription came to an end. The role of women in the military changed. A recruiting slogan said: "The Army will join you." There was talk of beer in barracks. The years following the war were not a happy time for the US Army.  Until the first Gulf War in 1991, it had been almost half a century since America had a war terminating with a win. Henry was able to get a quick look at the SOG files in 1988 in the bowels of the Pentagon, enough time to confirm that they existed, and to copy some titles of file folders. He proposed declassification, and that he write the history of SOG. That was a "no-go". In his opinion, it was a missed opportunity to tell a story reflecting great credit on the US military. He licked his wounds, and published four (4) non-fiction books, and many articles and reviews on other subjects. But, he commenced writing, editing, and rewriting his SOG story as fiction.

The tactics and techniques he described are authentic. So is the spirit of the time - in the camp, in the boondocks, and in the bars, including Janus Joplin wailing "Me & Bobby McGhee". His characters are composites of men he had known for 36 years of soldiering. The scenario for the plot is entirely invented. It never happened.

Without spoiling "Legacy of Lies", here's the premise. It's 1970. US Forces are drawing down. Vietnamization is the buzzword. A CCC recon team locates a segment of the enemy's main supply route in Laos near the Tri-border area without a parallel trail of any kind. This is highly unusual. OP-35 in Saigon proposes a SOG blocking force on the trail with maximum air support. The objective is to interrupt flow of enemy logistics into the Republic of Vietnam. The plan is approved up and down the chain of command from Kontum to Saigon to Honolulu to JCS and the White House. There is one major proviso: "plausible denial by political authority. The operation is a great success, but there are two (2) major glitches: weather turns bad, even measured by Central Highlands standards; and a journalist exposes the mission, and the history of US border violations, that is, lies by the US Government. A knock-down, drag-out battle ensues in awful weather.


It is now year 2000 in Las Vegas as SOAR meets 30-years later. Surviving field operators learn the details of decisions made in Washington. Staff planners learn what happened on the ground in Laos. There are a couple of surprises. Read the book, and tell your friends about it.

Joe F. Parnar, SOA #  1041-GL - (POC via email:ifparnaro1@gmail.com):

Joe's book, "SOG Medic", is available on Amazon, (Hardcover -$26.21, Kindle Edition, $11.99), and was written to document a small portion of SOG operations in the 1968-'69 time period, and provide an insight into the actions of some truly outstanding men in as accurate and factual manner as possible. Joe was born in Gardner, Massachusetts, and has lived there his entire life. After the military, he completed his education at the University of Massachusetts, and graduated with a BA in Physical Education. He was employed at Simplex Time Recorder Company in Gardner, for 25 years, retiring in 1996. He is a member of the American Legion, and served as Commander of Post 129 in 1989, and 1990. He is a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam, Veterans of America, and the Special Forces and Special Operations Association. His Co-Author, Robert Dumont is an Oklahoma native, and a graduate of Tulsa University. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, and is retired after a 32-year career with the New York Public Library. He is the author of  two (2) works of fiction, "Borough of Churches", and "NYC Transit(s); and co-author with Jerry Krizan of "BACSI; A Green Beret Medic's War in Vietnam".

Mike Blackwell, SOA # 1007-GA - (POC via email: mike@sovereignpress.net):

Mike's book, "Treason By Lies, Deceit and Fraud", is available through Sovereign Press, Denton, Texas, and is a compilation of events as described by the Author in his endeavor to awaken America. He further describes the International Banking and Legal Conspiracy against America. The U.S. Congress has been assembling unlawfully since 1861. Since 1861, martial (military) law has prevailed in the United States. Since then, international bankers and members of the bar association have conspired to take control of America. In "Treason By Lies, Deceit and Fraud", Mike Blackwell states = Abraham Lincoln ignored the Constitution by convening Congress under military law... and the precedent has continued to this day. The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is a privately owned corporation organized under the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. The US legal profession is actually governed by the British Accredited Registry in London, England in conjunction with the Vatican for their own financial profit and control. Every U.S. citizen by law is a slave of the corporate state known as the United States of America. The original government formed by our founding fathers was unincorporated. Why is it incorporated now? Does this matter? Absolutely! Learn how the American people lost their freedom and how they can regain it again. An American National by birth, Mike Blackwell served his country in the Army's 5th Special Forces Group, MACVSOG in the Republic of Vietnam before launching a career in real estate. He resides in Denton, Texas where he continues the fight for freedom and liberty.

John S. "Tilt" Meyer. SOA #492-GA - (POC via email: idahoonezero@ sbcglobal.net) and (Personal Website: www.sogchronicles.com):

John's three (3) books, "Across the Fence. The Secret War in Vietnam", "On the Ground, The Secret War in Vietnam", and "SOG Chronicles, Volume One", are all available through Amazon, both in Paperback, and eBooks:

"Across The Fence, The Secret War in Vietnam" - Expanded Edition. Written by John Stryker Meyer. The Book covers entering the secret war with stories on FOB-1 recon teams running SOG missions. ST Alabama vs 10,000 NVA; The Frenchman, shot four (4) times in the back by NVA; Touched by NVA.

"On the Ground, The Secret War in Vietnam" - co-authored by John Stryker Meyer and John Peters.  First book on NVA sapper attack at FOB-4, 23 August 1968, NVA asks RT Lion to pull guard duty, RT Idaho tracked by Orangutans.

"SOG Chronicles, Volume One" - written by John Stryker Meyer. The center piece is "Operation Tailwind", with Mike Rose, MOH recipient; Cliff Newman returns to Laos to search for RT Intruder MIA's, and a Ben Baker profile.

Shirley Williams, Outstanding SOA Supporter - (POC via email: soulhealersw@gmail.com):

Shirley Williams books - "The Come With Me Series": consisting of seven (7) Books is an Educational adventure, travel log, compilation of history, local folklore, background of places as seen through the eyes of a military child growing up in a household that moves when one, or both parents receive orders from one I military assignment to the next. Each book contains the magic that changes the ordinary into the extraordinary along the way. 98% is true and the rest is magic.

BOOKS ONE, and TWO are written about the desert surroundings of Tucson, Arizona.

BOOKS THREE, and FOUR are written on an isolated farm in Springville. Indiana. These two (2) books are now in a time capsule at the Lawrence County Museum of History in Bedford, Indiana to be opened in 2068. We all hope children will still be reading books then.

BOOK FIVE takes place in Point Loma, California where Nana lives. This area south of San Diego, and my readers who travel to San Diego take the book and follow Aundi's and Daniel's adventures. How fun is that?!

BOOK SIX takes place on the North Island of New Zealand in the premise that they search for the elusive blue faerie penguin. Along the way they learn culture, the society, the land, and Maori mythology.

BOOK SEVEN takes place in the Land Down Under, Australia. Shirley lived in Canberra for five (5) years, and has friends scattered everywhere so they all had Chapters to bring Australia to life. She also had lived among the aborigines, the Pitjanjara in the Outback.