RALEIGH, N.C. — The man police say walked into a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday morning and shot members of the congregation was a former Fort Bragg soldier with two good conduct awards and five achievement medals…
At the time of his discharge, Page was a psychological-operations specialist. Garcia said psychological operations soldiers provide their commanders with the ability to communicate information to large audiences by radio, television, leaflets and loudspeakers. In the field, these soldiers rely on language skills, regional orientation and knowledge of communications media to deliver information.
Your average non-veteran, reading this, might wonder how a homicidal racist with the I.Q. of a rutabaga could have functioned successfully in such a sophisticated military unit. I may be able help you out on this one.
Page’s old outfit was the Fourth Psychological Operations Group. My own old outfit, back in the mid-1950s, was the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion. It was also at Fort Bragg, also in the Special Warfare Center, and had the same official mission described above by Garcia.
Back when I was there the Special Warfare Center maintained a small library of books, leaflets, and other material bearing on psychological warfare. One day a new commanding officer inspected it, and was appalled by the sloppy appearance of the shelves.
“What the hell is this, sergeant?” the colonel said. “Why aren’t those books dressed?”
To dress, in military terminology, is to form a straight line left to right in order of height.