Retired Army Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu was in the Special Forces and saw combat in Vietnam and El Salvador. Now this Green Beret is seeing action as an author, columnist, and speaker from his home base in Florida. His mission stems from a pledge he’s made to the men and women of the American armed forces. He feels they deserve their nation’s support for their role as keepers and creators of freedom.
His third and most recent book, Warrior Police: Rolling with America’s Military Police in the World’s Trouble Spots is set for release on September 13, 2011. It is an inside look at modern military police (MP) units and their often under-reported yet significant role in protecting troops and civilians, fighting insurgents, restoring order and training others to manage new structures and systems to continue with hard won freedoms.
Cucullu’s book brings to light the human interactions MPs forge after the dust of battle clears on the ground and nation building begins. Establishing rule of law in a country requires training local police and helping to create the structures that replace the chaos, looting, and disorder in the wake of the old regimes.
“I subscribe to the theory that you don’t really know a place until you put your boots on the ground there,” says Cucullu. This philosophy and his 13 years of living and serving, up close and personal, in East Asia led to his first book, Separated at Birth.
Inside Gitmo: The True Story behind the Myths of Guantanamo Bay, his second book, was co-authored with lead researcher, Chris Fontana. Cucullu visited the detention facility at Guantanamo five times when preparing for the book’s intense look at the realities of that situation.
To write Warrior Police authentically he chose to be embedded with the military police in Iraq in 2008 and twice more during 2010 in Afghanistan. Fontana had also been embedded during her work as analyst on terrorism issues, and so the author team was granted unique access. Readers get a historical context, direct observation, and stories told by the soldiers themselves about what they have seen and experienced.
Observation of Army life began early for Gordon Cucullu.
“As the son of an Air Force officer and descendant of a long line of military men, I was accustomed to frequent moves. Bounding around from place to place to this day seems natural. Looking back on it, while growing up I was inoculated by the military in a major way.”
His diverse life adventures included raising llamas and alpacas in upstate New York, serving as the Executive Director of the Korea Society in Manhattan, working as an international marketing VP for General Electric in Asia, living in El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Vietnam, Korea, Okinawa, and Japan. He’s been privileged to have traveled to far-reaching corners of the world most have not experienced.
Now in his mid-60s and a warrior at his core, he admires the new generation of soldier and has interesting insights as a result of his field research.
“Make no mistake; the soldiers’ attitude was not toward me as an individual, but as a representative of a generation that they realized had been largely scorned and disparaged by American society. Every unit I rolled with introduced me as a Vietnam vet, as a former Special Forces officer. They took me in more as a legacy than a relic.”
Cucullu characterized today’s soldiers as “smarter, stronger, and more technologically savvy. They are all volunteers, most post-9/11. They are committed to the mission, incredibly courageous, and fully cognizant of the role they are playing in keeping our country safe and secure.”
He is committed to “tell my fellow Americans to the best of my ability how wonderful they are and what sacrifices they are making on our behalf.”
Gordon Cucullu’s websites, books and personal appearances inform everyday citizens about actions they can take to support soldiers, counter the threat of terror within America’s borders, and maintain and restore honor to veterans, especially those who have fought since 9/11.
Together with his wife Chris Fontana, he is co-founder of the Valhalla Project, designed to assist post-9/11 combat soldiers. All profits from Warrior Police will be donated to the Valhalla Project.
Helena Kaufman is a writer and communications trainer.