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Up Close And Personal With Saddam
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Reviewed on 2004-07-12
Vince Koehler recalls two stories about Saddam, the evil ruler of Iraq.

First is an interview with pilot Jim Tenpenny, an officer who was involved with the capture and transportation of Saddam Hussein from that now famous hiding place in Iraq.

At the time, Jim was commander of a Blackhawk Flight Company with the 4th Infantry Division stationed near Saddam's hometown of Tikrit. Two crews from CPT Tenpenny's command were called to transport the high value target to an undisclosed location. They did not know who they were transporting until the next day.

The next day, 60 media people were flown in. Colonel Hicke, Brigade Commander of the ground troops allowed crew members to check out this now famous "Spider hole" and get historic pictures. Jim's crew flew various media personnel to take aerial shots.

Jim Tenpenny is a captain in the Army, recently stationed at Ft. Leavenworth who was a guest at the recent Air Show in Kansas City. He was a sergeant with the 82nd Airborne in the first gulf war. He returned home to finish school in St. Joseph, Missouri and went back as a lieutenant in Flight School.

Jim commented it was great we turned over the power and allowed the Iraqi people to take control of their government. He thought we could still help them for a while. This is great news for Iraq and the world.

He commented how his crew didnít know it was Saddam at the time of transporting him out of the cave because a bag had been kept over his head. Jim was surprised at the change in appearance from when he saw Saddamís rugged looks on TV after being captured and now how he is all cleaned up, shaven and looking presentable.

In Jimís opinion he thought we saw a typical Saddam on television, a typical dictator being defiant to the Judge who stood his ground as well. Saddam wants nothing to do with a coalition trial and doesn't want anything said about the coalition forces. Saddam doesn't feel like he did anything wrong because he invaded Kuwait to save his people. It is amazing to Jim how he is still defiant after all he has done. It was a real honor meeting and speaking with Captain Jim Tenpenny.


SHOW ME HUSSEIN'S CASH! (Second story about Saddam)

My cousin, Captain Matthew D. Koehler, was responsible for processing the funds found with Saddam Hussein after his capture in Iraq. Matt works as an assistant operations officer for the 4th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. Matt joined the service after graduating from my old alma mater Rockhurst High School. Matt was an enlisted man before being accepted at West Point. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1998 and served with the 82nd Airborne before joining the 4th Infantry recently.

Matt said there was a boatload of cash tucked in with Saddam in that tiny spider hole in the ground. He was glad to share a little bit of history in this famous incident in Iraq. It was great to see the Koehler family shared some historical notoriety.

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