The 7th Cavalry Regiment departed Fort Leavenworth on August 18, 1868 and moved by rail and horse to Fort Dodge, Kansas. (Custer’s Best: The Story of Company M, 7th Cavalry at the Little Bighorn)
I had a great life spending over thirty years in the Army; I was able to help defend the country in two wars with a bunch of tremendous soldiers and any success I may have had was due to each and every one of them; as I frequently tell my friends — I am no hero, but I served with heroes and that you can’t do any better than that. I was also able to see the world, help develop complex technology and understand that I lived in a pretty special country. The only downside to all that Army time was that after I retired, doing regular day-to-day living was pretty boring.
So I started to write. It didn’t and doesn’t bring you much money, but it sure has been interesting traveling around the country and the world to chase after historical mysteries. I came across a page or two in some World War II history books, for example, on some special Waffen-SS unit in World War II that was composed of criminals let out of jail — but there were not that many details about it — and by luck I ran into detailed records of the unit buried in our National Archives. That led to The Cruel Hunters: SS-Sonderkommando Dirlewanger Hitler’s Most Notorious Anti-Partisan Unit.
Several more books on Germany in World War II followed: the dark side with works on concentration camps, Einsatzkommandos, and the Destruction of the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto, and more-traditional writings on Luftwaffe Knights Cross winners and U-Boat sailors. That was fun, because I was able to interview many of them.
On a trip out to the Little Bighorn, I began to wonder what life was like for the basic enlisted cavalryman. All the existing books talked about officers — George Custer, Marcus Reno and Frederick Benteen — but what about the hundreds of privates and sergeants? That search led to Custer’s Best: The Story of Company M, 7th Cavalry at the Little Bighorn, which was able to win the John M. Carroll Award.
Then, in 2001, I discovered U.S. Army records that were languishing outside Washington, D.C. that contained the story of 96 American soldiers who were court-martialed in Europe and North Africa in World War II and subsequently executed by the Army — not the German Army, but our own Army. And they were buried in a secret cemetery northwest of Paris that is not shown on any map! It took me a decade to run down all the loose ends, but we finally got the story, which led to The Field Field: The Story of the 96 American Soldiers Sentenced to Death and Executed in Europe and North Africa in World War II, which subsequently received the Lieutenant General Richard G. Trefry Award. In fact, if you only read one of the books, read this one!
More recently, I stumbled across a little known battlefield in southeast Montana on a bed & breakfast ranch, and just turned in into Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Gold and Guns: The 1874 Yellowstone Wagon Road and Prospecting Expedition and the Battle of Lodge Grass Creek. It is the saga of a Montana wagon train in Montana in 1874 that was searching for gold. The 150 gold miners, buffalo hunters and Civil War veterans did not find any gold, but they did run into Sitting Bull and 1,400 of his closest friends.
I just helped a great friend finish his own mystery on the murder of Tsar Nicholas II (it didn’t happen the way the Bolsheviks claimed it did,) as well as analyzing the Little Bighorn Cook-Benteen Note (it might have been “doctored” after the battle.) His book just came out.
Finished a massive book on the German offensive at Verdun in 1916, but so far have been unable to contract with a publisher, so if you know of one that might be interested let me know!
More successful is a book, which should come out in early 2019, a biography of Master Sergeant John C. Woods, the U.S. Army hangman in Europe at the end of World War II, who stayed on to hang numerous Nazi war criminals at Landsberg and Nürnberg in 1945-46.
Now I am working on a book on the Tiger tank crews of the 2nd SS Panzer Corps at the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. This will be the first work concentrating on the crews, rather than the tank; so far we have discovered 166 crewmen that road on these super tanks.
Another observation I made while in the Army was that the world is a dangerous place and unfortunately a lot of that danger is coming to our own country. September 11, 2001 should have been a wake-up call, but too many lessons have already been forgotten and acts of terror now occur in large cities and small towns across the country. So I have also started several projects to help people organize their thoughts on personal protection (such as the new Walther PPQ M2 .45 ACP pistol,) and how we might want to analyze some of these enemies to our nation (click on S,W&T, which stands for Strategy, Weapons and Tactics).
The Murder of Tsar Nichols II and His Family 1918
(July 11, 2018) After a lifetime of research, and final research lasting a decade, the Romanovs’ Murder Case: The Myth of the Basement Room Massacre solves the mystery of the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family is finally out. And what a book it is. The Romanovs’ Murder Case destroys the myth that the entire family, plus a number of personal servants, were shot together in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918. Lawyer and author T. G. Bolen, using architectural analysis determines that the basement murder room simply was not wide enough to allow for the Bolshevik version of events. Enlisting a state police forensic handwriting expert, he has concluding that the last entry of the Tsarina into her diary was probably done later by another person, thus putting the accepted timeline into question. Finally, he presents the fascinating career of an American Army military intelligence officer, Major Homer H. Slaughter.
Interviewing Colonel Slaughter’s family, the author found physical pieces of evidence that support that Homer Slaughter was actually in the Ipatiev House withing hours of the crime, and that Slaughter determined that some people were murdered there, but that murders occurred in at least two rooms. Slaughter’s personnel file at the National Archives in St. Louis, revealed that Slaughter received a promotion to Colonel and in the 1930s was the chief of Army Intelligence for the Far East. A master of many languages, an expert map-maker, with probably a photographic memory, Homer Slaughter was America’s “James Bond” without the glitz or pretension. During his career, he intercepted a proposed treaty between Japan and Russia, appeared throughout Asia in the most dangerous places and face great dangers. Once, in Harbin, China, he was being followed by a Japanese secret service agent. Slipping away to his Chinese contact, he informed him of the problem. The next morning, Homer heard a knock on his hotel door, but when he opened the door, no one was there — only a medium sized box. He took the box into the room and opened it. Inside was the head of the agent who had been following him! In true Slaughter style, Homer closed the box, dressed and took the closed box downstairs to the hotel concierge with instructions to deliver the box to the Japanese consulate!
However, the most important contribution to history by Homer Slaughter was not exposing a treaty or engaging in the “Great Game” of the 1930s between the intelligence assets of the United States and Japan, but in an innocuous small, glass slide used in presentations to selected military audiences in the 1930s. It is a depiction of an architectural drawing of the second floor of the Ipatiev House, the floor in which the Russian royal family resided during their final stay in the Ipatiev House. Homer personally modified the floorplan, and it is this modification, shown in the book as Plate 4A, that will forever change the way in which historians view the final moments of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.