Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heavily Armed Fake Soldier Nearly Deployed to Afghanistan

Have you ever seen one of those Chihuahuas that run up to a much larger dog ( and really, what dog isn’t much larger) and just start acting like they’re going to rip its throat out?
Well, here in Georgia we have our own version of that little dog who thinks he’s a much larger animal.

AUGUSTA -- The fireplace mantel in Anthony Todd Saxon's rural Georgia home was decorated with ordnance and ammunition. He would put on a combat uniform most mornings sprinkled with honors and insignia and say he was headed to nearby Fort Gordon. And his family came to town last week to say goodbye before he left for what Saxon said was a secretive mission to Iraq or Afghanistan. The problem, prosecutors say, is that Saxon is not the U.S. Army master sergeant that he pretended to be. He hasn't served in the Armed Forces since he was discharged from the Florida National Guard in 1994. But authorities say he visited Fort Gordon in eastern Georgia at least 10 times in the last few months and twice persuaded officials there to give him high-tech military devices.


I was in the Army. I can so see how this might happen. They guy who was ran our Battalion Armory once went to lunch and left the Armory open, For over an hour I could have taken whatever I wanted out of there, including a fifty caliber machine gun. The number of people you want running around with a fifty caliber machine gun is quite low, I assure you of this. Considering the affects it has on things like, oh, let’s say, just about everything without a couple inches of steel plating, the number of sporting events you want something like this used as a noise maker is actually lower than the number of people you’d like running around with one of these devices. Yet here we are…


The case doesn't end there. During a court hearing Monday, prosecutors said they confiscated a camouflage bag from Saxon last week stuffed with a live M-14 anti-personnel mine, flash-bang grenades and night-vision devices. They found more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a Kevlar helmet, among other equipment, in his car. Authorities have not said how they believe he acquired the items.
Saxon was arrested wearing a combat uniform, including rank and insignia, at Fort Gordon last week and charged with impersonating an officer and obtaining a laser targeting sight by telling an officer he was a master sergeant. He also faces charges of stealing a silencer and possessing an explosive and firearms even though he's a convicted felon.


You know, a Master Sergeant is actually quite rare in the Army. It’s not like they mill around like Privates or Second Lieutenants. To get into a mess hall you have to have an ID. Yet this guy, attached to no unit in particular, given orders by no one, apparently played Halloween for the better part of twenty years. If I was a spy working for some other country I’d have my eye on this story in a major sergeant way.


Saxon's attorney, Danny Durham, said his client's obsession with the military warped his mind, but he asserted there is no evidence that Saxon meant "ill will." Saxon's father Hugh said Monday his son was so "passionate" about the military he went to great lengths to convince relatives he was serving.
"He was the only child we had who knew from the day he was born what he wanted to do — he wanted to be in the military," Hugh Saxon said.


I know a Chihuahua who wants to be a Great Dane. You can see where there might be some very serious problems here, don’t you? Is there any reason to believe if this fantasy kept accelerating this guy might have wound up in combat, or thinking he was? By the way, all you only children out there, take note he’s using the “only child” defense.


Prosecutors are not treating the spindly 34-year-old with a military crew cut as a terrorist threat. But the case raises questions about how the military repeatedly allowed a suspected impersonator onto the base. And prosecutors said there is still more to find out from Saxon.
"It raises too many red flags," said Stephen Inman, a federal prosecutor. "He's been carrying on this huge facade for months, pretending to be someone he's not."


Suspected impersonator? Dude! You caught this guy with stuff that goes boom in the night and he isn’t in the military! Raises red flag? That’s like saying we have an oil situation in the Gulf Of Mexico.


At the time of Saxon's arrest, a Fort Gordon spokesman said the base typically allows civilians to enter if they show some form of identification


He talked his way into the Army giving him ammo. I’m thinking actually getting onto the base wasn’t going to be the hard part.


Saxon joined the Florida National Guard after graduating from high school in 1993 and served until he was discharged with a congenital heart problem the next year, his father said.
He was convicted of felony grand theft in Florida in May 1996, and worked several jobs in Florida before moving his family to Keysville, a rural east Georgia town, to live with his brother in November. Authorities did not release details about the 1996 case.


A thief with a heart problem still living with his family who had less than a year of military service with the National Guard was able to convince military people to hand over sensitive equipment and ammo for months if not years and was about to get a ride into combat in Afghanistan
Wow. Just wow.


Neighbors say Saxon wore military fatigues so often they thought he was in the Army, and prosecutors say he convinced his wife Rhonda and the rest of the family that he worked on the base. She refused to comment, but FBI Special Agent Jason Gustin said Saxon told her he was leaving for Afghanistan or Iraq as a civilian contractor on June 17.


We came that close to putting this guy on a plane to a war zone, didn’t we?


His parents and sister came in from Florida to see him off, but two days before his phony departure he was arrested by Fort Gordon authorities who spotted him on the base wearing a uniform dotted with so many honors that it made him seem like a decorated veteran.


I would give real money to find out exactly what gave him away. The three medals of honor, the half dozen purple hearts, or the Space Man Spiff Battle Zone Laser medal for defeating the Marlogs.


Prosecutors say he was able to convince a U.S. Army captain to hand over a laser-sighting scope that he was to use to help train a soldier. And Gustin said he had earlier convinced other military officials to give him night-vision goggles.
After he was arrested, military officials detonated the anti-personnel mine before federal authorities were able to inspect it.


Why would they blow the mine up? Do they not have a storage place for such things? Oh, let’s get rid of the mine, so…
Well, at this point, destruction of evidence is the very least of the Army’s problems here.


But investigators scouring his brother's house found ammunition scattered across the fireplace, two military-style rifles, a handgun, a silencer and five devices containing low-explosive powder. Other weapons were found in the woods behind the house.


That’s where I keep my ammo, near a fire. Uh, anyone here know who the former commander of Fort Gordon will be anytime soon? I would so fire a lot of someones over this.


Saxon's family and attorneys tried to convince a judge to grant him bond so he could get psychiatric counseling.
"One of the things he's never been able to get over is that he's never been able to go abroad and fight for his country," said Durham.
But the judge sided with prosecutors and ordered that he remain in custody to undergo psychiatric evaluations.
"It's scary everything we know about this defendant. What's even scarier is what we don't know about him," said Inman. "What was he going to do on June 17 when he was to be deployed?"
So what usually happens to a Chihuahua with a heart condition when he gets into a real fight?


This was going to get ugly, early.


Take Care,
Mike

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