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A Clemente Manuel Banuelos would soon be a sergeant, too. But mission No. JT414-97A as the soldiers called it was not going smoothly. For while McDaniel’s senior officers at 1st Division HQ were hot to take JTF-6’s money, their support for the captain’s efforts to prepare for the mission was tepid at best. McDaniel was hamstrung at every turn by bureaucracy, paperwork, and the fact that 1st Division’s command viewed the mission as little more than a free training exercise. That’s the conclusion of an exhaustive report authored by retired Major General John T. Coyne, from which many of the operational details described in this story were drawn. The Coyne report highlights how different police work is from military action, and harshly rebukes the 1st Division for failing to adequately prepare its soldiers for this policing mission. In one striking example, McDaniel’s men were pulled away from a training exercise in order to participate in a dress uniform review. The officers’ club mentality was visible in a statement from the man who ordered McDaniel’s men to participate in the formality. Major Steven Hogg said he was comfortable with the order because he “was satisfied that Capt. McDaniel was hitting all the wickets.” As a result of this type of bureaucratic interference, Captain McDaniel was able to conduct only three days of training before his teams departed Camp Pendleton for Texas. And because mission assignments weren’t settled until the last minute, Team 7 never trained as a unit. Corporal Roy Torrez Jr., Banuelos’ second in command, hadn’t received any field instruction since his basic Marine Combat Training after boot camp. Torrez, whose main job in the Marine Corps was driving a tow truck, was also Team 7 medic. He had completed a first aid course in order to meet a quota at the garage where he worked. Like Torrez, Lance Corporal Ronald Wieler had received no field training since basic. Wieler was a radio operator. Most of his preparation consisted of cutting rags and sewing his own camouflage “ghillie suit.” Lance Corporal James Blood, the team’s junior man, did attend the three days of training. But Blood was assigned to another team during that time. He didn’t even meet his teammates until the day before McDaniel and Banuelos found the empty bullet box by the river. Upon returning from that walk, McDaniel briefed his men at a Marfa base camp. The two-hour talk addressed safety issues, communication protocols and the “rules of engagement.” The soldiers were handed R.O.E. cards that listed specifically what they could and could not do. They were told what to do if they encountered drug smugglers. But they neither discussed nor rehearsed what to do if they came across a civilian. Staff Sergeant Daren Dewbre concluded the briefing. Dewbre warned the soldiers that drug gangs posed an “organized, sophisticated, and dangerous enemy.” He told them that other teams had taken fire on previous missions. He told them that “the enemy” would employ armed lookouts and that some villagers were in cahoots with the smugglers. His briefing notes read: “Redford is not a friendly town.” MEN WITH GUNS Redford is one of the most remote towns in the United States. It is also one of the oldest. And it’s among the most often visited by soldiers. Eight hours west of San Antonio and five hours east of El Paso, Redford is in many ways more Mexican than American. Spanish is the language of choice. The most popular shopping center is in Ojinaga, a Mexican border town half an hour upriver. An American flag flies out front of Redford Elementary School, but its flagpole erupts from the center of the school’s basketball court, leaving visitors to wonder whether the patriot who erected the pole was entirely familiar with the rules of the game. Directly across Farm Road 170 which until it was paved in the 1960s was called Muerte del Burro, or Death of the Donkey stands the Madrid library. In 1979, schoolteacher Lucia Rede Madrid started the small library in her husband’s store. She loaned books to the kids in Redford, and also to Mexican kids from across the river. By the mid-‘ 80s, her library had swelled to an estimated 50,000 volumes, overflowing both the store and the attached stucco home. Lucia’s “bridge of books” earned her two presidential medals, and made her the most famous person in Redford until Zeke. The books in the. Madrid library show that Corporal Banuelos was far from the first soldier to ride into Redford. First came the Apache. Then came the Spanish. In 1747, Captain Joseph de Ydoiaga led an expedition of 150 men and 1,000 horses. Ydoiaga’s report led to the construction of a Spanish fortress, near present day Presidio. Next came the Mexicans, who in 1821 won independence from Spain. And in 1836 the Texans separated from Mexico. The Mexican-American War brought the U.S. Army in 1846, The United States won a bloody victory over a Mexico torn apart by civil unrest, The Treaty of Guadalupe de Hildago cut Mexico in half, The 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER SEPTEMBER 25, 1998