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A Special Forces Legend Passes on

Billy Waugh fought in Korea and Vietnam, was a CIA operative, hunted Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan and much more during a Truly Remarkable Career Spanning Decades.

Story by Paul Pawela

Special Forces legend Billy Waugh retired from the US Army in 1972
as a command sergeant major, only to become a CIA operative
from 1977 to 2005. Born William Dawson Waugh on December 1,
1929 outside Austin, Texas, he passed away April 4, 2023. (US ARMY)

I was recently attending Sean Kelley’s kenpo camp – Kelly is one of the greatest kenpo karate instructors in the world and his seminars bring in the very best – and in the back of my mind was my father’s wisdom:
“Always train with the best and keep your pie hole shut.” Airborne, Pops! And check! However, this camp was even more special than the previous ones, as there were many mentors in attendance. One such mentor was Special Forces/Ranger legend and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Patrick Kelly, a man who deserves an article written about him. With a calm but thunderous voice from the mountain of a man that he is, Kelly braced me for some bad news: “Paul, on my way down from Bragg, I stopped by Tampa to visit
Billy. He is not going to be with us much longer.”

In Vietnam, Waugh was one of the best Special Operations Group recon men
and this is the gear he carried: CAR-15 with 25 20-round magazines, standard
1911 semiauto and mini grenades – he loved grenades! (COURTESY IMAGES)

I was subsequently informed through the grapevine that Billy Waugh, the Special Forces/CIA luminary, a man whose entire life could fill volumes and whose story is worthy of a major motion picture, was felled by two major strokes. As sure as he was a Christian of faith, Waugh was given his orders to report to the Lord on April 4 of this year. Born William Dawson Waugh, he was 93.

THIS IS MY requiem to the immortal superhero Billy Waugh. I debated whether to compare him to Odysseus/Ulysses, the hero of Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, but the more I thought about it, I realized that the character Batman was more fitting. Not only could Batman have been certainly modeled after Waugh, but they have more in common than one would think. If you think it is a bit childish, then tell that to the CIA, who gave him the code name Batman!

Let’s start the comparison. Batman has genius-level intelligence, masterful detective and escapology skills, peak human physical condition, martial arts expertise, access to high tech equipment, and he is a superhero who fights evil and strikes terror in the hearts of criminals. Having no superhuman abilities, he is considered one of the world’s most intelligent men and greatest fighters using his physical prowess, technical ingenuity and tactical thinking. Part of his crime-fighting gear is his utility belt in which he carries an assortment of weapons and investigative and technological tools. Despite having the potential to harm his enemies, he has a strong commitment to justice and a reluctance to take a life. Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona to put fear into his enemies. He would best be described as a polymath.

Waugh did the first combat high-altitude low opening, or HALO, drop in Vietnam.

In an eerily similar comparison, Waugh lived every word as described above, except with one incredibly huge difference: he had no such reluctance to take lives. In 50 years of combat experience, both with elite Special Forces units and the CIA, as he saw it, “My craving is, and always has been, to be involved in actions conducted to ensure America remains strong, safe, and free of those who have its destruction as their goal.” After the events of September 11, 2001, his thoughts on Osama bin Laden were these: “By God, this man and his Al-Qaeda punks needed to be killed and tossed into the garbage dumps of wherever they may be found.”

At the age of 71, Waugh set out with a few CIA, Delta Force and Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 594 members to capture or kill bin Laden. Each operator carried 110 pounds of equipment, complete with a filled rucksack, communications equipment, weapons and grenades, and they embarked on the roughest mountain terrain Afghanistan had to offer, often in miserably cold weather
with temperatures plummeting to -5 degrees. Using advanced technology, those heroic men brought in enough laser-guided bombs from the US Air Force to exterminate a large population of terrorists.

As a young man leading a US Military Assistance Advisory Group SOG squad.

THROUGHOUT HIS INCREDIBLE career, Waugh lived with pain and suffering. He was awarded eight Purple Hearts, which meant he was wounded by either bullets or bomb shrapnel multiple times.
During one secret mission, Waugh was shot in the foot, ankle, knee, wrist and head. The North Vietnamese Army enemy thought he was dead – big mistake – but he literally willed himself back to health after extensive reconstruction on his injured leg that doctors thought might have to be amputated. Be it willpower, divine intervention, or both, in a relatively short time, Waugh was back in the fight. By the way, on that mission, deep behind enemy lines, Waugh and his team killed more than 160 enemies. That attack alerted over 4,000 NVA troops to hunt down Waugh and his team of 90 men. Only 18 of his men made it out; however, when the survivors called in for air support, over 600 NVA had been killed.

In the secret unit called SOG (Special Operations Group), Waugh was not only known for taking lives, but part of his mission was to save lives and recover bodies of men killed deep behind enemy lines. He led many successful missions, which are talked about in-depth in his book Hunting the Jackal, as well as in SOG: The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam by John Plaster.

In addition to his eight Purple Hearts, Waugh received the Silver Star (the third-highest medal in the military), four Commendation Ribbons for Valor, four Bronze Stars for Valor, 14 Air Medals for Valor, and
two Combat Infantry badges. Speaking of valor, Waugh and a team of two other men that he picked were the first to do a high-altitude low opening, or HALO, parachute combat jump. Think about the incredible courage it takes to step out in the darkness of night, 2 miles above Earth and 2 miles above the most uncharted, vicious jungle man had ever seen, and Waugh and his team were jumping right into the middle of it! Waugh would be cemented as a pioneer in the HALO field, serving all future special operations HALO teams fighting in the Global War on Terror. While most of his jumps were successful, Waugh did survive crashing in three helicopters and two planes.

IT IS HARD to believe that Waugh’s first combat experience was in 1951 in Korea, and that just two years later in 1953, he would become a pioneer in the Special Forces. Waugh’s last mission was in Afghanistan in 2002. In all, he served the US in 64 different countries. Many of his CIA missions are classified to this day. During the Vietnam War, Waugh’s SOG unit, which he was in for over seven years, captured thousands of tons of munitions and supplies and killed thousands of enemy soldiers.

SOG recon men consistently killed more than 100 NVA for each one lost, a ratio that climbed as high as 150 to 1. This was the highest documented kill ratio of any American unit in the war and probably the highest such ratio in US history.
A short time later, Waugh was part of the undercover CIA team that was responsible for capturing the number one terrorist at that time, Carlos the Jackal, also known as Ilich Ramírez Sánchez. It was Waugh’s great detective prowess that allowed him to be the first person in the world to get updated pictures of the Jackal that were used in capturing him.

Waugh (far left) in Afghanistan with Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 594. (COURTESY IMAGE)

Another target that Waugh had his eye on was bin Laden. Waugh had done secret surveillance on the
terrorist, and had asked permission several times to kill him. Waugh told me personally that he had gun sights on bin Laden many times and could have killed him relatively easily. The plan I liked the most was the one he wrote about in Hunting the Jackal.
When bin Laden was being driven out of town, a two-car team would be used; the first car would smash into bin Laden’s vehicle and the CIA operators in the other car would shoot bin Laden’s driver and bin Laden with suppressed MP-5s. But like many politicians who are squeamish about eliminating threats to Americans, the administration at the time would not authorize kill missions until many Americans died – and die they would by the thousands at the hands of bin Laden. That included the bombings of two US embassies in East Africa, a bombing at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, the Battle of Mogadishu (also known as the Black Hawk Down incident) and the September 11 attacks. Those buildings would all still be standing and many thousands of lives would have been saved had Waugh been authorized to shoot that SOB.

Author Paul Pawela says he is
“very proud” to have posted the
first interview with the legend on

Waugh lived by the mantra: “If a man prepares for battle, trains for battle, studies the enemy, and practices for every possibility, the outcome of the battle will take care of itself.” How good was Waugh? Hanging in his house are many plaques that are definitely museum-worthy. However, the one that stands out the most is the one the CIA presented to him that reads: “To Billy Waugh from the CIA,
‘The Greatest Assassin Ever!’” I think that sums it up best. Thank you always, Billy, for being a true leader and mentor to us all. Billy Waugh is the greatest man ever to be known as Batman – God bless and goodbye. ★
Editor’s note: Author Paul Pawela is a nationally recognized firearms and self-defense expert. For his
realistic self-defense training, see

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Manage your Hunting Property

It’s terrifying to some, a destructive force that ravages the countryside. However, fire is the best
tool for managing your hunting property when adequately managed.

Using fire to manage land is a technique dating back to when Native Americans freely roamed
our lands. It’s believed that they noticed how the bison and other wildlife grazed heavily on the
fresh sprouts after a burn had occurred due to lightning strikes or it being intentionally set by the

The Benefits of Fire

For thousands of years, fire was the primary way to promote new growth, return nutrients to the
soil, and ensure only the most desirable plants were growing. However, in the last century,
we’ve become scared of fire and rarely use controlled burns to manage our properties.

So we have turned to things like clearing thickets for food plots, spraying, putting out mineral
blocks, and installing corn feeders in the states that allow it. Costing us thousands of dollars a
year, not to mention all the blood, sweat, and tears we pour into hours of working the land.

I’m proposing you save a lot of that money to spend on new camo, 30-30 ammo, or a new deer
stand and use prescribed burning to help keep the wildlife on your land fat and happy.

Below, I’ve gathered some pros of using fire to manage your land.

● Burning is FREE (unless you hire someone to do it)
● Deer, turkey, and many other wild animals thrive after a controlled burn
● Fire allows natural food sources to sprout up, even in places they haven’t been for
● Fire helps some native species sprout and survive
● Fire hurts or kills undesirable species
● Fire is great for pastures and forests
● Prescribed burns reduce the risk of wildfires
● Fire helps restore nutrients to the soil
● Fire improves water quality by allowing more water to gather in the creeks for fish and
other animals to drink instead of being absorbed by shrubs and other non-desirable
● Fire helps control the spread of insects such as ticks and some tree diseases

As you can tell, burning has many positives; however, I must also share some of the downsides
of prescribed burning
with you.

The Drawbacks of Fire

While the benefits of using prescribed burns to manage a property far outweigh the drawbacks,
you should still be aware of the cons.

One of the most significant downsides you’ll have to deal with is complaints from your neighbors
about air quality on the day you burn and a few days after. I recommend informing them that
you plan to burn before you begin so some neighbors will understand, but others will complain
no matter what you do.

The most significant danger is that the fire gets out of control because you haven’t burned the
debris before, turning it into a raging inferno. That’s why you should always let your local fire
department know you plan to burn, and you should create fire breaks throughout your property
to burn in smaller chunks and keep things contained.

Though fire can save you a lot of money, planning and executing a burn will take a lot of time.
You’ll likely need some help from friends and family on the day of the burn.

Unlike spraying and planting food plots, seeing the results from burning could take a year or
two. So you’re playing the long game when using prescribed burns to manage your property,
but in the end, it’s well worth it.

● Complaints from neighbors about air quality and danger
● Prescribed burns can get out of control and cause a wildfire when done incorrectly or
● Creating a prescribed burning plan and implementing the plan is time-consuming
● Sometimes, it takes a few years to see the positive impact of fire
● Fire needs to be used year after year on pastures and every few years in forests
● The time of year you burn will affect the quality of the burn

Now that you know the drawbacks and benefits of prescribed burns, let’s move on to how to use
fire to improve your land for wildlife.

How to Manage Your Land With Fire

So you’re convinced that using fire is the best way to manage your hunting property but have no
idea where to begin?

Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered! I’ve been burning our property since middle school, and I took
several classes on it in college.

While fire must be respected, it doesn’t have to be a terrifying monster. Let’s break burning your
land down into several simple steps.

  1. Determine Your Goals – The first thing you should do is determine what you wish to accomplish by burning. Do you want to thin out an area to make it easier to hunt, manage some invasive species, or help the native plants produce more food for the animals to eat?
    • Your goals will determine what time of year you should burn, how often you should burn, and how much of your property you should burn. Your entire property doesn’t need to be burned every year. It’s best to have a mix of clearings and thickets.
  2. Create a Prescribed Burning Plan – Once you have set your goals, it’s time to devise a prescribed burning plan. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, “Burn plans identify – or prescribe – the best conditions under which trees and other plants will burn to get the best results safely. Burn plans consider temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation, and conditions for the dispersal of smoke.”
  3. Make the Fire Breaks Now that you have a plan, it’s time to create the fire lines around the area you plan to burn. I always make a fire break along the edge of our property, 10-20 wide, depending on how much fuel (dead leaves, grass, and trees) is on the ground. I’ll follow that up by creating smaller breaks throughout the property to slow down the fire or stop it from reaching the parts of the land I don’t want to be burned. Though it’s not my favorite method, you can create a fire break by discing the ground. However, I usually cut the grass very short and blow all the clippings toward the area that’s getting burned.
  4. Check the Weather – As the time to burn nears, watch the weather closely. It’s impossible to burn in wet conditions, but you also don’t want to burn during the dry season; otherwise, you risk a greater chance of the fire getting out of control. Wind direction and speed are also essential to pay attention to the days before, during, and after the burn.
  5. Burn – Now, the fun part, at least for me. Let the fire department know you’ll be burning that day, and start by lighting the downwind side of your property first. I prefer using a drip torch to light the fire, but I’ve drug old rags soaked in diesel in a pinch. Always have help, water, or a way to put out the fire on hand.
  6. Watch the New Life Flourish – A few days after you burn, you will see new sprouts of grass, trees, and other plants that deer, turkeys, and countless other animals will consume. Many of these plants are very nutritious for animals, and you’ll notice that they’ll quickly find and graze on these new plants.
  7. Hunt – It’s now time to reap the benefits of your labors. By burning your property, you’ll not only see more deer and turkeys, which means you’ll get to be more picky with the ones you harvest, but you’ll also create a habitat in which they can thrive because they’re getting the nutrients, shelter, and water they need.

Parting Shots

Growing up, I was always mesmerized by fire. I loved helping with the burning season on our
small farm and the surrounding farms. However, it wasn’t until college, while obtaining my
wildlife management degree, that I learned how beneficial fire was to wildlife.

Now that you know the incredible benefits of using fire to manage your property, it’s time to
draw up a prescribed burning plan and get to burning!

About the Author
Chris Dwulet is an avid competitive shooter and handloader. He’s also a principle writer for and runs their Ammunition Guides Podcast on YouTube

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Challenging Judicial Overreach: Conservatives Sound Alarm Over Ruling Granting Gun Rights to Illegal Immigrants


A recent federal court ruling in the Northern District of Illinois, granting Second Amendment rights to illegal immigrants, has sparked outrage among conservatives and raised serious concerns about the safety of law enforcement officers. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman’s decision in U.S. v. Carbajal-Flores has far-reaching implications that could undermine federal firearms regulations and jeopardize public safety.

Unpacking the Ruling: Conservative Critique

The ruling, which found that a federal prohibition on illegal immigrants owning firearms is unconstitutional as applied to defendant Heriberto Carbajal-Flores, has drawn sharp criticism from conservatives. Scott Sweetow, a former senior official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), described the decision as “hugely problematic” for law enforcement and highlighted its potential to create chaos in the enforcement of federal firearms laws.

Dividing Opinions: Controversy Surrounding Second Amendment Rights

The case has divided gun rights activists and ignited debate over the boundaries of firearms regulations in light of the landmark 2022 Supreme Court decision in Bruen. While Judge Coleman acknowledged the federal ban on illegal immigrants as “facially constitutional,” she argued that there is no historical tradition of firearm regulation justifying the government’s deprivation of Second Amendment rights from noncitizens with no history of violent crime.

Conservative Concerns: Upholding the Rule of Law

Conservatives view Coleman’s ruling as deeply flawed and illogical, particularly in its potential to prioritize the rights of illegal immigrants over law-abiding citizens. Sweetow highlighted the absurdity of a legal immigrant being denied the right to carry a firearm while an illegal immigrant involved in reckless gun use is granted that privilege. This decision undermines the rule of law and poses a significant challenge to law enforcement agencies tasked with enforcing firearms regulations.

Undermining Federal Regulations: Practical Implications

The practical implications of Coleman’s decision are dire, according to Sweetow. By granting Second Amendment rights to illegal immigrants, the ruling effectively undermines decades of federal firearms regulations, including the 1968 Gun Control Act and subsequent amendments. Law enforcement agencies now face uncertainty in enforcing laws that may be deemed invalid, leading to potential chaos and compromising public safety.

Call for Action: Appealing the Decision

Conservatives argue that Coleman’s ruling must be appealed to prevent further erosion of federal firearms regulations and ensure the safety of communities. Without a successful appeal, prosecuting criminals for firearm possession will become increasingly challenging, casting doubt on the validity of existing laws and creating confusion among law enforcement officials.

Conservatives stand firm in their commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting the safety of American citizens and law enforcement officers. The decision in U.S. v. Carbajal-Flores represents a dangerous overreach by the judiciary and threatens to undermine the integrity of federal firearms regulations. It is imperative that this ruling be challenged and overturned to prevent further chaos and uphold the principles of justice and public safety.

What do you think of the federal court’s ruling? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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