On 2 November, 2019, my friend Zau Seng was killed whilst part of a Free Burma Rangers mission in Syria. He leaves behind a wife, who is a former Free Burma Ranger, and a daughter. His daughter’s first birthday was the same day he was killed.
Edward Synnott O’Reilly (1880-1946), universally called “Tex” by those who knew him, would enjoy a career that not just saw him fight as a soldier and mercenary but also work as a journalist, teacher, script writer and movie star.
Charles Michael Sweeny (1882-1963) is describable as the soldier-of-fortune but it would probably be fairer to call him a soldier-of-conscience. Sweeny played a role in many of the major conflicts that occurred in the first half of the twentieth century where his natural aptitude for soldiering saw him rise from the ranks of rebel and private soldier to various command positions in armies around the world.
Edward Allen Carter Jr. (1916-1963) provides an example of not just a remarkable soldier who fought for what he believed in and whose courage would be recognised with the Medal of Honor, but of a dark period in American history and of how even heroes could come under suspicion and be persecuted.
Robert ‘Bob’ McCawley Short was the first American pilot to engage Japanese forces in combat and the one of the progenitors of a line of American mercenary pilots in China that would culminate in the famous American Volunteer Group (AVG) fighter group.
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