HISTORY BORN FROM ADVERSITY
The Urban Warfare Center was born from adversity. It was created from experiences that stemmed from growing up in a virtual combat zone in Los Angeles, California in the 60's and 70's. It is also born from my military experiences in the late 1980’s, and the stress factors related to my experience in Search and Rescue, Anti Human Trafficking and Body Guard Operations in High Risk Areas.
I was raised in the Los Angeles county area in a small town called Lawndale. It borders places like Compton and Manhattan Beach. One side is the peaceful beach and the other is a literal combat zone where gangs mark territory in blood and spray paint. During my formidable years my father was a Los Angeles Police officer. Because of this I was taught right from wrong and developed a strong sense of good and evil.
I was born only 16 years after WWII ended, 7 years after Korea and at the beginning of the Vietnam Conflict in 1961. There were lots of veterans from these conflicts in the family and neighborhood all growing up. It just seemed that normal people went in the military and did what military people do.
The Television had not yet sunk its hooks into our generation and we found our entertainment outdoors with friends. It was not uncommon at the age of 5 to see me with a toy gun in my hand. At the ages of 7 or 8 you would see us dressed in Army surplus gear and rolling around the yard or open lots. One of our favorite past times was to make forts. We made them out of refrigerator boxes (which were at a premium in our neighborhood) or when we got really advanced we would use old lumber and dirt to build up fortifications we could then operate from as we would patrol into the “enemies” camp. These activities would last for the entire summer in between frequent trips to the beach and the camping vacations we went on as a family.
Since Vietnam was going on and emotions were very high it was more socially acceptable to play Cowboys and Indians, Civil War or WWII. WWII was our favorite because you could use machine guns. 1960’s culture precluded us from playing Vietnam. However in the late 1960’s we would sometime dress up like Green berets and pretend we were John Wayne’s elite soldiers. My next door neighbor was wounded in Vietnam and I vividly remember the day it happened. His best friends were killed in the ambush and he was hit with shrapnel. He returned physically ok, but you could see the look in his eyes and that he was very different from when he left. This was a significant experience for me because at an early age I saw first hand from a distance the cost of a war. This had an effect on me because it had been someone I knew personally.
As I got older my Father saw my military tendencies and asked me if I wanted to attend the United States Marine Reserve Program called Devil Pups. At 16 years old I took part of my summer off and went to “boot camp”. Our drill instructors were Marine Recon veterans of Vietnam. It was 1977 and we trained at Camp Pendleton in California. The program was only a couple weeks, but for me it was my official introduction into the Military mindset. My father was perhaps looking to discourage me with the military by sending me to the Marines, but on the contrary when I graduated from this program I had a permanent gleam in my eye.
Since I was raised by a Cop I already understood that if you kept a low profile and got your job done, the instructors would not mess with you as much. This was exactly the way the Military seemed to work and I was already comfortable with how that model worked. The Military was going to be the place for me.
I would spend a decade serving in the United States Air Force during the cold war. I would attend hostage rescue school in England and participate in many global missions and operations. The Urban Warfare Center in so many ways was a direct reflection of the may conflicts I experiences from my youth through my different operational careers. I simply wanted to help people prepare for the unthinkable.
David - Found of The Urban Warfare Center.