In El Salvador we were told by U.S. embassy personnel that the guerrillas threatened to kidnap Americans responding to the disaster sites. We were offered guns to protect ourselves, and I told them we didn't need guns because there were already too many guns around us in El Salvador and we had bodyguards.
Chief Patton was to be a liaison between the team and the embassy. When we returned to a building we'd had under control earlier, del Cueto and I heard screams from one of the tunnels. The Swiss team was using some heavy equipment, which had caused the building to shift and a heavy beam to fall on a lady's chest. A rescuer from Guatemala was also caught inside, and after rescuing both, I came out steaming. I asked who had allowed the use of heavy equipment. Chief Patton said he did, and we started screaming.
I explained that I was made the chief of the operation by the host country. It had nothing to do with ranks, but because of the gossip started by the Mexico incident, I decided to walk away and allow Chief Patton to take over, if that was what he wanted.
To clear up the Washington, D.C., incident, Chief Montes was not present. Before going inside the White House, we were searched and cleared. I have a photograph of the president receiving the patch; the smiling faces in the background do not express a readiness to kill or be killed.
Unfortunately, I cannot go into any details about all of our rescues, our triumphs, and defeats, but I invite anyone interested, including Chief Montes, to come to my home, interview me, and look at all the videos, clippings, and letters that I have. Who knows, maybe someday I will have time to write about these events at length. One thing you can continue to count on is that I will continue to save lives, stepping on toes if I have to, and will continue to serve the city by choice.
Douglas M. Jewett
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