LUSK – “I’m not your normal 76-year-old man.”
Thomas Bleming from Lusk’s words seem to be warranted since most 76-year-olds do not lead a civilian-based brigade to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bleming is fully prepared to do it, but first he needs help.
“This is the biggest project I’ve worked on since the late ‘70s,” Bleming said.
The mission according to Bleming is to work with the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan to establish the old government before the Taliban took over.
Overthrowing governments and fighting for freedom is not anything new to Bleming. While Bleming, a veteran from the Vietnam war, received a Silver Star and The Army Commendation Medal with V Device for surviving an attack on a mountaintop in 1969.
Bleming said his purpose is to be a revolutionary and to fight for others even when he doesn’t have to. When Bleming first enlisted in the military he was refused entry, but it did not stop him from going.
“I didn’t have to go in the service… but I got in and I found a way,” Bleming said.
After Vietnam, Bleming said he has traveled to 73 other countries and has continued to help rebellious groups begin a revolution. One of his biggest undertakings was in Panama which his book “Panama: Echoes of a Revolution” chronicles his time there and features declassified documents from the government. Bleming said he was arrested in Panama and spent almost two years in prison along with another soldier. According to Bleming, the United States attempted to cover up and distance themselves from his operation.
“I got a document in the book when we were arrested and captured in Panama… that the embassy in Panama was to deny any knowledge of our mission,” Bleming said.
Although he has not been involved in combat since Panama, Bleming has still been traveling around the world.
“I was in Paraguay three years ago trying to get a [security] contract,” Bleming said. “They’re still fighting down there, communist rebels. I spent 18 days in the country.”
Bleming added when the U.S. Embassy heard about it, they warned him not to publicize being there.
Today, Bleming sees a new revolution he wants to fight for. He believes the people of Afghanistan were stabbed in the back by the United States government and he wants to help.
“My heart goes out to the Afghan people, and I salute the heroic Afghan military,” Bleming said. “They were given bad press. They’re not cowards.”
Bleming has an Afghani flag which he plans to bring into the country with his brigade to show what they are fighting for. Bleming said he has about eight other men who want to go with him, and by next spring he hopes to have a full unit to head to battle.
As his plan is still in the early stages, Bleming is looking to recruit former veterans to fight alongside him. While Bleming claims to be a far-right extremist, he said people of any political affiliation are welcome; so long as they are willing to restore Afghanistan’s original government.
“I have one man, a young man, he’s going on this expeditionary journey with me; he’s a communist… I couldn’t care what he is,” Bleming said. “We aren’t into politics here. What we are into is establishing the legitimate government of Afghanistan.”
Bleming is also looking for financial donations from people who support the cause. Bleming said he will be able to pay for his flight, but others may not.
“I’m appealing to anybody that would want to donate toward this venture that I’m putting together, to open up their checkbooks and send me something. I’m not going to rip them off; it’ll be put in a good place,” Bleming said.
In terms of weapons, Bleming is hopeful the Northern Resistance will provide them for his brigade. Bleming also said he has devised a combat strategy called “Dragon Warfare” to use against the Taliban. Bleming refused to discuss the details of the strategy.
“They’ll see it when it happens,” Bleming said.
One thing Bleming wants to make clear is how serious he is about his mission.
“I differ from a lot of people that have been fighting in these wars; I talk about it, but I do it,” Bleming said.
To contact Bleming, call 307-334-2507.