A Tribute to Those at Balboa

Categories: Highlights

When the elevator doors open, it’s always the same prayer, “God, help me to be strong.” As I walk into 4-East I know I’m about to meet real heroes, not Hollywood actors playing roles, but young men who have put their lives on the line.

Somewhat like Rocky Balboa who said in the first Rocky movie he was a boxer because he couldn’t sing or dance; in retirement, I’m a writer…I can’t sing or dance. I spent most of my adult life as a special agent in the FBI, working a variety of undercover roles. I’ve been an undercover contract killer, weapons dealer, even a pedophile. I was a “practiced liar” for a quarter of a century and there’s not much you can do with that skill other than write. I’m grateful for a couple of published books because now when I walk into the rooms of 4-East, I have a book to give to the severely wounded, rather than just a handshake.

If you pick up almost any paper or turn on the news you might not know we are still fighting in Afghanistan. I can usually only find content on the Internet. I’m not sure if that’s because of a change in the administration or our national attention span is just too short to sustain the long struggle. Lately, the economy and Egypt take up most of the ink. For the men of 4-East, the War on Terror is all too real and still ongoing, even if the media doesn’t want to cover it.

I came away from last week’s visit with the same question I have every week, “where do we get such men who are willing to risk it all?” I met a Marine whose first child was born a week before he deployed to Afghanistan in September. He came home early; less both legs and an arm, a triple amputee. This young Marine will never hold his child or chase him across the backyard like you and I do. I met a Marine who heard another Marine was wounded. This sergeant summoned his squad and during the rescue attempt stepped on an IED. He lost his leg to save a fallen Marine. I met a soldier who was part of a four man litter team, rescuing a wounded soldier. When someone stepped on an IED, three men were killed and this soldier lost his leg and the use of his arm. Or how about a young Marine I met who lost both his legs above the knee and his left hand. When I gave him my book he reached for his wallet offering to pay. I had trouble holding my emotions in check with that gesture. These men will never do the everyday things I take for granted as I engage in trivial pursuits. They responded when the nation asked and now will be scarred for life.

Maybe we can’t join the fight on the battlefields of Afghanistan but thanks to Freedom Alliance we can support these brave men and women and their families in a very tangible way. The Support Our Troops program honors servicemen and women and their families with appreciation dinners and financial support in the time of need. The Scholarship Fund provides college scholarships to the children of America’s heroes who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident. I know the work of Freedom Alliance is appreciated by those who serve, now let’s serve them and support Freedom Alliance. Semper Fi!

Bob Hamer spent twenty-six years as a “street agent” for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), many of them in an undercover capacity. In his various covert assignments, he successfully posed as a drug dealer, contract killer, fence, pedophile, degenerate gambler, weapons dealer, and white-collar criminal. He received numerous awards throughout his career including the FBI Director’s Award for Distinguished Service, four United States Attorney Awards for Distinguished Service, and numerous letters of commendation including one from then U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Now retired from the FBI, he is a member of the Writers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of Canada and has written for television. He has worked as the technical advisor for The Inside and Angela’s Eyes and consulted for the hit television series, Law & Order: SVU and Sleeper Cell. He appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Sean Hannity Show, The Laura Ingraham Show, and other national and local TV and radio programs to discuss his role in the NAMBLA investigation.

He is the author of The Last Undercover, which was named Best Memoir at the 15th Annual San Diego Book Awards and the novel, Enemies Among Us.  Bob is a law school graduate and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He is married and has two children.

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