and all of our Brothers in Arms, and Previous Supporters

My exposure to the Military added to my life cycle education, I got an “A “ in obscene verbiage, and techniques, clearances, tactical and technical nukes, radar and confidentialities, terrain reconditioning and sand trap building called bombing, and single finger gestures from the military,  It broadened my repertoire, and my ability to interact with weapons of destruction. “ The bigly ones”.  They were fun and scary…great skills but… thoughts of glowing in the dark still haunt me…

Most of which did not help me, when I got out.  But there were exceptions, like understanding command and control, leading rather than following, organizational planning, and I’m darn good with a rifle, pistol and shotgun, not that I was in law enforcement full time, we all were on a response team, but it had to do with rescues and getting shot down.  I could have turned to Golf Course design, those bombs our aircraft dropped certainly re-designed many parts of the far east and created huge sand traps.  Lots of mine traps too.

And those processes were good enough years later to enter competition,...  But it did in the sixties win my silver bullets in B/C class pistol and rifle, shotgun competition going to the state pistol championships  I shoot once a month at the range to stay in tune.  I still do stay “ in tune” and have to, thats how I safely maintain my levels of carry permits which in today’s chronically sick world is called survival.   A gun never solved a situation, it created new ones… today skilled, old fashioned and confident it’s my back-up since I am a writer who tell the truth.  


“ Red Tape, The DOD And Indifference” —  The Special Forces of the United States, namely the Army Rangers, the SEALS, Marine Recon, Air Force COMMANDOS and Coast Guard Rescue Units and other specialized units hadn’t received any recognition for the work, honor and sacrifice required of their organization purposes and of course the reason, secrecy was number one.  This was the situation before the 80’s.

But as news of their exploits came to the surface, and Hollywood produced a few good movies, it was time to recognize the sacrifices these men and women deserved. 

The Special Forces training was tough, you train tough to fight tough.  Just as in SCUBA, you plan your dive and then dive your plan.   And there were fatal accidents in training and never made the headlines due to the secrecy.  There were missions, rescues, removals, destruction that never made the front nor the back page.  As many as seventeEn lost their lives in training crashes an accidents.

Our mentor and friend,  Richard Leandri believed the cats out of the bag and they were due a big thank you for their service.  We had the names of seventeen who had paid the ultimate price before the SOCOM Memorial was built.  Unfortunately when Richard died, others have made claim to its existence. They were quickly shut down.

The present, actually before 911 we became the Memorial Foundation, headed by Ellie Scarfone and I became number two.  Handling the “ Operations, much of the building and liaison to the base and the usual Secretarial work”.   Several projects later, ( finding out this was work) lots of change in people, some found out this was more than a name on a board… 

Many of them left, finally a foundation to secure a new Memorial for the soldiers of our Armed Forces at Centcom, we called the Rotunda.  Upon completion, our last endeavor the “ Military Service Memorial ”  is doing well as the Memorial in Inverness, by the county court house, close to the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.  

After many years, we have completed the latest mission.  The last one after seventeen years of government screw-ups cluster f*cks at the Rotunda and shear frickin stupidity making a two year project almost two decades.  With a new idiot in the WhiteHouse… a draft dodger no less from a family of crooks leading the country.    No further comment on our direction.

This is the story of Memorials, inspired by Richard Leandri, and the latest, The Inverness Military Service Memorial and those who did the right thing.  Three of us, have been there from day one, almost thirty-five years supporting our troops working on these projects, it  just amazes me, how fast time goes by...

In Memory Of Richard Leandri  —  For almost three and a half decades, I have had the privilege and honor of working with a select group of people who have dedicated their efforts to recognize the efforts of and the sacrifices of our military.  It all started when I was introduced to a gentleman by the name of Richard Leandri, who was a well known Realtor and Community leader in Clearwater, Florida.  

Tom Falone, a friend introduced me to Richard, telling me we had something in common, and we hit it off both believing in the same things about our country, the military, and how we could contribute. It was through Richard I met Ellie Scarfone, aka known as “  Richard’s Goddaughter.”    It has been a privilege to know her for more than thirty-five years and a lot of work and projects.  her dedication and loyalty has not been surpassed, many not even coming close, she walks the walk, they talk the talk.  

We completed and participated in five Memorials to the men and women of  the SEALS, Rangers, Green Berets, Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers, Air Force Special Operations,   

Richard’s belief and our mantra was the Special Forces of the United States, the Army Rangers, the SEALS, Commandos, Force Recon, the Coasties and other specialized units hadn’t received any recognition for the work, honor and sacrifice required of their organization, their purpose in a changing world and of course the reason, secrecy was number one.   
But as news of their exploits came to the surface, it was time to recognize the sacrifices these men and women deserved, those who worked in the night and  left no footprints.


Richard  - Aka The Godfather Of The Rangers  —  Mr. Richard A. (Dick) Leandri was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame for his dedicated support to the US.Army Rangers. Mr. Leandri established and activated the a support group known as the Chairborne Rangers in 1980, and served as the Commanding Officer of Military Affairs. 

Mr. Leandri's contributions and dedicated support to the Rangers are in keeping with the highest traditions of selfless service.Richard, one man, started and changed all that.  

Through contacts and friends he became well know as the God-Father of the Special Operations personnel who can’t exactly give away information and the military can’t applaud itself, so Richard found another way of letting the public see what they do with the building of the Military Memorial in LARGO, FL’s main park, dedicated to all branches

It continued on with Richards Organization, a group of individuals, some with prior military training, a few dubious individuals who took it serious, raised funding and in many cases hard labor to bring their exploits and at times professionalism to the forefront.  A motley crew but did their job well.  This was a crew who most First Shirts  ( reference to a senior NCO) would ask...” What the hell are they up to now”... Our motto was … 

Richards Favorite Expression:

“ Its Better To Beg For Forgiveness Than Ask For Permission” 

Believing in the axiom, Better to Beg For Forgiveness then ask For Permission.  The group went full bore and completed the work on The Ranger Memorial at Fort Benning and the organization of the Ranger Games, a yearly competition seen on ESPN. 

The next project was the building of the beautiful SOCOM Memorial built on MacDill Air Force Base.  

Richard was a mover and shaker, he knew everyone and everyone new him as a successful realtor and developer in Clearwater.  

But his strongest suit was his love of the Military, when he passed,  a Memorial plaque was dedicated and hangs in the entrance of the Special Operations Command Building at MacDill recognizing the man who recognized them. 

We recognized our own.  In the photo you’ll see Richard Leandri receiving the Golden Grenade Gavel in recognition of his devotion to the Military and especially the Rangers.  It was in hope that Richard could get even more attention to the cause of supporting our troops with this symbolic gesture.

Ironically and unfortunately, a few days later Richard passed on from a massive heart attack while we were at Ft. Benning soon after the Ranger Games that year. 

He died where he wanted to be… with his beloved Rangers during the time we were attending the games.  Ironic but it would have been what Richard wanted, he was a great compassionate man.

Rangers Lead The Way !  —  Mr. Richard A. (Dick) Leandri was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame for his dedicated support to the US Army Rangers.  Mr. Leandri established and activated the “  Chairborne Rangers” in 1980, and served as the leader  and Commanding Officer of Military Affairs. 

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The Chairborne Rangers were a group of concerned business and professional men who supported the military and sponsored the prestigious "David E. Grange, Jr., Best Ranger Competition" annually at Fort Benning, Georgia. Mr. Leandri  contributed immensely to the sponsorship, support, and design of the Ranger Memorial.  Mr. Leandri also established and founded the "Shuffstall Award" which honors the drill sergeant of the year at Fort Benning.

Mr. Leandri was deeply involved in community and civic affairs and was the recipient of over 70 awards for service, including the Sertoma Club’s "Service to Mankind" award, the Exchange Club's "Book of Golden Deeds" award, and the National Secretaries Association's "Boss of the Year" award. 

He received many awards from law enforcement and the military, including the American Defense Citation for outstanding service to the military, awarded by the Secretary of the Army.   Mr. Leandri’s contributions and dedicated support to the Rangers are in keeping with the highest traditions of selfless service. The dedication was completed for the:


THE US CENTCOM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION  —  The Centcom Memorial Foundation was formed and the three principals worked together from the beginning which was before 911.  The three of us, were there from day one, more than seventeen years.   As many wanted to join our efforts but they talked the talk, and never walked the walk.   Common on many projects.   Our work was slowed by a war, the longest undeclared war our country has seen.  It’s a war folks, when people die from bombs and bullets, it’s a war and it’s still going on.   Till the last man came home in 2021, 2600 killed and 3700 contractors killed.  Almost two decade slater and a change of venue three of us completed the commission of recognition, in particular,  let me introduce:

Ms. Ellie Scarfone,  President and Leader, Vision and Planning
Alan Jacobson, VP, Secretary and Operations, Shovel in Hand
Mr. David Troup,  Treasurer  and  Financial Planning, And Implementation  

As established we were a non-profit, Federal and Florida State registered organization, in compliance with code 501 [C] [3] established in 2001.  We were publicly funded, and accepted donations for the building of a Memorial at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida. No taxpayer dollars or Federal grants were used other than the land the Memorial is built on, as supplied by the US Air Force.  All of the funds have been raised by donation. 

Our organization is and always has been dedicated to the “TROOPS”.  It is not about specific units, branches of service, rank, our board, or individuals.  Our focus was clear and defined, we serve and recognize the “TROOPS and those who have paid the ultimate price in service to their country under the control and direction of the AOR of the Central Command.  They are all heroes…


The Longest Project 2001-2018  — Seventeen Years of Dedication By Our Team

WAR DELAYS   —  War does stretch things out a bit.  We are engaged in a war with no end it seems.  Attacks on civilians in other countries and potential sappers and terrorists on our own soil promulgated more extreme levels of security. The changes in base admittance policies for security reasons, and numerous regulations caused delays after delays.  

NOT MY JOB —  The real problem stems from a  broad “  Not my job”  attitude since the Air Force owns the base, SOCOM and CENTCOM rent space on the base, the base engineers had no clue,  and we were civilians donating a million dollar project to (unknown it seems).  We learned our lesson.  

SECURITY VIOLATIONS  —  Several security violations, occurred on the base on a higher level added to the concerns.  A big increase in security changed the game.  There was a gate intercept of vehicle with weapons,  A shooting by an intruder at the main gate, a homeless woman beating the devices and made it on the property several times.  

BILLION DOLLAR UPGRADE TO THE BASE  —  The base added two new buildings, new roads, a hospital and a new security parameter, bollards and underground defensive protection for the Joint Building and the Centcom building.  Time kills projects, costs doubled and even rebar  (The steel rods you see in concrete) suddenly became gold.  Something the alchemists have wanted to do for ages. 

Our finance accounts were going down quickly as costs went skyward.   We could not add additional funding because it required soliciting the DOD and Congress and that meant three to five years and probably like last time,  they’ll lose the paperwork.

HIGH LEVEL INDISCRETIONS — THE KELLY AFFAIR  — But it was the national press with some rather bad publicity concerning the Generals and party favors.  Several upscale hob-nabbers ( The Kelly sisters) entertained the hierarchy of our Military with parties and social gatherings. 

Those civilians were who had access to the base, literally unlimited with titles, and phony diplomatic titles and favors secured from the General Staff.  It wasn’t some enlisted or officer personnel Friday night getting in a local squabble, this was as one put it “ A full blown high end FUBAR”.

MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., is scrubbing its list of 800 civilian “friends” to head off any future embarrassments in the wake of former CIA Director David H. Petraeus’ sex scandal.

Socialite Jill Kelley was a member of “Friends of MacDill,” a loose-knit group through which she met Mr. Petraeus when he was an Army general and commanded U.S. CentCom. She also befriended Marine Gen. John Allen, who served there as deputy commander.

The Pentagon inspector general is investigating thousands of pages of emails between Mrs. Kelley and Gen. Allen from 2010 to 2012. Gen. Allen continued the email communication while in his current four-star post as commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

But severe damage meant something else to the DOD and us.   It only took seventeen years to complete and save the project thanks to the publicity and revoking of yearly gate and access passes, it reached a point getting on base to finish a million dollar project did not treat us so kindly.

ISSUES TOO STUPID TO REPEAT  —  With the result that 2500 of MacDills real supporters in Tampa bay who had base privileges ( strictly admittance) got cut in half, many of those who had worked on various projects supporting the base.   Since our project was not kin to anyone, we were independent, we were tossed from base passes. 

And the press camped outside the Kelly’s house for weeks and it made national news big time and federal inquires.  The DOD slammed down on base access and because we were a charity and not assigned to a specific Command and no one would assume responsibility, basically we were forgotten. 

Several of us who were doing great work for the base for thirty years somehow got dumped, and had to get permission from the DOD and the FBI checks again.  I have been checked about ten or fifteen times.  And they knew nothing about it.  Since as volunteers we got no support from the Command.   Based on what I did for them,  I probably have been checked adding previous projects more that twenty-five times and had to go through it again.  It dragged on and on and we could not get anything done... More lost paperwork from the DOD. 

DECISIONS — The Last Straw Killed The Camel  —  Bottom line for the advanced programs we designed.  Memorial at MacDill was based on plan to have  ACCESS FOR CIVILIANS as we had envisioned it.  The increased security killed that idea. It  was not on the table, the base remains at a higher level of security and any event or projects required more red tape and red ink than a banner parade in Moscow.  

The war added new security levels, changes of command were like the seasons, adding transfer, rotational deployments and more secrecy.  And the toughest hit was dealing with the DOD’s new regulations basically closing access for civilians, that killed our proposed second attempt at fulfillment as improvements would not account against initial costings.

So we finished what we could, we could not attain access for the project for Civilians.  The main drive was to familiarize the Community of the work and sacrifice by the men and women of these Commands and that literally killed the project. With tours and escorted bus trips for school children showing our greatest assets and careers. Now it could never happen.

WE COMPLETED THE OPEN ARM ROTUNDA, THE ORIGINAL PLAN  —  Thus our job is done, and we wish the very best for those who will follow…in supporting the families of the fallen,  and hope the CENTCOM Memorial as it stands will serve its purpose.   The security issues, even for good people and families of the honored could not have access without assistance made changes untenable for us to add the additional embellishments and upgrades.