About the author
Jon Harris is a retired Cold War era soldier. His first
assignment after completing advanced initial training (AIT) was with the
Berlin Brigade at the Berlin Wall, when there was still such a thing, he
got a first hand view of the world from the very symbol of the
decades long Cold War. Trained as a military police officer and Russian
linguist and interrogator, Jon was later assigned to a small detachment of 34 U.S. soldiers
in the west German border town of Helmstedt. There he was the senior
Checkpoint NCO at Allied Checkpoint Alpha. and an unofficial Russian
linguist. Unofficial meaning he posed as the Colonel's driver. When the
Colonel would talk with the Soviet Commander, Jon would be in the same
room. On the drive back Jon and the Colonel would compare what
they had heard. Jon never spoke a single word of Russian to the Soviets
although he understood every word.
When the USSR fell, Jon
actually lowered the U.S. flag for the last time at the Checkpoint as the
border opened. A long standing tradition when a post closes has the flag
presented to the last U.S. Commander of the outpost as a memento. At a
small ceremony, Jon turned the flag over to the commander, stepped back
and saluted. With that the official U.S. military presence at that location ended.
To be perfectly clear, "A" flag was presented to
the outgoing commander. "The" flag some how ended up in Jon's
personal belongings when he transferred to his next assignment
in Wurzburg, Germany. Jon would have several more
assignments in the military spanning several more years.
Desert Storm, the first Gulf War, he was tagged as rear
detachment commander, later at his only U.S. assignment he took
the position as Chief of Military Police Investigations based at
Ft Dix, NJ. There, he was medically retired as 80 % combat
disabled from injuries during preparation for deployment to
Desert Storm several years earlier.
He settled in NJ for ten years with his wife
Katherine and son Joel. As is normal with many military
veterans, he bounced between several occupations trying to fill
a void. Jon started several ventures during that time. The
most successful was centered around a tactical paintball company
that he and his son started. This brought the family to Texas
where he lives now with his best friend and partner of over
thirty years, Katherine.
His son, now an officer in the U.S.
Army and a graduate of West Point, is embarking on his own
military career. Before the military he was a police
officer in Texas. After the military he found himself returning
to his first profession as a law enforcement officer. He started the
canine unit for the Gonzales Texas Constable's Department and
worked as a
narcotics interdiction canine officer in a high intensity drug
trafficking area (HIDTA).
While on duty, Jon was
involved in a horrific vehicle accident where he and his canine
were trapped in the patrol vehicle. Jon credits his
survival to his canine partner he had with him that day. After
months of physical recovery Jon found the mental issues
associated with the accident interfering with his ability to do
his job. The TBI and PTSD from the accident worsened the longer
he was on the street. At the suggestion of his therapist, he
took a position as a military contractor in South West Asia.
There he is again with a trusted four legged partner searching
for narcotics or explosives. These articles are a chronicle of
life in the "unofficial" war zone.
Jon's love for writing started when he was in
Germany where he authored his first novel " Breakpoint"
available at most major booksellers on the internet such as
Barnes and Nobles and Amazon. He has written articles for
several publications as well as short stories. This site
is a collection of articles from his long time running
column "Dispatches from Downrange" published in one of
the local newspapers in Texas and are to be included in his
current project "A Year Behind the Leash" the story of a
contract dog handler in Afghanistan and Iraq doing the work and
winning the fight against PTSD with the help of his dog.
Jon is currently a senior contributor to OpsLens.com where his
many articles can be found.