I spent the summers of 1956 and 1957 (age 7 and 8) on the cattle ranch of friends of my mother in Idaho. There I learned how to ride and shoot. I also came to learn about cow ponies. Cow ponies were smart, professional and did most of the actual work… you just pointed them at what cattle you wanted to keep away from the fence repairs and they wouldn’t let it within five feet of the fence.
My next experience was at the other end of the scale. After I’d been in Rhodesia (1976) for a month I enlisted in the British South Africa Police — the national police force of Rhodesia. At the time the Bush War was waging. This would be my second war.
Just as the British East India Company had settled India, Rhodesia was settled by the British South Africa Company, which had its own police force (BSAP). The BSAP had a history much like the Texas Rangers on the American frontier. Its men had both police and military responsibilities.
During much of the Bush War, I would be with the Police Anti-Terrorist Units (PATU) in the bush going after hot and cold running terrorists armed and trained by the Russians, East Germans and Cubans from across the border in Mozambique.