ON THE COVER: SF Original COL (r) Vahan Sipantzi pins CPT bars on his grandson, 1LT Nathan Sipantzi. (Courtesy Zoe Sipantzi)

From the Editor:

Our Chapter 78 Member of the Year, Debra Holm, worked with Lonny Holmes for many years in helping the Sentinel become what it is today. She describes Lonny’s dedication to “If it’s not written down, it didn’t happen,” driving him to capture stories of SF for us and posterity. Of course, that wasn’t all he did, and she captures some of the highlights of his life so far.

War reporter Alex Quade gives us a lot of interesting details about the “Originals” from the earliest years of the 10th SFG. She describes the events, highlighting them at the SFA National Convention in Colorado, how they interacted with each other, and their desire to pass what they can on to newer generations of SF. She also shared some stories she has been privy to from other “Originals” around the country and over the years, as well as how she has enjoyed the process.

“In Cold Blood” by Greg Walker brings another well-researched story about the tumultuous times that Central and South America endured, fighting off, with SF help, the communist insurgencies backed by Cuba and others. This report brings attention to a Salvadoran officer wanted by the Hague for allegedly planning and ordering the ambush assassination of a Dutch film crew in 1982 living comfortably in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Though his whereabouts were exposed through a photo on his daughter’s Facebook page in 2018, he remains a free man.

CSM Michael Weimer of USASOC is another of many SF success stories. He has risen through the ranks to the top NCO position in the Army. He will take over that role of Sergeant Major of the Army when his predecessor, SMA Grinston, retires in August.

Due to earlier production deadlines, our annual Christmas Party at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club in Newport Beach actually took place after our January 2023 issue went to press. It was bittersweet, due to longtime Chapter President Bruce Long’s passing. The sweet part included great speakers, great food, and the glow of Richard Simonian having been awarded the coveted St. Phillip Neri Award from the SFA. And hopefully we were able to comfort Bruce’s widow, Geri, who attended with her daughter, Heather Kinnersley.

Our newest Chapter member, author Greg Walker, who served many years with the SOCOM Warrior Care Program, also sent an open “Letter to the President,” outlining many sources of help for veterans in emotional stress. It has suggestions for Chapter 78’s new Advocacy Team, as well as helpful information that we hope will be used by many outside our chapter. Please contact us at sfachapter78@gmail.com if you wish for more details from either Greg Walker or Greg Horton.

We close with Awards and Special Presentations which will have both new and familiar faces.


How Miller
Sentinel Editor


  • Awarded best Special Forces Association Monthly Newsletter at SFA National Convention June 2011 and 2014
  • Awarded Golden Quill at SFA National Convention June 2015 and June 2016
  • Best Newsletter Award for 2017 from Special Forces Association National Board of Directors at the International Convention in Fayetteville, NC
  • Special Forces Association (SFA) Cross Arrow Award for Excellence, 2018, First Award Presented by SFA in this category
  • The War Reporters Award, Presented by Alex Quade – (War Reporter and Film Producer) for Chapter 78 Sentinel’s Commitment documenting Special Forces History, July 2018
  • The Golden Arrows for Excellence in Newsletters 2019 awarded by SFA National
  • The Golden Arrows for Excellence in Newsletters 2020 awarded by SFA National
Funding for the SFA Chapter 78 Sentinel is provided by the Veterans Affordable Housing Program, a program of the American Veterans Assistance Group 888-923-VETS (8387) VeteransAffordableHousing.org

The Sentinel is published monthly by Special Forces Association Chapter 78, Southern California — art direction and design by Debra Holm, Dinwiddie Holm Graphics. The views, opinions and articles printed in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Army or the United States Special Operations Command, the Special Forces Association, or Special Force