James Lee Dozier (born April 10, 1931) is a retired United States Army officer. In December 1981, he was kidnapped by the Italian Red Brigades Marxist guerilla group.
He was rescued by NOCS, an Italian special force, with assistance from the Intelligence Support Activity’s Operation Winter Harvest, after 42 days of captivity. General Dozier was the Deputy Chief of Staff at NATO’s Southern European land forces headquarters at Verona, Italy.
He received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the US Military Academy. He later earned a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Arizona. He then attended the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1956, where he was a classmate of the future General Norman Schwarzkopf. He then moved on to the Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for basic and advanced warfare training.
He served in the Vietnam War with the 11th Cavalry Regiment in 1968 and 1969 where he was awarded the Silver Star medal and later served in the Pentagon and in West Germany.
Having reached the rank of major general, he was appointed deputy chief of the logistical staff at the headquarters of the NATO land forces in southern Europe (FTASE) in Verona. General Dozier was the Deputy Chief of Staff at NATO’s Southern European land forces headquarters at Verona, Italy.
He was kidnapped by the Red Brigades in Verona on December 17, 1981, while he was Deputy Chief of Staff responsible for logistics at NATO Land Forces Command in Southern Europe. The kidnapping took place in his apartment, around 6 pm, by a commando of four men and a woman: Antonio Savasta, Pietro Vanzi, Ugo Milani, Cesare Di Lenardo, and Barbara Balzerani, who entered the house disguised as plumbers, Giovanni Ciucci who he remained on the street driving the vehicle on which the general was loaded. Dozier’s wife was only immobilized and so she was found.
During his captivity, Dozier was able to temporarily remove the headphones that had been placed over his ears while his probation officer wasn’t looking, allowing him to identify morning and evening movements. He recorded the days in his journal up to a total of 40. In fact, he was able to keep a journal by playing solitaire and writing false scores on a piece of paper provided to him by his overseers. These scores were in an alphanumeric code he devised, based on the seven piles of playing cards and the number of cards in each pile.
The Red Brigades held Dozier prisoner for 42 days, until January 28, 1982.
Judy Dozier, the general’s wife, was not kidnapped but briefly held at gunpoint to force Dozier to obey her, and the terrorists left her chained in the laundry room of the apartment. Judy Dozier was released after she made a noise by banging her shoulders and knees against the washing machine, thus attracting the attention of the neighbors.
Also following an unsuccessful negotiation with Bulgarian KDS agents, always interested in possible military secrets of the then Western bloc, he was freed in Padua on 28 January 1982, at the height of the investigations led by Umberto Improta, with an incursion of the NOCS, special department of the State Police, in the apartment in via Pindemonte; it was the US president Ronald Reagan himself who congratulated him via telephone for his release. The Dozier kidnapping is considered the episode that marks the beginning of the decline of the Red Brigades in Italy after the events of the years of lead.
Dozier was then promoted to major general and eventually retired from active military service.
The Red Brigades, in a statement to the press, stated the reason behind the kidnapping of an American general was that the US and Italian governments had enjoyed excellent diplomatic relations and that Dozier was an American soldier invited to work in Italy, which justified their abduction.
To date, Dozier is the only American flag officer to have been captured by a violent non-state actor.
THE RED BRIGADES IN POPULAR CULTURE
Joe Strummer and the RAF
The legendary vocalist and guitarist for the Clash were frequently spotted wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the RAF logo, including at the famous 1978 Rock Against Racism concert in Victoria Park and in the 1980 “Rude Boy” movie.
Critics said he was advocating terrorism, but he himself indicated that he merely wanted to call attention to the group’s violent deeds. The song “Career Opportunities,” released on the experimental Sandinista album in 1980 featured the lyrics,
“I hate the army and I hate the R.A.F./I don’t wanna go fighting in the tropical heat.”
Fashion statement, punk rock provocation or political statement? Take your guess.
Claudio Resta was born in Genoa, Italy in 1958, he is a citizen of the world (Spinoza), a maverick philosopher, an interdisciplinary expert, oh, and an artist, too.
Grew up in a family of scientists where many sciences were represented by philosophy to psychoanalysis, from economics to history, from mathematics to physics, and where these sciences were subject to public display by their subject experts family members, and all those who they were part of could participate in a public family dialogue/debate on these subjects if they so wished. Read Full Bio