Ron Ecker

Ron Ecker

Ron Ecker was born in Jacksonville, Florida, on 8th February, 1942. He received his BA in English at the University of Florida in 1964, and spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru. He earned a Masters in Library Science degree at Florida State University, and spent almost 20 years as a librarian with the state of Florida.

Ecker became interested in the assassination of John F. Kennedy after reading Best Evidence (David Lifton). He created a website on the assassination called Ecker's JFK Web Pages. It includes articles he has written on the JFK assassination, as well as links to other JFK materials.

The author of several books, Ecker took early retirement in 2000 to become a full-time writer. His books include the Dictionary of Science and Creationism, And Adam Knew Eve: A Dictionary of Sex in the Bible, The Evolutionary Tales: Rhyme and Reason on Creation/Evolution, and the vampire novel (writing as William Pridgen) Night of the Dragon’s Blood. His modern-English translation of The Canterbury Tales has been a widely adopted text in college and university literature courses.

Imagine this. U.S. President John F. Kennedy rides in an open limousine into Dallas's Dealey Plaza. The limo is followed in the motorcade by a car full of Secret Service agents. Nothing looks suspicious, unless you count the absence of police motorcycles both in front of and beside the limo (the Secret Service ordered that the motorcycles stay to the rear of JFK's car, which led the House Select Committee on Assassinations to call the Dallas motorcade "uniquely insecure"). 1 There was also the choice of motorcade route, with that slow, tight turn onto Elm Street, seconds before rifle shots ring out. Such slow speed and tight turns can clearly be dangerous for a president riding in an open car. (One familiar with presidential motorcades might also wonder about the absence in Dallas of the usual press truck, with all of its cameras, in front of the President's limo.) And when shots are heard, and Secret Service agent John Ready jumps off the running board of the follow-up car, intent to run to JFK's limo (which driver William Greer slows down, of all things), SS agent in charge Emory Roberts in the follow-up car calls Ready back. Agent Clint Hill runs to the limo anyway, climbing onto the back of it, as the limo finally speeds up after JFK has been fatally shot in the head.

But never mind the unique insecurity, the route, and the behavior of the Secret Service. Nothing else looks suspicious, till after that slow turn onto Elm Street. Imagine this. There's a man, on this bright sunny day, standing on the sidewalk right where the President is about to pass, who opens an umbrella. Not only that, but (as seen in the Zapruder film) he rotates the open umbrella while he's standing under it, as if somehow tracking the President with it as the limo approaches. Now the man pumps the umbrella up and down, as if signaling, right after JFK is first shot. Not only that, but there's a slim, dark-complected man standing on the sidewalk near the umbrella man who, after JFK has been hit, raises one hand high in the air. And after more shots have been fired, fatally wounding the President, and while everyone else is running about or fearfully lying low on the plaza grass, the man with the umbrella calmly lowers and closes it. Then he and the dark-complected man, with chaos all around them, casually sit down together on the curb. The dark-complected man apparently says something into a radio, then conceals it in his back when he and the umbrella man, having taken their respite on the curb, stroll away in opposite directions.

When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, six members of his Cabinet plus his press secretary were out of the country, together on an airplane en route to Tokyo, Japan. Some JFK conspiracy theorists have seen this group absence of key government officials from Washington during the assassination as more than a coincidence.

"We believe it was by design," J. Gary Shaw writes in his book Cover-Up, "that Secretary of State (Dean) Rusk, Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon, Interior Secretary Stewart Udall and Labor Secretary W.W. Wirtz, as well as other administration officials like Press Secretary (Pierre) Salinger, were trapped in an airplane over the Pacific Ocean at such a critical time." 1 (The other two Cabinet members aboard were Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges and Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman. Cabinet members not on the trip were Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, HEW Secretary Anthony Celebrezze, and Postmaster General John Gronouski.)

Shaw also writes of a problem the Rusk party had in communicating by radio with the White House because "the official code book was missing from its special place aboard the plane" (italics in original), a suspicious circumstance reiterated by Robert Groden and Harrison Livingstone in their best-selling book High Treason.

The late Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, who in 1963 was Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and who was the basis for the military character "X" in the Oliver Stone film JFK), was also out of the country that day, having been sent on a mission to the South Pole. In his 1992 book JFK, Prouty wonders, "Were there things that I knew, or would have discovered, that made it wise to have me far from Washington, along with others, such as the Kennedy cabinet . ?"

Similarly, researcher Vince Palamara is suspicious about the presence of Salinger on the Tokyo flight instead of in Dallas, where the press secretary's knowledge of motorcade planning and security might conceivably have made a difference.

Author Updates

In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories and low farce. A story-telling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight’s account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath’s Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook. Rich and diverse, The Canterbury Tales offer us an unrivalled glimpse into the life and mind of medieval England.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Ecker History

Beginning in 1952, the Elgin Association for Mental Health&rsquos President, Maureen Withers, directed the work of volunteers from St. Joseph and Sherman Hospitals to establish the Fox Valley Mental Health Center. The center opened in 1955 to provide affordable psychiatric and related services such as therapy, case management and psychological testing. In the first year of operations, the center served 59 adults and children.

Dean Ecker was the organization&rsquos first Executive Director, and the Fox Valley Mental Health Center was renamed the Ecker Center for Mental Health in 1983, a year after he retired. During the deinstituationalization movement in the 1970&rsquos, the center began working closely with adults who were released from the Elgin Mental Health Center (state psychiatric hospital).

Beginning in the 1980&rsquos, children and adolescent mental health services increasingly became the responsibility of the Family Service Association of Greater Elgin. In 1983, the Psychiatric Emergency Program was opened at Sherman Hospital, and in 1986, satellite offices were opened in Hanover Park and St. Charles. An 8-bed Crisis Residential Program was opened in 1985. A CILA supervised residential program with a 14-person capacity was added in 2000 and another in 2002.

When bed capacity at the Elgin Mental Health Center was significantly reduced in 2003, the Ecker Center assumed more responsibility for adults with very severe and chronic mental illnesses. The center opened another 8-bed supervised residential program, and additional Psychiatric Emergency Program therapists were hired. The center applied for and received two HUD-supported housing program grants in 2003 and 2005. The HUD programs serve a total of 20 individuals with mental illness who were homeless when they entered the programs. In 2004, the organization began providing an outreach case manager to the PADS of Elgin homeless shelter site. In 2012, Ecker Center's Grandstand location added on-site primary healthcare provided by VNA Healthcare and an independent pharmacy provided by Genoa Healthcare. In 2013, Ecker Center assumed responsibility for the former Larkin Center&rsquos adult residential and counseling programs. As a result, the Ecker Center began providing counseling and psychiatry for children and adolescents once again.

Today, Ecker Center for Behavioral Health provides sliding scale fee services to residents of ten townships in the northern two-thirds of Kane County and two townships in Cook County (Barrington and Hanover Townships).


Playing basketball at University High in West Los Angeles, Ecker was named to the All-Western League Second Team in 1965. [2] As a senior, he averaged 20.7 points per game and was named to the All-Los Angeles City First Team. He was also named to the All-Western League First Team along with fellow senior teammate Bill Seibert. [3]

Ecker was not a marquee player for UCLA. [4] Over three championship seasons, he played in nearly every game, though his playing time was limited and typically came when the outcome of the game was already decided. [5] [6] The skinny, 6-foot-6-inch (1.98 m) reserve served as a backup at both forward and center. [7] [8] [9] He is one of 14 players who won three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles at UCLA under Coach John Wooden. [10]

Ecker entered UCLA as a walk-on without an athletic scholarship, [11] and was a starter on the freshman team in 1966–67. He was joined in the lineup by Seibert, his former high school teammate. [12] [13] The following season, Ecker redshirted and did not play. [14] He made the 15-man varsity squad for 1968–69, and served as the team's third-string center. [9] [14]

On the first day of practice in 1969–70, students at UCLA had scheduled a walkout to protest the Vietnam War. Ecker joined teammate Andy Hill, who was also a former high school teammate, [15] in requesting Wooden to cancel practice to support of the antiwar effort, but the coach refused. [16] With the graduation of three-year starting center Lew Alcindor (known later as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Ecker was promoted to second-string as starter Steve Patterson's backup. [9] [17] During the season, Ecker made a 4-foot (1.2 m) layup with five seconds remaining for a 72–71 win over Oregon State. [18] He had entered the game for a jump ball with 16 seconds left after Sidney Wicks had fouled out, and controlled the tip before making the winning shot. [7] [8] [19] UCLA finished the season 28–2, and won the national championship game over Jacksonville. At the annual team banquet after the season, Seibert delivered a speech that was highly critical of Wooden. Afterwards, the coach was determined to eliminate "all possible sources of trouble" from the team. He interrogated Ecker, Hill, and Terry Schofield, advising them to transfer from UCLA if they agreed with Seibert, but all three players insisted that they wished to stay. [20] [21] [22]

In 1970–71, Ecker made two free throws in the final seven seconds in a 57–53 win over Washington State. The team's top free throw shooter at 88 percent, he made the shots in place of an injured Schofield. [23] [24] The Bruins won their fifth straight national championship, and seven of the previous eight. [25]

Ecker played in Germany for TuS 04 Leverkusen from 1971 though 1983. [1] He briefly returned to the U.S. for 15 months starting in 1974, [26] when he served as an assistant coach with UCLA. [27] Ecker later coached in Germany as well. [1]

From 1975 though 2010, he was also a high school teacher at Landrat-Lucas-Gymnasium in Opladen. [1]

Ecker met his wife, Heide Rosendahl, in 1971 on his third day in Leverkusen. [1] Rosendahl won two gold medals in track and field in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. [28] They married in 1974 and have two sons: David and Danny, who became one of Germany's top pole vaulters. [1] [5] [29]

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925Bessie Tina Ecker

[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 638-639 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925 , edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

Among the women who have achieved a place of distinction in the business and professional life of Herkimer is Miss Bessie Tina Ecker, secretary and treasurer of the West Canada Lumber Company and an official in a number of other Herkimer county concerns. She was born in Bethel, now Deck, New York. Her father, William Alvaro Ecker, was a native of the same place, and died in Mohawk on April 12, 1912, at the age of seventy-one, his birth having occurred on the 4th of December, 1840. He was the son of Levi and Tina (Sliter) Ecker. Miss Ecker's mother, who bore the maiden name of Sarah Elizabeth Shoemaker, was the daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth (Wright) Shoemaker, and was born in Fox Hollow, New York.

Bessie Tina Ecker attended the district school of Deck and the high school at Mohawk, after which she prepared for a business career by a course of study at the Fairfield Military Academy, from which she graduated in 1898. The first position which this ambitious young woman held was that of stenographer for Hadley Jones, an attorney of Little Falls, for whom she worked a year. After spending another year in legal work in the office of H. A. DeCoster of Little Falls, she went to the Utica Gas & Electric Company as cashier and stenographer, where she was employed for two years. In 1903 Miss Ecker came to Herkimer as private secretary to Mr. Strobel, a position she has held ever since. Meanwhile, she has been gradually extending her interests until she is connected officially with a number of business enterprises of this community. She is vice president and secretary to the Herkimer County Realty Corporation, director of the Herkimer Milk Company, director of the Herkimer County Realty Corporation, and holds a similar position in the West Canada Lumber Company, of which she is also secretary and treasurer. Another local concern in which she owns stock is the Pulmonol Corporation of Herkimer, which manufactures "Pulmonol," a tonic and remedy for colds, bronchitis and similar ailments. Miss Ecker also has an interest in Gaundawaneh Park, located in the town of Ohio (formerly Wilmurt), containing one thousand acres of land, including four beautiful lakes.

It needs only a glance at this list of enterprises to convince one that Miss Ecker is a woman of unusual ability in the business field and is gifted with enviable powers of accomplishment. She has made for herself a high place in the esteem of her associates and fellow townsmen who regard her as one of the substantial and worthwhile citizens of the village.

Miss Ecker is very active in the work of the republican party and the Herkimer county organization of the New York State League of Women Voters, of which she is secretary. She is also a member of the Daughters of the Revolution, General Nicholas Herkimer Chapter of Herkimer, New York, and a member of the Business and Professional Women's Club of Herkimer. Her religious affiliations are indicated by her membership in Christ Episcopal church.

Miss Ecker has a great aunt, Mrs. Lina Ecker Filkins by name, who was one hundred and nine years old on May 4, 1924. On this day Mrs. Ecker, the mother of Miss Ecker, took her for an automobile ride. She is in possession of all her faculties, and can see without glasses, but is a little deaf. updated June 10, 2018

Copyright 2018 Schenectady Digital History Archive — a service of the Schenectady County Public Library

The Ghost of Trouble Creek

In 1876, ROY T. BRODIE, 35, is released from a Texas prison. A former lawman turned bank robber (one heist, in which he didn’t fire a shot), Roy got religion while serving a five-year sentence. But that doesn’t mean he’s completely “a new creature” (to quote the Bible). He still has the buried loot (the law thinks his accomplices, all now violently deceased, got away with it). And when he sees a sexual opportunity with a certain lady soon after his release, he looks up St. Paul’s commandment in the Bible to “flee fornication.” He asks a reverend if that means don’t do it at all or just don’t overdo it.

Roy is now on his way to where the Lord, he says, is leading him: the Dakota gold rush. (His catchphrase is “to do what’s right in the eyes of the Lord.”) He digs up the money from the robbery to take with him. On the stormy night that he passes through Trouble Creek, Texas, he fleetingly sees, during a lightning flash, a man’s face in the dark window of the closed jailhouse. He later learns from a picture that it was the face of the late LESTER DEES, 45, the Trouble Creek sheriff who was shot to death in the jail one night by an unknown assailant. His deputy was a suspect because Dees was rumored to be having an affair with the deputy’s wife. The deputy was lynched by some masked men while protesting his innocence, leaving Trouble Creek in need of some law and order.

Taking the jailhouse apparition as a divine call to seek justice, both for Dees and his deputy, Roy agrees with the mayor to be the town’s new sheriff temporarily. Roy learns from the local PARSON that Dees, though a reprobate most of his life, got right with the Lord not long before his death. Scary occurrences convince Roy that the jailhouse is now haunted by Dees’s ghost. For one thing, Roy finds that a 6 x 8 framed picture of Dees on the wall keeps being turned around to face the wall. He leaves it that way since it must serve some ghostly purpose.

When the SALOON OWNER who runs the town (and whose men conveniently lynched Dees’s deputy) attempts to have this nosy new sheriff shot one night, Roy wipes out the owner and his gang in a spectacular saloon gunfight. But the saloon owner is eliminated as a suspect in Dees’s murder as the jailhouse haunting continues.

Other suspects include the widow MRS. DEES and the late deputy’s wife SADIE, each of whom accuses the other of being the jealous murderer.

When the evidence points to Sadie, Roy interrogates her in the jailhouse with the town’s MAYOR as a witness. Dees’s ghost confirms her guilt by turning the Dees picture around to look straight at her. Then suddenly someone tries to shoot Sadie through the jailhouse window. The motive for this is revealed after Roy chases down and has a gunfight with the SHOOTER. Meanwhile Sadie tearfully confesses to the mayor that she killed Dees in a crime of passion. Dees was cheating on her with a RANCHER’S WIDOW (before he got right with the Lord).

With Dees’s avenged ghost departed, Roy resumes his journey to the Dakota gold rush. But he had begun to feel guilty about keeping the loot (stashed in a jailhouse cabinet) from the crime that he committed five years ago. Having served the time, Roy drops off the stolen money at the bank he had helped to rob, and he leaves for Dakota as a better man. But he admits to the BANKER that giving up that money is the hardest thing he’s ever done. The banker opines that doing the right thing isn’t always easy. To which Roy says, “It sure as hell ain’t.”

Military History Bunker

From Ewell and Hunt, Sharpening the Combat Edge, 1995, pg. 124

“Many GIs in Vietnam thought the night belonged to the enemy, but in the Mekong Delta, darkness belonged to Bert Waldron.” Major John Plaster

Staff Sergeant Adelbert Francis Waldron III scored the most confirmed kills by an American sniper during his eight-month tour of duty in Vietnam. He went on to become the most highly decorated sniper of the war. Then he disappeared. As is often the case when a high-profile figure falls into obscurity, the silent void would give rise to hearsay and speculation. Lots of it.

From the Beginning

Adelbert “Bert” Francis Waldron III was born in Syracuse, New York, on March 14, 1933, to Virginia (née Forderkonz) of Baldwinsville, New York, and Adelbert F. Waldron, Jr. of Phoenix Village, Oswego, New York. 1 Waldron’s parents had married in their teens and divorced when Adelbert was seven years old. His father then married Adeline Baxter, with whom he lived until his death at age fifty-six. 2 His mother returned to her parents’ home with her son and worked as a waitress and cook at a local diner. 3 Bert was nine years old when Virginia married Ernest J. Searle, a WW II Army infantryman. According to author, Paul Kirchner, who interviewed Bert’s wife, Betty, Bert “despised” his stepfather. Betty revealed to Kirchner that young Bert was an unhappy and lonely child who first honed his marksmanship skills during his hunting forays into the nearby woods. 4

Waldron’s troubled past marred by family turmoil and loneliness may have been a significant contributor to his erratic and complex personal life. By the time he was twenty-three, Bert had married three times. His third marriage to seventeen-year-old Maude Marie Vincent of Virginia lasted eleven years and produced three children. Marie filed for divorce on grounds of desertion on August 6, 1969, two years after their actual separation. 5 In December, 1969, after a whirlwind courtship, Bert married Betty Wyatt Varner, a divorcee with two children whom he met in Powder Springs, Georgia. Sadly, whatever unresolved emotional issues or post-war trauma he experienced created an irreparable wedge in their marriage. Betty filed for divorce in October, 1980. 6

Rise to Glory

Waldron enlisted in the United States Navy on January 3, 1952, and served during the Korean War. He was discharged from the Navy on July 27, 1965, after more than twelve years of service. Despite the fact that America was becoming embroiled in a controversial and increasingly bloody war in Vietnam, thirty-five-year-old Waldron enlisted in the United States Army on May 7, 1968, and was accorded the rank of Staff Sergeant in line with his Navy rank on discharge. 7 He attended basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and arrived in South Vietnam on November 4, 1968.

Not long after his arrival, Sergeant Waldron was accepted into an eighteen-day sniper training program taught by a team from the Army Marksmanship Unit and led by Major Willis L. Powell, an expert marksman and former instructor at Fort Benning. 8 He graduated on January 4, 1969, and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division commanded by Lieutenant General Julian J. Ewell. 9

Waldron’s primary weapon was the XM21, a modified version of the M14 Rifle. The semi-automatic, gas-powered XM21 Sniper Weapon System (SWS) incorporated the strengths of the M14 with modifications to improve its efficiency. The newly designed Leatherwood 3X to 9X Adjustable Ranging Telescope (ART) enhanced its range and accuracy. The XM21 could also be fitted with an AN/PVS-2 starlight night-vision scope. Early in 1969, a Sionics suppressor was added to the XM21 which reduced the muzzle blast to such an extent that one could not tell where the shot came from beyond 100 meters. A detachable magazine held 5 or 20 rounds of ammunition. The rifle was 44 inches long, weighed roughly 12 pounds, and had an effective range of 900 yards. It was renamed the M21 in 1972 when the Army approved it as the official standard for sniper weapons. 10

Lethal Sniper in the Mekong Delta

After graduating from the sniper program, Staff Sergeant Waldron found himself in one of the most dangerous areas in Vietnam. The Mekong Delta was a highly populated agrarian plain in south Vietnam with a virtual maze of streams, canals and rice paddies which made foot travel slow and arduous. The area was heavily infested by the Viet Cong, who used the network of waterways to transport weapons, supplies, and insurgents throughout the region. Not only did these soldiers face an inhospitable environment, with malaria-bearing mosquitoes, snakes, leeches, wasps and microbes and fungi which caused debilitating foot diseases, but also deadly mines and booby traps.

A joint Army-Navy task force consisting of elements of the 9th Infantry Division, which included Waldron’s 3/60th Infantry, and the Mobile Riverine Force (also known as Riverines or the Brown Water Navy), were specifically designated to operate from a base deep within the Communist-controlled Delta with the mission of securing the area. As an Army sniper, Waldron often traveled on Armored Troop Carriers (ATC or Tango Boats), searching for an elusive enemy hidden along the canals, in the jungles, and among the civilians. 11

The Viet Cong were homegrown communist insurgents who knew the terrain and blended into the civilian population. They were able to gain support from the South Vietnamese people through a combination of political propaganda, intimidation, and violence. Allied troops would launch countless search and destroy operations throughout South Vietnam in an effort to break the insurgency, but the VC would simply melt away into the jungles and villages, seeking to avoid a pitched battle with superior forces. The VC utilized classic guerrilla tactics of ambushes, hit and run attacks, booby traps, bombings, and snipers to gradually inflict losses on Allied troops. While the Americans and their allies roamed openly in the daylight, the VC and NVA owned the night, launching some of their deadliest attacks. But American snipers were determined to even those odds.

On the night of January 19, 1969, Sergeant Adelbert F. Waldron was conducting a reconnaissance mission with a squad from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment in Kien Hoa Province, South Vietnam. The group suddenly came under attack by an estimated force of forty heavily armed Viet Cong. As the fighting raged, Waldron made an incredibly bold move by leaving the safety of their defenses to set up a sniper position. Using the starlight night-vision scope on his rifle, he was able to spot the enemy maneuvering in the dark. In the ensuing gunfight, Waldron killed and wounded several VC, inflicting so many casualties that the insurgents broke contact and withdrew. For this action he was awarded the Bronze Star with a “V” for Valor. 12

Three days later, while concealed in the sniper position and looking through his night-vision scope, he spotted a large group of Viet Cong moving through the countryside. He carefully maneuvered his way through the rice paddies from one position to another, engaging the VC and making them believe that they were fighting multiple shooters. Waldron single-handedly held off the enemy for over three hours and killed eleven VC before he was forced to withdraw. He earned the Silver Star for “extraordinary heroism in close combat with an armed hostile force.”

On the night of January 30, Sergeant Waldron and a fellow soldier set up a sniper ambush position at a strategic intersection surrounded by a large rice paddy just northeast of Ben Tre. At 8 p.m., Waldron took out a Viet Cong scout maneuvering in the tree line. Forty minutes later, a squad of sixteen VC began moving towards their position. Calls for artillery were denied because of the risk to civilians in a village near their position. Despite the lack of support, Waldron decided to engage the enemy. With eight shots, he took out eight VC during the ensuing firefight at a range of over 500 meters. With half of their men dead, the remaining VC withdrew into the darkness.

Four days later, Sergeant Waldron and his teammate set up a sniper ambush position in a rice paddy just south of Ben Tre. It was just after 9 p.m. when a group of five Viet Cong suddenly appeared from a wooded area at the edge the rice paddy. A nearby ARVN unit was coming under attack and the VC were attempting to outflank their positions. Sergeant Waldron took careful aim and proceeded to pick off the enemy one by one. He killed a sixth VC attempting to gather weapons and equipment from his dead comrades. His actions helped protect the ARVN flank, saving them from further losses. From January 16 to February 4, Waldron had conducted fourteen sniper missions. For his actions in these daring night missions, Sergeant Adelbert F. Waldron III was awarded his first Distinguished Service Cross (DSC).

Waldron was as meticulous and precise as he was unstoppable. On the night of February 14, Waldron was conducting a reconnaissance mission with a squad near Ap Phu Thuan, in Kien Hoa Province. While patrolling the countryside, the team engaged a large force of Viet Cong moving to attack a nearby Allied unit. During the firefight, Sergeant Waldron maneuvered through the brush, firing his rifle from one position to another, killing several VC in the process. Suffering heavy losses, the insurgents were confused over the size and strength of the American unit they had encountered and withdrew. Due to the efforts of Waldron and his squad, the VC were routed, and a major attack was thwarted. 13

On February 26, Sergeant Waldron was riding in an ATC with the Mobile Riverine Force through the Mekong Delta. The boat was sailing near Phu Tuc when Waldron noticed something suspicious in the trees along the shoreline. Using his rifle, he spotted a Viet Cong team preparing to fire a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) at their boat. With great skill and accuracy, Waldron eliminated both VC while the Tango Boat was still moving. This was an incredible feat of marksmanship, but it may not have been the only time he accomplished such a shot. According to the commander of the 9th Infantry Division, Major General Julian Ewell:

“One afternoon he was riding along the Mekong River on a Tango boat when an enemy sniper on shore pecked away at the boat. While everyone else on board strained to find the antagonist, who was firing from the shoreline over 900 meters away, Sergeant Waldron took up his sniper rifle and picked off the Viet Cong out of the top of a coconut tree with one shot.” Ewell noted that Tango boats moved at speeds of two to four knots and about 100-150 meters parallel to the shore. 14

For numerous acts of heroism in Kien Hoa Province from February 5 to March 29, 1969, Sergeant Adelbert F. Waldron III was awarded his second Distinguished Service Cross. In just a short time, he had developed a reputation as the deadliest sniper in the Mekong Delta, earning him the nickname, Daniel Boone. But Waldron had also gained notoriety among the enemy. To the Viet Cong, he was a major thorn in their side, making him and other snipers priority targets. After serving eight months in the jungles of Vietnam, Sergeant Waldron’s unit returned to the United States in July 1969. 15

During his tour of duty in Vietnam, Sergeant Waldron had 109 confirmed kills. To put this into perspective, between December 1968 and May 1969, the 9th Infantry Division snipers were credited with 934 confirmed kills 12 percent were made by Waldron alone, making him the deadliest American sniper of all time. 16 It was a distinction he held for over forty years until his record was surpassed in 2006 by U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The most decorated sniper of the Vietnam War, Waldron earned three Bronze Stars, a Silver Star, two Distinguished Service Crosses and a Presidential Unit Citation for actions in the Mekong Delta. 17

Waldron with wife, Betty, and her two children look over Bert’s second Distinguished Service Cross presented at Fort McPherson, September 1970. Columbus Daily Enquirer Oct 01, 1970 Columbus, GA 52.

Descent into Oblivion

Much of Waldron’s postwar activities read like a Forsyth cloak and dagger saga, some still sealed in classified FBI records. 18 Bert returned to Fort Benning where he briefly served as a senior instructor in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Training Unit (USAMTU) from July 1969 until his discharge in March 1970. While there, he was introduced to Mitchell Livingston WerBell III by Col. Robert F. Bayard, a retired commanding officer of the USAMTU, who had gone into business with WerBell. 19 Described by Office of Security documents as “an unscrupulous con man,” 20 WerBell, an OSS operative during World War II, co-founded the Military Armament Corporation (MAC), producers of MAC-10 and MAC-11 submachine guns and manufacturers of high-quality suppressors designed by WerBell. 21 Waldron worked for WerBell as a counter-sniper advisor. 22 When MAC went bankrupt in 1975, WerBell formed a successor company, Cobray International, a paramilitary training camp nicknamed “the farm,” on his sixty-acre estate. Waldron was signed on as chief marksmanship instructor and later as director of the training center. 23

Waldron (left) instructs a trainee at the Cobray Training Center Powder Springs, Ga., 1980. Soldier of Fortune

WerBell would become a highly controversial figure for his involvement in covert mercenary activities in the 1970s. He had been investigated for alleged arms smuggling, Castro assassination plots, and the thwarted takeover of Abaco, an island in the Bahamas, for use as a gambling haven. 24 On July 3, 1975, Colonel Bayard, Werbell’s business partner and the man who introduced Waldron to him, was found shot to death near an Atlanta mall. 25 His murder remains unsolved. It was in this mysterious miasma of corruption that Waldron became enmeshed. There is evidence that in 1971, he testified before the Department of Defense on an investigation of Werbell with “details on U.S. sniper program in Vietnam and dealings with the Thai government.” 26

Bert Waldron struggled to adapt as a civilian and his personal life deteriorated as a result. His paramilitary work with Mitchell WerBell gradually took its toll on his marriage. In October 1980, Betty Waldron filed for divorce. 27 According to author, Paul Kirchner, in 1983, Waldron became a marksmanship instructor at a counter-terrorism school, the Starlight Training Center, in Idyllwild, California. Allegedly cofounded by Medal of Honor recipient, Lewis L. Millet, Waldron’s employment there only lasted several months. 28 To date, I have been unable to confirm this organization’s existence nor does Colonel Millett refer to it in his many interviews where he discusses his postretirement experience. 29 It is at this point that Waldron’s tracks vanish it has been purported that he flitted from job to job in several states, eventually landing in California. On October 18, 1995, Adelbert F. Waldron III died of a heart attack at the age of sixty-two. His remains are interred at the Riverside National Cemetery in California. 30

Adelbert F. Waldron is a relative unknown among those men considered to be the deadliest snipers in American history. He is officially the top-scoring sniper of the Vietnam War and still holds the record for the most confirmed kills by a U.S. Army sniper. There are no monuments to Bert Waldron and few references about his exploits as a soldier in Vietnam. Like many Vietnam War veterans, he was haunted by his own demons and his personal shortcomings may have led him down a path of self-destruction. According to his ex-wife, Betty, “Bert was a wonderful soldier. He loved his country, he would have died for this country, but he had a lot of problems as a human being.” 31

[1] Birth record source: New York State, Birth Index, 1881-1942 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2018. Marriage record source: New York, County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016.

[2] Adelbert F. Waldron Jr. obituary: Syracuse Post Standard, Dec 27, 1966, p. 9.

[3] Year: 1940 Census Place: Baldwinsville, Onondaga, New York Roll: m-t0627-02704 Page: 7B Enumeration District: 34-43

[4] Paul Kirchner, More of the Deadliest Men Who Ever Lived (Boulder: Paladin Press, 2009), 398. Virginia and Ernest marriage record: Virginia Department of Health Richmond, Virginia Virginia Marriages, 1936-2014 Roll: 101169203

[5] Marriage certificates sources: Virginia Department of Health Richmond, Virginia Virginia Marriages, 1936-2014 Rolls: 101168589, 101169629, 101168777. Maude Marie Vincent divorce record: Roll 101254585.

[6] Newspaper legal notice of divorce: Marietta Daily Journal, Friday, Oct 24, 1980 Marietta, GA, page 32.

[7] Korea and Vietnam service dates: Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Also confirmed via correspondence with the National Personnel Records Center, National Archives St. Louis, MO.

[8] Lt. Gen. Julian J. Ewell and Maj. Gen. Ira A. Hunt, Sharpening the Combat Edge: The Use of Analysis to Reinforce Military Judgment (Washington D.C.: Gov’t Printing Office, 1974), 120-123. Peter R. Senich, Long-Range War: Sniping in Vietnam (Boulder: Paladin Press, 1994), 34-36.

[9] Ira A. Hunt Jr., The 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam: Unparalleled and Unequaled (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2010), 67-68.

[10] Senich, Long-Range War, 83. J. David Truby, Silencers, Snipers & Assassins: An Overview of Whispering Death (Boulder: Paladin Press, 1972), 98-101. Melvin Ewing, “Hands-on Review: U.S. Army M21 and XM21,” Sniper Central, April 28, 2016. Bob Stoner, GMCM (SW) Ret., “XM21 7.62mm NATO Rifle (Sniper’s) with Sionics Suppressor,” Warboats, 2005.

[11] Hunt, 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam, 4-11. Maj. Gen. William B. Fulton, Vietnam Studies: Riverine Operations 1966-1969 (Washington D.C.: U.S. Gov’t Printing Office, 1985), 17-41.

[12] Kirchner, More of the Deadliest Men, quoted Waldron’s Bronze Star citation, 399. However, his Distinguished Service Cross citation, which covered his actions on three dates, including January 19, 1969, stated that “while his company was being resupplied near Ap Hoa, Kien Hoa Province, approximately forty Viet Cong unleashed a heavy barrage of small arms and automatic weapons fire.” Military Times Hall of Valor.

[13] Kirchner, More of the Deadliest Men, after-action reports: 400-403. Military Times Hall of Valor.

[14] Ewell and Hunt, Sharpening the Combat Edge, 122-123.

[15] “9th Infantry Division Unit Histories (Vietnam),” Mobile Riverine Force Association. Author Kirchner (More of the Deadliest Men, 406) claimed Waldron was returned to the U.S. “out of concern for his safety” on July 21, 1969, but this could not be corroborated nor is there a source listed for this information.

[16] Hunt, 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam, 68.

[17] Maj. John Plaster, The History of Sniping and Sharpshooting (Boulder: Paladin Press, 2008), 570. “3d Battalion 60th Infantry Regiment Lineage and Honors Information,” U.S. Army Center of Military History, Military Times Hall of Valor.

[18] Dept. of Defense, Security Clearance Division, “Security File on Mitchell Livingston Werbell,” Mary Ferrell Foundation, 22 September 1971. I requested Waldron’s testimony on the sniper program in Vietnam and dealings with the Thai government on June 1, 2019. This article will be updated with pertinent findings when received.

[19] Kirchner, More of the Deadliest Men, 406.

[20] FBI dossier on Mitchell Livingston Werbell 27 May, 1970 74-76. “Incident Report [on Mitchell Werbell],” 14 October 1973, The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, National Archives.

[21] Andrew St. George, “The Amazing New Country Caper,” Esquire, Feb. 1, 1975, pg. 62. Of interest is that author St. George was under surveillance by the CIA and was compelled to testify on the activities of Mitchell Werbell along with Waldron (see note 18). Ron Ecker, “Our Man in Powder Springs: Mitch Werbell,” revised November 30, 2009, Ronald Ecker Webpage. Mr. Ecker’s well-researched article posits a connection between Werbell and the assassination of JFK.

[22] Truby, Silencers, Snipers and Assassins, 102.

[23] Tom Dunkin, “Cobray: Turning the Tables on Terrorists,” Soldier of Fortune Magazine, January 1980, 49-50.

[24] FBI dossier on Mitchell Livingston Werbell 21 May, 1976 69-70.

[25] UPI, “Mystery of Ex-Colonel’s Death,” San Francisco Chronicle July 7, 1975 37.

Ecker Hill: A Photographic Exhibit

The Olympic Park isn’t the first time Utah has had a world-class facility for ski jumping.

Text by Roger Roper, Utah History Encyclopedia
photographs from the Utah State Historical Society

Ecker Hill. USHS Collection C-558 #16.

Just a few miles north of the present Olympic ski jump facility in Parley’s Canyon is Ecker Hill.

Ecker Hill just before official opening of US Ski Jumping Championship, February 22, 1937. Photo by Bill Shipler. USHS Photo #9891.

In the late fall of 1928, members of the fledgling Utah Ski Club set about establishing a ski jumping facility near Parley’s Summit. The club consisted primarily of young Norwegian-Americans who were interested in promoting cross country skiing and ski jumping.

They completed the jump by Christmas Day 1928 and hosted the first ski jumping tournament on the hill in February 1929. The hill proved to be very suitable and in 1930 was officially named Ecker Hill by Utah Governor George Dern in honor of Peter Ecker, acting president of the Utah Ski Club.

Ski Jumping at Ecker Hill, February 17, 1935. USHS Photo #21101.

Ecker Hill overshadowed the other major ski jumping hills established in Utah at that time, including Becker Hill in Ogden Canyon. A number of smaller jumps for amateurs and juniors were also built at various locations throughout the state at that time.

Ecker Hill in February 1937 during the US Ski Jumping Championship. Photo by Bill Shipler. USHS Photo #9893.

During the 1930s and 1940s Ecker Hill was one of a handful of world-class ski jumps in the United States. National meets were held regularly on the hill, and several world records were set there. Large crowds of up to 9,000 people gathered to watch the events.

Skiing Ecker Hill. USHS Photo #21103.

Ecker Hill was the site of Utah’s 1938 Ski Jumping Championships. Einar Fredbo won the championship by jumping 64.5 meters and 67 meters. Contestants were given three jumps. The first was a practice and the last two figured into the contest.

Group of ski jumpers at Ecker Hill, 1935. USHS Collection C-558 #5.

During the early years at Ecker Hill most of the headlines were garnered by skiers from the Professional Ski Jumpers of America, a fifteen-member group that competed for prize money at various locations throughout the country.

Alf and Sverre Engen jumping together at Ecker Hill. USHS C-558 #11.

Alf Engen is perhaps the best known of the early professional jumpers. He jumped world record distances several times during the 1930s, and each year from 1931 to 1935 he was named National Professional Jumping Champion. His top official mark at Ecker Hill was a 281-foot record setting jump in 1934.

Ralph Bastila at National Ski Jump at Ecker Hill. USHS Collection C-314 Fd 13 90.

Other world class skiers who jumped at Ecker Hill included the two-time Olympic champion from Norway Sigmund Ruud, as well as Sig Ulland, Gordon Wren, Sverre Engen, Art Devlin, and 1948 Olympic champion Peter Hugsted.

Group photo at Ecker Hill 1931. USHS Collection C-558 #12.

Some of the big names in Utah skiing are shown in this image. Standing, left to right, are Halvor Hvalstad, Halvor Bjornstad, Sverre Engen, Einar Fredbo, Ted Rex, Alf Mathesen, Lars Haugen, Steffen Trogstad and Alf Engen. First row, left to right, are Pete Ecker, Vic Johannsen, Axel Andresen, Nordquist, Mark Strand and Ralph Larsen.

Scenes at National Ski Jump held at Ecker Hill. USHS Collection C-242 Box 4, Fd 17, #3.

After the 1949 National Championships, use of Ecker Hill for ski jumping competitions declined rapidly. Longer and better designed hills were being constructed in both the U.S. and Europe, replacing smaller hills such as Ecker.

Participant of National Ski Jump held at Ecker Hill. USHS Collection C-242 Box 4, Fd 16, #13.

By the 1940s skiers were already coming close to landing on the flat at Ecker Hill with jumps of almost 300 feet. Improved ski jumping equipment and techniques rendered the hill obsolete for world-class events by the 1950s.

Ski Jumping at Ecker Hill. USHS Photo #21042.

The decline in the popularity of ski jumping as a spectator sport also contributed to the demise of Ecker Hill. Ski enthusiasts who had previously been content to simply watch ski jumping were now more interested in the participatory sport of downhill skiing. Local resorts such as Brighton, Alta, and Park City began their rapid growth during the 1950s and 1960s.

Ecker Hill during US Ski Jumping Championship, February 22, 1937. Photo by Bill Shipler. USHS Photo #9892.

Ecker Hill was last used around 1960. In recognition of its significance, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Ecker Hill Serves As One of the Most Historical Ski Jumping Hills in History

In Park City, Utah, Ecker Hill may just seem like an ordinary mountain in the Wasatch Back to individuals. However, everyone may not know about how much historical impact it holds.

From the 1930s to the late 1940s, Ecker Hill was an original amateur and professional ski jumping mountain. The finest world-class jumpers traveled from all over the world to attend and compete in regional and national championships. The hill was just a handful of world-class ski jumps in North America. From 1930 to 1949, Utah would host national meets regularly, with approximately 10,000 people in attendance. (Roper)

Ski jumping in Utah started in 1915, where several young Norwegians settled in Utah, including figures like Marthinius “Mark” A. Strand and Axel Andresen from the Norwegian Young Folks Society. The group started hosting ski competitions in the intermountain area once a year at Dry Canyon, which is now considered the upper campus at the University of Utah. (Kelly)

However, in 1928, Utah Ski Club leader Peter S. Ecker wanted to attract more professional ski jumpers to competitions in Utah. The team decided that if it was going to attract the best ski jumpers in the world, it would have to build a world-class jumping mountain. With aid from the Rasmussen brothers, the team planned to establish a jumping facility at the Rasmussen Ranch near Parley’s Summit. Fast forward a year, the jumping enthusiasts—Ecker, Strand, and Andersen—created the site with the help of the Rasmussen family and local supporters. (Kelly) The glory days would finally occur, as the world-class jumping hill became a reality on March 2, 1930. The Park Record reported on March 7, 1930, that the Utah governor at the time, George H. Dern, named the hill after Peter Ecker, hence the name Ecker Hill.

The Salt Lake Telegram also reported on March 16, 1930, about competitor Ulland Fredboe expecting to break a personal record at the next tournament. These kinds of articles were extremely common during peak event times, highlighting different skiers and estimating whether or not they would break a world record.

Shortly after events started occurring, competition events increased at the hill. The Park Record reported on December 19, 1930, that a ski jumping event would be held on the first day of the new year. On New Year’s Day 1931, approximately 500 observers gathered on Ecker Hill to watch Alf Engen break the world’s professional ski jumping record. Engen jumped 231 feet, breaking the previous world record by two feet. On that same day, he smashed the world record again by jumping 247 feet. The Salt Lake Telegram honored that record in an article published on February 21, 1931, stating that it would be recognized as a national record. But that wasn’t the only time that Alf Engen broke world records. The world-class ski jumper set world records several times throughout the 1930s. His top mark was 296 feet, which was the longest jump ever recorded at Ecker Hill. (Roper)

There were many legendary names mentioned in ski history during the 20th century. According to a Salt Lake Telegram article published on February 23, 1933, there was a Champions Tournament that hosted competitive ski jumpers and athletes from all over the world. These names included Sigmund Ruud Norwegian champion Torger Tokie American record holder Reidar Anderson and 1938 Norwegian champion Peter Hugsted (Roper)

In 1937, Utah hosted the U.S. National Ski Jumping Championship at Ecker Hill, led by Joe Quinney, the acting president of the Utah Ski Club. Alf Engen claimed the winning title while Norwegian Olympic champion Ruud followed behind. However, the U.S. Ski Association reversed the winning titles due to a technical ruling involving how house distances were calculated. (Roper)

While tournaments were held on Ecker Hill, two different jumps were used. The biggest take-off, known as “A,” was reserved for jumpers who jumped on a more professional level. The lower jump, known as “B,” was usually used for training and lower-qualified jumpers. There was sometimes a third jump that was reserved mainly for Alf Engen. It was much larger than the other take-offs so that the world-class jumper could pursue breaking world records. Jumps were also used not just by skiers, but toboggans as well.

Ecker Hill earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. On September 1, 2001, a permanent historical monument was set in stone, commemorating the historical ski jumping hill that still stands on the outskirts of Park City, Utah. The use of Ecker Hill has boosted Utah ski tourism to what it is today and is still remembered as the peak of ski jumping.

Primary Sources

Tom Kelly, “Summit County’s Skiing Origins, From Silver To Snow,” Park Record, March 11, 2020.

Frank Rasmussen, “Ski Tournament,” Park Record, March 7, 1930.

“Fredboe, Ulland Set to Break New Jump Mark at Ecker Hill,” Salt Lake Telegram, March 16, 1930.

Clark Stohl, “Ski Riders Reconstructing Ecker Hill for 1931 Tournaments,” Salt Lake Telegram, August 1, 1930.

“Ski Tournament New Year’s Day,” Park Record, December 19, 1930.

“Engen’s 247-Foot Leap to Be Recognized as National Record,” Salt Lake Telegram, February 21, 1931.

“Ski Riders Thrill Thousands at Ecker Hill in Holiday Meet,” Salt Lake Telegram, February 23, 1933.


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