Making It Count – Part 2, by Pat Cascio

(Continued from Part 1.)

Went I turned 13 years of age, I attended Luther South High School – a private Lutheran school. All the rest of my friends either attended a public high school or a Catholic high school. We didn’t associate with each other much after that. On a good day, it would take an hour and a half to get home from that high school – during bad weather it would take a lot longer. And many times I had some “interesting” bus rides home. I had to travel on public buses through a rough neighborhood and I had more than a few unpleasant encounters with some of the locals who tried to rob me. They never did. I not only carried a large folding knife, but I also carried a small tear gas gun that looked just like a small automatic pistol.

When I hit high school, something changed in me. whereas I used to be an almost “Straight-A” student, I became mostly a “D” student. Maybe it was the long bus rides to and from school – but I was bored to death with school. I was a seriously “problem” student. I got into fights, not only with other students but a few times with some teachers. After dropping out of Luther South High School in my junior year I was too old to qualify again, so I couldn’t come back to school. So, I dropped out rather than attend a public high school. The public high school wouldn’t accept a lot of the credits from the private school, and they said I would have to repeat my second year of high school all over again That wasn’t going to fly with me.

I should mention that during my second year in high school, I worked as a junior custodian for that year. That meant that I wouldn’t get home from school until much later. During my junior year in high school, when I’d get home after school, I worked for a relative who own a janitorial service, and most of his clients were meat packing houses. And, we would clean them after all the workers went home – a dirty and hard job. So, I knew how to work, all my life.

The photo at the top of this installment of the article shows several of my relatives. A few of them were associated with the mob in Chicago.  The two innocents are dressed in white in that photo. It is up to you to decide which ones of these fellows look like mobsters.

After quitting high school, I was only 16 years old, and I had to make a living. I went to work for a now-defunct department store in Chicago, called Marshall Fields. I worked in the mail-order advertising department, and this involved putting together the periodical mail-order sales catalogs – it was a new experience for me, but I liked it. It paid a whopping $75 per week, before taxes. During that time, my grandmother would often ask me if I could “loan” her $5 to $10 knowing full well that she couldn’t pay it back. When I was in high school, my mother would pay my grandmother $15 per week – for housing and taking care of me. And even back in the mid-1960s, that wasn’t even enough money to feed me.

In The Army

I always had a keen interest in the military, and when I under underage, my mother wouldn’t sign the papers so I could enlist in the US Army. However, one of my older cousins convinced her to sign papers so I could join the Illinois National Guard. I enlisted on June 9, 1969  – before I was old enough to be drafted. I went in and was trained as a Combat Infantryman. I found the training fun as well as interesting – I learned a lot.

In January 1970, after my active duty training, I found a full-time job working for the National Guard – it paid good and I got to wear my uniform every day. I was also cross-trained as a company clerk, mail clerk, and armorer – plus a few other specialties I’ve long since forgotten.

Ft. Ord, 1969. That tall guy next to me was one of the top NFL draft picks, Jim Seymour. He was later traded to the Chicago Bears.

During Infantry School, I decided I wanted to say in the Regular Army. I went to see our Commanding Officer at that time, and told him of my desire. He asked me why I wanted to stay in the Regular Army, and I told him I wanted to kill people. The next day, I was seeing a doctor, I don’t know if he was a psychiatrist or psychologist. And I got hit with a lot of questions. Keep in mind I was only 17 years old and I thought I was giving the right answers. I was turned down. Then someone told me that if I went Special Forces, it was an automatic one-year in Viet Nam, so I went back to my CO and explained that I wanted to try for the Special Forces qualification course. Once again, I was sent to the head doctor, and I explained I wanted to learn how to kill people more efficiently. And, once again I was turned down to stay in the Army. So I discovered a way to stay out of the Army and going to Viet Nam, and at that time there were millions of guys trying everything they could think of to stay out of the Army and going to Viet Nam. Again, I was only 17 at the time and I thought I was giving all the right answers. Go figure. I thought all my training was preparing me to kill. But the military didn’t want killers. Huh?

Some Army Buddies, at Basic Training

At one point, I went down to Panama, and became a Jungle Warfare expert. I was also a member of the state pistol and rifle team. Shot in many matches and I always placed first in my category. I had earned to shoot a BB gun when I was only about 9 years old, and my country cousin Abner — now in Kentucky — really taught me to shoot. He was the best rifle and pistol shot I’ve ever known. This really paid off in Basic Training and Infantry School and throughout my life, as well.


After two years working full-time for the National Guard, our Battalion Commander was promoted and transferred to the Brigade Headquarters, and he took me and another full-time guy with him. We simply did not fit in and the other full-timers would have nothing to do with us. So I quit in short order. I had lots of problems being transferred back and forth. Eventually, I was ordered to active duty in the regular army – unknown to me. The Commanding Officer (CO) at the Reception Station at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri found the mistake and forgeries and told me that I would be discharged in short order.

That day, I was called to the CO’s office to get the good news, there were a lot of new recruits in and out of the office, and the company clerk thought I was a new recruit and got up in my face when I was getting a drink of water – that wasn’t gonna sit well with me and I punched him in the face. The next day I had orders to report to Fort Bliss, Texas – and the CO wasn’t around. I drove to Ft. Bliss, and all I had my was travel papers. My 201 (personnel) file was missing and remained missing for years.

After much investigating I finally received a partial “reconstructed” 201 file and almost all my training records were missing…never to be found again. What I did find were a lot of papers that had my forged signature on them. These allowed the National Guard to stick me on active duty. By this time the time limit was over for appealing things. I did have my discharge upgraded so I could join the Oregon National Guard. However, shortly after that Bill Clinton became President and I wasn’t about to serve under him. I had completed everything needed to join the Oregon National Guard except signing my papers and taking the oath.

My Martial Arts Fascination

I started taking martial arts lessons when I was 13 years old – but couldn’t afford the lessons. So, a friend of  mine used to teach me what he learned every week. While working in the advertising department at Marshall Field, I started taking Judo lessons and would work out almost daily after work. I earned my Black Belt in a year and a half. That was unheard of at that time, but I worked hard at it.

During Basic Training, we were taught hand-to-hand combat. One little Drill Instructor was in charge of that. He asked for a volunteer, and my hand went up like a bolt of lightning. No matter how hard he tried to throw me, he couldn’t.  I would pull a reverse move on him and put him down. He would never call on me again. Go figure.

Back in early 1973, I started doing some private security and private investigations. I loved that sort of work. One of my first jobs was investigating a probable murder at a steel mill. I was sooin able to prove that a guy was murdered – there was no way that it had been an accident. So, over the years I did a lot of undercover work and worked on some interesting cases.

Back in the mid-1970s, I started a company called Rescue One, with offices in the USA, Greece, and South Africa. And we took on some of the most dangerous work that we could find. I’m not sure how the CIA heard about us, but we did quite a bit of work for them around the world collecting intelligence (“intel”) for them. At one point my guy in Athens, Greece had some really good Intel for them and that was the last I ever heard from him. He worked as a Private Investigator, so it was not unusual for him to ask questions. I suspect he went to work on his own for the CIA after giving them some good intel. And I continued to provide Intel to the CIA from time to time.

Some failed Marriages

I should touch on three failed marriages. The first time I had just turned 19 and my wife was just 18. We should have never married – absolutely too young. After a year, we divorced…she was a great girl, but a terrible housekeeper – the sink was always full of dirty dishes. We remained friends.

My second wife: I now know that I should have never married her. I was first dating her while her husband was on Active Duty for the US Army Reserve. We were married for less than six weeks when she found another man in her life. It was a nasty divorce, and she wanted spousal support. She was already getting child support from her first husband. There was no way was she getting money from me, too. After several years – we became friends once again — friends with “benefits” after she divorced her third husband.

For undercover work, I would often change my appearance.

Starting back in 1973, I was doing a lot of Private Investigator (PI) work. I was actually working two full-time jobs. In the summer of 1973, I went to work as a plainclothes store detective. However, it called for being unarmed. That wasn’t going to do, so I found another position where we were armed. I was the assistant securing manager at one of their new stores, and while working there I was dating seven girls at that store, and one from another store in the new mall. I never made it a secret, that I was dating all those girls. However, one of them found out and ended our relationship. Sad to say, she was the one girl that I was really serious about.

(To be continued tomorrow, in Part 3.)