Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, February 27, 2003

A profile of one of the Americens executed by FARC terrorists in Columbia this week.

The military spirit never left Thomas Janis, a Vietnam veteran and Bronze Star recipient who did intelligence work in Colombia after retiring from the Army.

"I did my darndest to talk him out of the job," his wife, Judith, said Thursday, "but Tom was a soldier and this was just another way of being a soldier."

Thomas Janis, 56, and Colombian Army Sgt. Luis Cruz were shot and killed by rebels after the U.S. government plane they were in crashed Feb. 13 in Colombia. Three other Americans aboard the plane were still being held hostage Thursday.

Thomas Janis retired from the Army about five years ago, 32 years after being drafted at age 18. He and the three hostages worked for California Microwave Systems, a unit of defense contractor Northrop Grumman that provides surveillance systems for the U.S. military.

Janis had been with the company for about a year, but worked in Colombia for another company before that, Judith Janis said.

Janis worked on a rotation of 28 days in Colombia and 12 days at home, but his wife visited often enough that they were rarely apart for more than 10 days. They were together since "he crashed my Sweet 16 party," she said.

They were married for 35 years and had four children, two of whom followed their father into the Army: one as a helicopter pilot stationed in Kuwait, another stationed with a reserve unit at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Va.

During his career, Janis earned honors including Meritorious Service medals and the Air Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device for Valor.

"He was a hero," his wife said. "He'll always be our hero."

< email | 2/27/2003 07:04:00 PM | link

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