Standing Before the Legend: A Tribute to Duane “Dewey” Clarridge
By Kerry Patton
To write words about a man who some like myself have idolized has become a nearly impossible task knowing he is still alive today yet tomorrow, he may be gone. Since last Friday, notices have been sent out to a circle of his closest of confidants informing his illness has reached a point of no return. He is considered America’s last true great spymaster—Duane “Dewey” Clarridge.
Mr. Clarridge possessed several names through either official or unofficial channels and I feel privileged having the opportunity to learn of some of them. For a select few, he went by “OM” or “The Old Man.” A friend recently wrote something strikingly accurate about Dewey that needs to be noted here:
“For too long progress has been measured incrementally – sometimes in just not going backwards. The thing I respect the most about the Old Man is not his intellect or his knowledge or wit – though each is impressive – but in his audacity; the audacity to take great risks (personally, professionally, physically) to accomplish great things. See, the Old Man believes and has dedicated his entire existence to a simple principle: Not only are some things worth dying for, a few things are important enough to live for.”
The Old Man lived and will continue to live even after his death in part due to his audacity and dedication which has been passed onto several generations of the few great spymasters left. Only a few days ago, word was passed that he was still giving orders—operational orders to those within his circle.
The man, no matter how much pain he endures, continues and shall until his final breath. Even through his final last breath, it is expected he give one last final standing order. It may be as simple as “Don’t get put in the cook pot” or something much more complex. That is just the man he is—and to those he gives such order to, they shall abide.
For several months, prayers were sought yet not once did those prayer requests specify any one specific individual. They were open prayer requests for a “Legend.” Part of this was due to privacy and respect to the Old Man. Another part was due to the controversy that surrounds Mr. Clarridge.
You see, those close with Mr. Clarridge didn’t want to hear any of the nonsense. No one wanted to hear about the Iran Contra, his post CIA career, or even the most recent controversy surrounding Dr. ben Carson. Those seeking prayers just wanted prayers for God to look over someone whom is loved for who he is—an American Patriot who made more sacrifices than the majority of Americans will ever truly understand or know.
The time for continued prayers is now. Friends and family have been called upon to take their final visit to see the Old Man. It is time to say their final farewell. It is time to embrace America’s last great spymaster before he enters the gates of Heaven.
I desperately wish to sit one last time with him no different than I did several months ago during a dinner five of us and the Legend embraced. I want to express my deepest gratitude toward his service to this great nation. I want to thank him for molding the select few whom he has taken under his wings. Most importantly, I want to let him know the impact he made on so many—no matter the cost, no matter the controversy.
The issue with my longing to speak with Mr. Clarridge is this: How does a guy like me even feel worthy enough to be in his presence during these last final days? Truth be told, no different than my feelings while I sat and ate dinner and drank his favorite red wine, I am not worthy to be in his presence. I make such claim similar as to how I would describe Jesus. And yet, be not mistaken. I do not compare Mr. Clarridge to the Lord our Savior. But for me, Dewey is God-like and I am not worthy.
Two of my brothers will be seeing Mr. Clarridge today. I hope they read this to him so he can understand how large a life he truly lived for a guy like me just in case the opportunity does not arise where I get to tell him myself in the next few days. Mr. Clarridge, you made an impact on the world and I cannot thank you enough for taking my brothers under your wings and molding them to be who they are today. You are the epitome of America.