by David Allender

February 29, 2008 –Nathaniel R. Helms, Contributing Editor at Defend Our Marines, will cover the upcoming Haditha Marine trials for NewsMax

“Nat Helms is without a doubt one of the most talented, thorough and hard working journalists working today,” Phil Brennan says. “We’ve been sharing information and working together for some time now, and I never cease to be astounded by the extent to which he’ll go to pin down every detail of the story. He doesn’t merely report, he educates. We’ve been something of an unofficial team for some time and now and as he heads out west to cover the Haditha courts-martial at Camp Pendleton, we’ll be on the same NewsMax team.”

Helms, unique range of experiences has made him a shrewd observer and analyst of the Haditha case. The bare facts of his bio read like the outline for an adventure novel. A target acquisition specialist on the DMZ, Nat served three tours in Vietnam.

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“The tour that really matters,” Nat recalls, “is the 14 months I was a door gunner in the 282nd Assault Helicopter Company, the ‘Blackcats’, out of Marble Mountain, Hue, and Quang Tri in 1968-1969. Unsung, unheard of, and a remarkably brave bunch of guys who flew special ops for MAGSOG, Phoenix and CORDS as well as supporting the 1st ARVN Division. We were so good we were the featured aviation company at the Fort Rucker Aviation Museum in Alabama as well as the decorated guard at the main gate.”

Nat then moved into military law enforcement, chasing deserters in Japan and Germany. Among other occupations, Helms has been a police sergeant, an investigative reporter, the editor of David Hackworth’s Defense Watch, and a feature writer for Soldier of Fortune. As a war correspondent in Bosnia, Helms saw real war atrocities first-hand. But despite his two-fisted resume, Nat is a gentle, funny, guy who lives outside St. Louis with a charming wife and a couple of adorable Chihuahua puppies. Life is good, so why bother about other people’s troubles from Haditha?

“The opportunity to once again brush against history is too enticing to ignore,” Nat says. “Working with fellows like Phil Brennan and Christopher Ruddy at NewsMax while competing against the arrogant, powerful dailies is about the most intense emotional and professional experience a person like me can savor short of combat.”

A regular on Defend Our Marines and Defend Our Troops

Like Phil Brennan, I know Nat as a consummate journalist. Of the twenty-two news stories that Defend Our Marines (and its sister site, Defend Our Troops) was first to report, Nat wrote twenty of them. Helms will be missed as a regular reporter during the trials, but our sites will link to his NewsMax stories and I look forward to his future reports as a Contributing Editor.

“It was a breath of fresh air when Nat Helms started covering the hearings of the Haditha Marines,” says Defend Our Marines reader, Jere Moody (a retired firefighter in Washington state). He writes without the slanted bias of most of the MSM reporters, even the ones that are more sympathetic to these Marines. Nat does his homework and presents facts instead of repeating some of the garbage that has been written so many times that MSM reporters include it in their articles without even thinking, which may be unintentional but maybe not.

“Nat supports these Marines while at the same time not writing falsehoods either for or against their actions, Moody, who also follows Helms, reports on the Free Republic news forum, continues. Most writers tend to amplify the negative instead of giving these Marines the benefit of the doubt, Nat gives them the presumption of innocence which is as it should be.”

Well done, NewsMax

NewsMax has been a tireless champion for justice in the Haditha Marine case.

“I had two brothers in the Marines so there’s a family connection,” Chris Ruddy says. “Then there is Phil who, according to legend, turned the tide of the war in the Pacific.” Phil Brennan, a former BAR-toting Marine, adds, “By spending a mere four months there–not enough time for me to mess things up.”

The current News Max fund drive for the defense of SSgt Wuterich and LCpl Tatum has just surpassed the $175,000 mark.  

“NewsMax is proof that there is a need and place for an alternative voice for folks to turn to at a time when it is once again fashionable for high profile reporters to kick around our country like a football merely because they can,” Helms says. “The very fact that the Marines on trial at Camp Pendleton are afforded the protections offered by a free press is proof of how great our country is and why our brave young men and women are willing to risk their lives to protect it. Often that fact is lost in the cacophony of criticism that sometimes passes for news. Being part of the effort to stem the tide is indeed a rare privilege. It is folks like Brennan and Ruddy — as well as the thousands of people who have donated their time, money and effort — that ensures our noble warriors aren’t thrown under the bus in the name of political expediency.”


David Allender
Defend Our Marines
29 February 2008