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My Scuba Teacher-My Special Forces Operative
in Afghanistan.

We all have had our little brushes with people who are famous. They make great stories, make people envious and somehow help to propel us slightly up that ladder of social status. I used to have to drop names but since becoming editor of The Carrboro News, things are being reversed. For instance, Scott Parazynski(NASA Astronaut), Rony Seikaly(NBA player), Greg Kinnear(Movie Star) and Parthenon Huxley, AKA Richard Miller(Rock Star), are all graduates of my high school and have started using that connection to me lately to try to get another flight, another contract, another movie or another gig. My times have changed...

But there was a time way back in the 80's when I was a young lad just barely out of college. My girlfriend wanted to take scuba lessons and so we signed up at the Mid-Hudson Scuba Shop in Poughkeepsie NY(Actually, the shop opened after we completed the course but at the time we were taking the course my instructors- were free lancing-remember those words.

I don't remember a lot about the course. Only that my instructors were PADI certified, kind of wild and liked to drink a lot of alchohol. They had been in the special forces and had left their affiliation with the Navy Seals. Both of them were nice guys...but... I always had the sense that would be true as long as they liked you(and taking a course with them helped them to like me). The course ended, and I used my scuba skills once in the last 29 years-to set a mooring in The Bahamas in the early 90's.

Sometime in the 80's I heard that my teachers had stolen a one(or maybe two) man submarine from West Point Army Academy, located on the Hudson River. I recall that I wasn't surprised as it seemed like something these guys would do. I could sense an incredible amount of energy and adventure bursting out of these guys.

Another 15 years passed and I don't think much of Keith and Ira until I was listening to the news and heard that a man was arrested in Afghanistan for setting up a little private prison in his house. He claimed to be an independent(free lance?) contractor and was working with the CIA to help collect terrorists and hang them upside down in his house in hopes of getting information. According to Jonathan, he was in constant contact with the State Department, but they denied it. So he was on his own.

It was only when they mentioned his name Jonathan K Idema that rang a bell. They called him Jonathan K. Idema, but we knew him as Keith. I thought to myself how many Idema's can there be in the Special Forces who lived in upstate New York. I wondered if this was the same guy... I went home and went through my little storage boxes where I keep all the old licenses of my employees to see if I could find my PADI scuba license. After rummaging around I found it and sure enough it said "trained by Jonathan Keith Idema". Had this happened 20 years ago, I would have been writing about it in newspapers and telling everyone the story, but since I became affiliated with The Carrboro News this celebrity aquaintance thing has become old hat so there's no need to write abotu it. I think I can add Jonathan Keith Idema to the list of people that will be telling his acquaintances that "he taught Mark Bowman, of The Carrboro News, how to scuba dive".

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