As we pause to mark Thanksgiving, let's remember not only to thank our Creator for all our blessings, but also to thank all the private security contractors for risking their lives to keep us safe.
Let's recall, too, that it was a private security contractor who made the first Thanksgiving possible. Captain Myles Standish, a retired British military officer, was the PSC who protected the Pilgrims on their trip to establish the Plymouth colony in the New World.
Standish was not a Puritan or religious refugee, but a private security contractor. Christopher Jones, the skipper co-owner of the Mayflower, as well as his crew, were also contractors. Under government charter, the privately capitalized Plymouth Company leased the Mayflower and contracted the services of the crew to take the Pilgrims to America.
Standish's job was to run security for the Pilgrims, to lead reconnaissance missions, build a fortress, train the civilian men of the colony and organize them into a militia, and defend the colony against potential attack - not only from any hostile Indians, but from other European powers, including the Dutch, French and Spanish. The Mayflower's cargo included firearms, edged weapons, body armor and artillery.
For about 60 years, the British colonies that became Massachusetts were protected by privately funded militias. The US Army National Guard traces its roots to these militias.
Last year, Serviam magazine ran some interesting articles about the history of PSCs in America, including one about Myles Standish and the first Thanksgiving. The bloggers at Blackwaterfacts.com borrowed Standish's name to honor his work that led to the first permanent English settlement in America and laid the groundwork for our country.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!