Aspen Security Forum | July 23-24, 2014

ABC News’ Brian Ross Thanks US Officials 32 Years After Hostage Crisis

ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross today gave a public, yet personal thanks to two U.S. officials who were involved ina dramatic incident more than three decades ago in which Ross and dozens of others were held captive aboard a hijacked airline in Central America.

“On a point of personal privilege, let me just say that my first experience with counter-terrorism took place 32 years ago when I was held hostage by terrorists in Honduras for three days on a flight in Tegucigalpa,” Ross said today during the introduction to a counter-terrorism discussion at the Aspen Security Forum. “[Panelist] Mike [Vickers] was the Special Forces operator who came here to save me and John Negroponte, who’s here in the audience, was the ambassador at the time. I never had a chance to thank you publicly, but I wanted to say it publicly to both of you.”

As a secret commando at the time, Vickers’ role was unknown to Ross until today when Ross said Vickers brought up the decades-old incident just before the panel discussion began. Vickers had been on hand to plan a military rescue, should it have come to that. “He was just another selfless American hero like so many who never get credit for all they do,” Ross said after the panel.

ht brian ross FRAME file kb 140724 16x9 608 ABC News Brian Ross Thanks US Officials 32 Years After Hostage Crisis

(ABC News, inset UPI)

Ross, then a correspondent for NBC News, was aboard a domestic flight in late April 1982 when the plane was stormed by four armed men who identified themselves as from the leftist group Lorenzo Zelaya Revolutionary Popular Forces.

For three days the kidnappers held the passengers on the plane until one morning Ross led an escape of several of the hostages, most of them Americans, by diving through a smashed window and making a run for it, according to contemporary news reports. The terrorists fired a shot at the hostages but missed. The rest of the hostages were released hours later.

In a black and white photo hanging in ABC News offices, a 33-year-old Ross is seen bleeding from the head but smiling shortly after he had made it to freedom.

Mike Vickers, currently the Under Secretary for Defense Intelligence, was on the ground with U.S. Army Special Forces at the time of the hijacking. Vickers’ Defense Department biography says he later served as an operations officer in the CIA for years before climbing the Pentagon ladder.

John Negroponte, the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras at the time, went on to serve as a career diplomatfor the U.S., twice earning the State Department’s Distinguished Service Medal before leaving the government in 2009. He now serves as vice-chairman at the D.C.-based international strategy firm McLarty Associates.

LINK to story with video.

Camera Crew: Dominic Frederico and Shannon Reed
Correspondent: Brian Ross
Producer: Carol McKinley  


Girl Banned from Classroom for Shaving Head in Solidarity

Girl Banned from Classroom for Shaving Head in Solidarity - LINK to story with video (Good Morning America; Air date - March 26, 2014)

Transcript: Girl Banned from Classroom for Shaving Head in Solidarity

Gio, thank you for that. A Colorado 9-year-old who shaved her head as an act of solidarity with a friend who is battling cancer. Her school's reaction, to ban her from the classroom for violating their dress code.

That obviously sparked a wave of outrage, ABC's Cecilia Vega has the story. Reporter: They are best friends who do everything together. So when 11-year-old Delaney clements lost all her hair in her fight against cancer -- I'm bald because I got this treatment called chemotherapy and it makes it fall out.

Reporter: Kamryn Renfro decided to shave hers off too. My best friend, I decided to shave my hair because I didn't want her to be the only one. Reporter: But this little girl paid a big price for her bold move.

I couldn't go to school because of my shaved head. I wanted to share my story but they didn't let me. Reporter: Kamryn's Colorado school has a dress code in place that says shaved heads are not permitted.

In order to cut down on distractions and to promote safety and uniformity. Initially I was furious and we respected the dress code. We just didn't agree with it.

Reporter: Kamryn's mom made her case on Facebook ignites a firestorm of anger at the school. With comments like "That is absolutely disgusting. " They should be ashamed and "What an amazing friend, what a selfish school.

" But this morning, Kamryn is back in her school uniform and headed to class bald head and all. The school's board holding a meeting overnight voting to make an exception in this case. Even apologizing saying in a statement "Compassion and selfless acts of courage are to be commended and encouraged.

" Kamryn did such a selfless thing for my daughter and she really taught a lesson in integrity. Reporter: A lesson that some rules are meant to be broken. For "Good morning America," Cecilia Vega, ABC news, los Angeles.

And so we learned from the young yet again, the right thing happened in the end and Kamryn, you are -- Beautiful. -- A wonderful, wonderful, beautiful friend and a little hero. What a true bff right there.

To the end. I'm glad the right thing won out. Yeah, because at first you're just outraged when you hear it so thankfully they did the right thing.

Camera Crew:  Dominic Frederico and Shannon Reed
Producer:  Carol McKinley
Air Date:  26 March 2014

Goofing around with Delaney and Kamryn at 1:30 in the morning...

Goofing around with Delaney and Kamryn at 1:30 in the morning...