John Sayen, USMC (dec.)

I just learned that my friend and colleague, John Sayen, has died.

Here is a tribute by Damien O’Connell:

This morning, I learned that my friend and colleague LtCol John Sayen, USMC (ret) passed away last night.

He was a great guy, John. A walking encyclopedia of military history, tables of organization, and little known, but often very intriguing. facts. He wrote an unpublished and amazing history of the evolution of American infantry battalions. He never hesitated to let me share it with Marines. And he never hesitated to take questions, donate his time for interviews, or fill requests for assistance.

Thank you for those things and everything else.

We’ll miss you.

John was a brilliant writer. Winslow Wheeler selected him to write the “Introduction and Historic Overview” for his 2008 compendium, America’s Defense Meltdown (available for free download from the Project on Government Oversight), and his two historical studies of US Infantry divisions in WWII are available from Osprey Publishing.

John could and usually would pun on any subject — words are the cherished tools of all authors — and he had a way of spotting the obvious long before anyone else realized that it was, in fact, obvious.  It didn’t always work: John once came up with a scheme to get the IRS to excuse him from filing federal income taxes.  Seemed odd, since if it were possible, no one would be paying taxes. But John did have a degree from law school. And he was scary smart. This went on for several months until one day he sheepishly admitted he had run into a few “unexpected issues.” Never brought the subject up again.  In the best traditions of maneuver warfare, he knew when to break off the attack and go somewhere else.   Before ending up in jail.

We won’t see his like again anytime soon.




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