Lt. Col Oliver L. North, the fired National Security Council aide who helped organize and direct the private contra resupply operation, inspired fierce loyalty in his colleagues. Some of those involved in the operation have testified before the House and Senate panels probing the Iran-contra affair about their feelings regarding "Ollie."

"My observation was that the view of Col. North as a loose cannon was not correct. I thought he had a bum rap on the part of many people in the U.S. government...

I dealt with him as a colleague, as a close colleague, and with complete trust in what he was doing..." -- Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, June 3

"Oh, I used to tell Col. North, frankly, everything. I had no reservation. I had full confidence and trust in him." -- Contra leader Adolfo Calero, May 20.

"In our hearts and in our prayers, you are with us daily...In our lifetime, you have given us the legend. To the future, you are giving our children a chance to live as free individuals. And for these things we say thank you, Ollie North." -- Poem written by Robert Owen and read May 19.

"I'm afraid that in the past two days that Ollie is really getting a bum rap....I though Ollie was surely the most mission-oriented, can-do professional on the {NSC} staff....I think Mr. North acted, not out of motive of self-commitment to the preservation of life." -- Former national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane, May 12.

"I had become emotionally very attached to Ollie, and I really love this man....My remark to him was 'Ollie, you are a part of the family for as long as one of us is alive....' I saw a man {North} dissipating so much love for his country and his associates that the radiation of that love really immediately penetrated to my system...." -- Albert A. Hakim, business partner of retired Air Force major general Richard V. Secord, June 3 and 4

"During my tenure at the National Security Council, I came to have enormous admiration and respect {for North}.... I was sitting at my desk and {North} commented that the president had fired him.... I became very emotional. In fact, I started crying. I was very upset....I felt uneasy {about shredding documents}, but...I believed in Col. North, and there was a very solid and very valid reason that he must have been doing this." -- Fawn Hall, former secretary to North at the NSC, June 8 and 9.