Army

October 18, 2013

Military Intelligence – this week in history

Ruth Quinn, Staff Historian
USAICoE Command History Office

Wilson is first Counterintelligence Corps casualty of Korean War

By Ruth Quinn, Staff Historian
USAICoE Command History Office
Oct. 13, 1950
John R. Wilson joined the Army in 1942 and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II, reaching the rank of major before being discharged in 1947. Shortly thereafter, he reenlisted as a master sergeant. When the Korean War began, Mast Sgt. Wilson was assigned to the 25th Counterintelligence Corps Detachment, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.

The invasion of South Korea by Communist North Korean forces on June 26, 1950 caught U.S. leaders by surprise. The nation’s intelligence assets had been focused almost entirely on the Soviet Union, and the intelligence troops that were on hand under Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Far East Command were supporting an occupation force targeted against Japanese subversive elements rather than supporting a fighting force.

U.S. troops had no knowledge of the terrain, their maps were outdated, they lacked linguists, and the endless columns of South Korean refugees were infiltrated with North Korean soldiers and intelligence agents. It would take over a year before the language school in the United States graduated its first 100 Korean linguists, leaving the critical job of human intelligence to interpreters of varying abilities and uncertain loyalties.

Despite these obstacles, the intelligence community rebuilt itself to support the combat forces who were ordered to fight on the Korean peninsula. One of these was Wilson, an imposing figure at six feet, six inches tall. When alerted early in the morning of Oct. 13, 1950, that enemy guerilla forces were moving to capture the small town of Pangso-ri, Wilson quickly assembled his contingent of 30 Korean police and interpreters and organized them into teams surrounding the town. Taking with him four Koreans, Wilson personally led an attack on a house from which enemy soldiers had opened fire. Although Wilson himself was killed by sniper fire, his actions facilitated the capture of 21 of the enemy. For his gallantry under fire, Wilson was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

A fellow member of Wilson’s team later wrote, “John earned many Silver Stars, which he never received, and was one of those who the Corps could truly say was a hero in his own right. John did much to enhance the position of the Counter Intelligence Corps within the military community who never really understood the function and purpose of intelligence agents being assigned to them.”

Gen. John H. “Mike” Michaelis, commander of the 27th Infantry Regiment “the Wolfhounds,” was convinced of his CIC Detachment’s immediate value in combat. When the Army tried to move the CIC detachment to Division headquarters, Michaelis “raised all kinds of hell” and was quoted as saying, “How can I fight a damn war without counterintelligence people around me?”

In 1952, the CIC Center at Fort Holabird, Md., dedicated Wilson Hall in honor of Master Sgt. John Wilson’s sacrifice. The U.S. Army Intelligence Agency, which had moved to Fort Meade, Md., in 1974, dedicated its command suite to Wilson’s memory. Wilson was inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in 1990, and in 1993, Wilson Barracks, part of the MI Noncommissioned Officers’ Academy at Fort Huachuca, was dedicated to him as well. To see this and other buildings dedicated to MI Heroes, check out the Fort Huachuca MI History Virtual Tour at https://www.ikn.army.mil/apps/MI_HISTORY_TOUR/.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Natalie Lakosil

Change of responsibility brings new MI Corps chief warrant officer

Natalie Lakosil From left, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Fairley, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence; outgoing Chief Warrant Officer of the Military Intelligence Corps, Joe Okabayashi, chief warrant officer 5; Maj. Gen. Ro...
 
 
Natalie Lakosil

TRADOC Army Reserve Instructor of Year awarded at Fort Huachuca

Natalie Lakosil From left, Brig, Gen. Jason Walrath, 100th Division, and Maj. Gen. A.C. Roper, commanding general of the 80th Training Command, pose for a photograph with U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Army Reserves In...
 
 
Transition-Assistance-Program

Soldier Life Cycle — three phases help with transition

Transitioning from the military takes time, and unfortunately most Service members run out of time by the end of their career. The Department of the Army established the Solider Life Cycle, SLC, to help. The three phases of the...
 

 
Stephanie Caffall

B Troop hosts ribbon-cutting ceremony for new barn

Stephanie Caffall From left, in background, Capt. Joshua Hengst, commander of B Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry (Memorial), and Pete Criscuolo, first sergeant for B-Troop, stand while Sgt. John Payne of B Troop brings his horse into th...
 
 

Survey shows decline in military sexual assaults

WASHINGTON — An independent survey confirms the prevalence of sexual assault in the military has dropped, Defense Department officials recently said. Statistics in the 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study show the percentage of active-duty women who experienced unwanted sexual contact during the past year declined from 6.1 percent in 2012 to an estimated 4.3 percent...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo

Military Intelligence – Moment in MI history

Army Intelligence showcases Medal of Honor recipients U.S. Air Force photo Retired Master Sgt. Roy Benavidez receives his Medal of Honor in 1981 for actions in Vietnam in 1968. The Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin