SHADOW WARRIORS: The Untold Stories of American Special Operations During WW II
In the early months of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt saw the need for enhancements to military intelligence and recognized that the American people needed some early successes in Africa and Europe and against the Empire of Japan. Inspired by the British model, the President authorized a national special operations section, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and sanctioned the development of commando-like military formations.
The Marine Corps responded to the challenge and formed Marine Raider battalions and parachute battalions and detailed individuals with significant cultural and linguistic skills to intelligence-gathering assignments. In this book, Dick Camp provides intriguing insights into the Corps’ WW II “Shadow Warriors.”
Camp divides “Shadow Warriors” into two parts: the European theater and the Pacific theater. He then isolates what easily could be the most important, but least-known Marine unit and individual special operations’ contributions in these two major theaters of war.
Some of our Corps’ lesser-known shadow warriors served in WW II’s European theater. Camp introduces the reader to Colonel William “Bill” Eddy, a highly decorated WW I Marine, who served as a spymaster in Northern Africa leading up to the American invasion. His team of spies provided both information about the French Vichy government, their military disposition and information on the German and Italian forces. Col Eddy’s immense contributions certainly helped to accelerate Allied successes in Africa.
The last chapter in this important historical work focuses on another little-known shadowy figure—Marine Capt Frank Farrell. Farrell and his team parachuted into Japanese-held Canton, China, two days after the Japanese capitulated. Having served in the Guadalcanal campaign, Farrell held no illusions about the fanatic nature of his foe. The urgent question was, Would the Japanese commanders obey the Emperor and peacefully surrender? But, Farrell and his team uncovered the unexpected, a Nazi spy ring.
Finding a Nazi spy ring to be very active in China, even after Germany surrendered to the Allies, Farrell reported this to the OSS and then continued to pursue the Nazi spies. The task was made more difficult as the SS and Gestapo officers “went to ground” to escape Farrell’s counterespionage efforts. Farrell’s investigations led to the prosecution and conviction of several important Nazi operators.
Dick Camp, a retired Marine colonel and prolific writer, has a tremendous background in Marine Corps history, having been the deputy director as well as acting director of the Marine Corps History Division. He retired from his position as vice president for operations at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in 2012. His books are renowned for two essential elements: superb storytelling and historical accuracy. “Shadow Warriors” certainly lives up to that reputation. It’s cram-packed with excitement and the heroic tales of the lesser-known shadow warriors of the Marine Corps.
Editor’s note: A prolific reader and Leatherneck contributor, “Red Bob” Loring is dedicated to supporting social programs that improve the lives of citizens in Pasco County, Fla. He and his team of elves aid U.S. Marine Corps Reserve leathernecks in making each Christmas one of the very best for the Toys for Tots program in his community.