MI CORPS HALL OF FAME
Specialist Five Gerald L. Beatson
MI Hall of Fame (HOF) Inductee: 1989SP5 Gerald Beatson, then a counterintelligence corps (CIC) agent assigned to the U.S. Army Naples detachment, transferred to the MI ALSOS task force on 27 December 1943. (ALSOS was the code name for the mission. It was based on the Greek word for "Grove," the name of one of the principals in developing the special task force.) The ALSOS mission, one of the most important intelligence missions during World War II, was to determine whether the Germans had the capability to engineer an atomic bomb. There were only twenty or so handpicked CIC agents assigned to the mission.
From his first ALSOS operation at the Anzio beachhead on 9 February 1943, throughout his service, and until the end of hostilities, Agent Beatson exhibited outstanding professionalism, personal courage, and calmness under enemy fire. In the many subsequent, critical ALSOS operations in which he played a part, his operational know-how and positive leadership were factors in the successful accomplishment of his volunteer or assigned missions.
These qualities were clearly demonstrated in operations such as that on the Albert Canal in Belgium. ALSOS' mission was to locate and recover critically needed uranium ore while disregarding sporadic enemy fire. SP5 Beatson was involved in every subsequent ALSOS operation, including the advance under fire into the Alpine community of Urfeldt. At Urfeldt, they captured Professor Heisenberg, the leading German atomic scientist and ALSOS' number one target. In a final ALSOS operation, SP5 Beatson led a detachment of eight men to an advance point ahead of friendly troops to intercept and stall the advancing Soviet elements. His detachment thus gave ALSOS time to recover the International Radium Standards located in Weida, Germany, a community that was to be part of the zone of Soviet occupation.
MSG Bunn began his Army career in 1958 with the 320th U.S. Army Security Agency (ASA) Battalion in Bad Aibling, Germany. When the ASA joined the counterinsurgency team in 1961, he was among the first volunteers to support the 10th Special Forces Group (SFG) (Airborne). MSG Bunn advised and instructed Special Forces (SF) teams in the application of security and counterintelligence techniques for clandestine, covert, and overt operations, and provided ASA support for SF operations. In 1963, he became an instructor at the Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Master Sergeant Travis C. Bunn
MI HOF Inductee: 1992
Two years later, he became the noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC), ASA Special Operations Detachment (SOD), Operations and Training in Panama. While there, MSG Bunn planned, organized, and supervised the training and actions of special operations teams involved in ASA and SF operations. He also served as an instructor for both U.S. and Latin American forces at the U.S. Army School of the Americas.
While in Panama, MSG Bunn decided to tackle two complicated missions. The first was an effort to convince the SF teams to stop transmitting radio signals from within their base camps. The second mission was to find a way to make a "man packable" direction-finding (DF) set. He solved these problems in reverse order. He improvised by using a PRC-6 homing device antenna, a variable tuning coil attached to an AN/GRC-109 receiver, a broomstick with a nail driven in the bottom, and various other miscellaneous items to make the world's first "man packable" radio DF set. MSG Bunn and his team used this system against the 8th SF teams in the jungles of Panama and succeeded in surprising two of the teams in their base camp. Through his perseverance and ingenuity, he proved his point and accomplished his goal: deployed teams no longer transmitted from within base camps. This life-saving operations security measure became a standard procedure for all teams in the group.
MSG Bunn was assigned to the Republic of Vietnam in 1967 as an SF/ASA team leader with the 403d SOD, 5th Special Forces Group (SFG). There he recruited, trained, and led a company of hill tribesmen in combat operations in the central highlands of Vietnam, and supervised and controlled a team of 20 soldiers in ASA and SF operations.
Starting in 1969, MSG Bunn served at the ASA Field Station at Herozenaurach, in then-West Germany. As the Morse collection NCOIC, he was instrumental in increasing productivity of Morse collection operations to a level that exceeded national standards. When their operations were consolidated at Augsburg, Germany, MSG Bunn personally ensured continuity of operations and completed the move without a loss in productivity. In 1974, he became the Acting Sergeant Major of the 402d SOD, 10th SFG, where he served with distinction. In July 1977, he returned to Panama as the Acting Sergeant Major of the ASA Southern Command. MSG Bunn retired in 1977 after 20 years of service characterized by creativeness, initiative, and selfless devotion to duty.
CSM Clifford L. Charron
MI HOF Inductee: 1989
CSM Charron, a soldier's soldier, served in combat in the European Theater with the 66th Infantry Division and the 4th Armored Division from 1943 to 1945. Following several stateside assignments, he was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division in Japan in June 1949. He served with the division in combat in Korea until he was transferred to the Joint Military Advisory Group, Japan in September 1950. He served there until the end of the Korean War.
He later switched from combat arms to military intelligence, where he served in a variety of key intelligence assignments in Europe and the United States. His concern for the morale and esprit de corps of his soldiers was manifested in his involvement in two major projects that still endure today. Sergeant Major Charron was instrumental in the founding of the Army Security Agency (ASA) Benefit Association, which provides funds to families of ASA members killed in the line of duty and education benefits to their survivors. He was also a key figure in the planning, design, and construction of the permanent memorial honoring ASA noncommissioned officers killed in action; it is located at the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command Headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He concluded his career as the first Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Security Agency.
Sarah Edmonds, born in December 1841 in Canada, fled New Brunswick in 1856 to shun an arranged marriage. She disguised herself as a man, took the name of Franklin Thompson, and was able to earn a living as a Bible salesman in Michigan. In 1861, still disguised as Thompson, Edmonds attempted to enlist in the Michigan Infantry but failed to meet the height requirement.
Private Sarah Emma Edmonds (Deceased)
MI HOF Inductee: 1988
In May of the same year, continuing the disguise, Edmonds successfully enlisted in the 2d Michigan Infantry. "PVT Thompson" was sent as a field nurse assigned to assist the chaplain and his wife. She saw service at both Battles of Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.
The death of a childhood friend (who never knew of her true identity) led her to volunteer for duty as a spy. Allegedly, General McClellan personally interviewed her for the job. She was tested on the knowledge of firearms, given a phrenological examination1, and sworn into the secret service. "PVT Thompson" was able to break down the barriers not only of gender but of race as well. Using silver nitrate to disguise her skin color, she was able to retrieve vital information from both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. She claimed to have performed eleven secret missions during the Civil War.
In 1863, shortly after her regiment moved into Kentucky, "PVT Thompson" contracted malaria and was forced to desert to avoid being exposed as a woman and expelled from the Army. Upon her return to Cairo, Illinois, she assumed the identity and role of a female nurse. She remained in the service, serving at Harper's Ferry with the Christian Commission. It was not until 1884 that Sarah Edmonds publicly revealed her true identity at a regimental reunion of the 2d Michigan Infantry. In 1886, Congress awarded her a pension and dropped the bad conduct discharge for desertion. She was then admitted to the Grand Army of the Republic and remains its only female member.
Stanley Kapp was born in Brooklyn, New York, circa 1921, to Jewish immigrants from Poland. In 1942, PFC Kapp was sent as a signals intercept technician to The Philippines. Shortly after The Philippines fell, he and several other signals intelligence operators eluded the Japanese for six months.
PFC Stanley W. Kapp (Deceased)
MI HOF Inductee: 1988
Despite the fact the soldiers had not been paid, they were able to purchase a makeshift boat with money PFC Kapp had saved, and set sail for Australia. One of his peers described PFC Kapp as "the Robinson Crusoe of the crew, someone to be counted on, and the last one who would develop any semblance of a yellow streak." Currents and winds forced them to the Indonesian islands. After the local Chinese residents cared for them for a short time, the Japanese learned of the presence of the Americans and took them into captivity.
The hardships of the voyage and the difficult conditions of exposure, disease, and starvation they experienced at Camp Tantoey proved to be fatal for Kapp. He died in captivity in the Dutch East Indies in 1944 while awaiting transportation and repatriation. Forty-one years later, a barracks building in Hawaii was dedicated in his honor for his contributions in the face of enemy resistance and for his distinguished service. As a junior, inexperienced enlisted soldier, PFC Kapp displayed initiative and valor far beyond his years. His effort to save his fellow soldiers is a model for us all.
SP5 Edward Minnock enlisted in the Army in September of 1966 and deployed to Vietnam as a member of the 404th Radio Research Detachment, attached to the 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate). As a private, he was the acting Operations Sergeant for the 404th, a position normally held by a sergeant first class.
Specialist Five Edward F. MinnockMI HOF Inductee: 1990
On 27 March 1968, he began to notice that the incoming information pointed to an enemy attack on Tuy Hoa City within the next ten days. He directed his soldiers to concentrate their efforts on the forthcoming operation. Within five days, Private Minnock had produced a comprehensive tactical analysis and prediction of how and when the enemy would attack. Private Minnock briefed the brigade and subordinate commanders, as well as the commander of a Korean regiment and his American advisor. In order to gain credibility with the Korean commander, Private Minnock impersonated a captain because he believed that the Korean officer would not listen to an enlisted man.
Private Minnock accurately predicted which units comprised the enemy force, their size, the time of the attack, the routes of advance and withdrawal, and the primary targets of the assault. The targets included two important bridges, the city prison, the American airfield, and a South Vietnamese artillery battalion located in the city. Private Minnock's information resulted in the postponement of an offensive operation by the Korean regiment, allowing them to act as a reserve during the enemy attack, and the repositioning of other key forces. He also accurately predicted the new location of the 5th North Vietnamese Army Division Headquarters. He then coordinated and directed the bombing of the headquarters by two 175-millimeter artillery shells and eight 500-pound bombs, thus seriously degrading the enemy's command and control capability. Subsequent intelligence gathered during and after the battle confirmed the startling accuracy of Private Minnock's predictions.
As a direct result of his efforts, the enemy was soundly defeated with minimal friendly casualties. His truly remarkable achievement is a textbook example of the difference that can be made in the outcome of a combat action by the initiative of one individual soldier. Private Minnock's contributions are doubly impressive given his relative age and inexperience. For his actions, Private Minnock was decorated with the Legion of Merit, the only private ever to hold that honor.
John Wilson first entered the Army in February 1942. During World War II, he served in the Asiatic Pacific Theater, attaining the rank of major. He was discharged in 1947, and, a short time thereafter, enlisted in the Army as a master sergeant. Sergeant Wilson was an imposing figure and was known throughout his career as one who seized the initiative.
MSG John R. Wilson (Deceased)
MI HOF Inductee: 1990
MSG Wilson, assigned to the 25th Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) Detachment, 27th Infantry ("The Wolfhounds"), 25th Infantry Division, led a patrol of 30 South Korean police and interpreters to Pangso-ri, Korea, on 13 October 1950 to surprise an enemy guerrilla force before it reached the village. Upon reaching the village and finding it already occupied by the enemy, MSG Wilson first ordered his men to surround it, then proceeded into the village accompanied by four South Korean police officers. When a group of the enemy troops occupying a house refused to surrender and opened fire, Sergeant Wilson personally led a successful attack on the hostile position. Although a sniper killed him during the action, his patrol dispersed the enemy unit and captured 21 of its members.
A fellow member of MSG Wilson's CIC 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 Counterintelligence Corps within a military community which never really understood the function and purpose of the intelligence agents being assigned to them. The team member continued, saying that MSG Wilson was very instrumental in helping (former 27th Infantry Commander) General John Michaelis' becoming aware of the importance of the counterintelligence team in combat. "So much, in fact, that several times when attempts were made to withdraw us to division headquarters, General Michaelis would raise all kinds of hell and went as far as to say, and I quote him, `How can I fight a damn war without counterintelligence people around me?'"
1. Phrenology was a popular theory of the time. It maintained that the configuration of a person's skull indicated certain mental faculties and character traits.