Growth of the Marine Corps
Counterintelligence (1941 - 1951)
1941 to 1951
If the disaster of Pearl Harbor accomplished anything for the United States, it
demonstrated a deficiency in America's overall intelligence operations and its programs.
At Pearl Harbor, our battleships were lined up in their berthing spaces in an open
invitation to air attack. Our aircraft were wheeled out of their revetments and placed
side-by-side on the flight line at Hickham Airfield. One of the main reasons for this was
that our military leadership had underestimated Japan's strength. American Military
leaders had not only underestimated Japanese capabilities, but had failed to piece
together and identify simple indicators and warnings which may have averted the Japanese
air strikes against Hawaii.
Many observers in Europe had predicted that Russia could not last more than six weeks
against a German assault. Consequently, full attention of Allied intelligence was directed
to that region of the world, completely ignoring the Japanese threat.
Prior to 1948, a formal occupational field for Marine Corps Counterintelligence did not
exist. Of course this is not to say that several Marines had not participated in the
field. Those who did participate in this environment had served with the "Office of
Strategic Services (OSS)," during World War II. On 23 April 1943, Headquarters,
Marine Corps issued a 29 page manual that outlined the mission and general instructions
for Marine Corps Counterintelligence.
The first Marine Corps formal counterintelligence training took place in April 1948,
when quotas were obtained for four officers and eight enlisted Marines were to attend CI
training at the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps Center, Camp Holibird, Maryland. These
Marines became the nucleus for other Marines entering Marine Corps Counterintelligence.
The Marine Corps Military Occupational Skill (MOS) designation for members originally
assigned to the counterintelligence field was (636) until it was change in the spring of
1950; 0210 for officers and 0211 for enlisted.
U. S. Marine Corps Counterintelligence
Even though Marine Corps Counterintelligence was formally instituted in 1943 to
cooperate with and to assist the Naval Intelligence Service in its assigned task, formal
training did not begin until the spring of 1948. However, a manual for Marine Corps
Counterintelligence was published on 23 April 1943, providing a working basis and
standardized procedures for Marines assigned to assist the Navy in carrying out its
counterintelligence operations. Compared to today's Marine Corps Order pertaining to CI,
the 1943 manual was general in scope and purpose.
Fort Holabird, Maryland - Army CIC
Figure 3 - Fort Holibird Maryland
In the spring of 1948, formal counterintelligence training for the Marine Corps began.
Prior to 1948, counterintelligence support to the Marine Corps was provided by either the
U. S. Army or the U. S. Navy. Four officers and eight enlisted Marines received orders to
attend the Basic Agents Course at the U. S. Army Counterintelligence Corps Center, Camp
Camp Holibird, had long been the training site for Army Intelligence. Camp Holibird,
located in on the eastern outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland, was later changed to Fort
Holibird in the late 50s. Many individuals who received training at Camp Holibird refer to
it as the "Bird." "The Bird" was also headquarters of the Army
Intelligence Command during the frostier days of the Cold War.
Originally, an Army locomotive repair depot, Camp Holibird had been the training ground
for a generations of Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) and Field Operations Intelligence
(FOI) operatives. In the 1950s, many FOI were Eastern Europeans of fierce anti-Communist
bent who spoke scant English and who were allowed off the camp only under controlled
circumstances. This was mainly due to the fact that when the operatives were let off the
camp grounds, they would do considerable damage to many of the saloons just outside the
camp's main gate. Camp Holibird also housed the Central Records Facility, the main
repository for every intelligence report ever received by the United States Army. Just
after the conclusion of the Vietnam War, most of the activities formerly pursued at the
"Bird" were relocated at Fort Huahuacha, Arizona; now headquarters U.S. Army
intelligence. Today, "The Bird" is an industrial park that has been developed by
the city of Baltimore.
The first class of Marines to be formally trained in the Counterintelligence field
began on Monday, 19 April 1948 and concluded thirteen weeks later on Friday, 16 July 1948.
For many Marines in attendance, the class was better known as "Training Group
666". Classes included; Report Writing, Sound Devices, Surreptitious Entry,
Investigation Techniques, Observation and Description, Fingerprinting, Interrogation,
Inspection and Review, Photographing, etc. As Corporal Charles Pedersen noted, "Many
long hours of study time was consumed by all the enlisted Marines in attendance. This was
mainly due to the fact that many of us had not been exposed to such an intense training
environment throughout the course." At the beginning of each week, a "Weekly
Training Schedule" was issued to each members of the class. During the twelve week
course some 472 hours of training took place. The course of instruction was broken down
into six areas. They included: Administrative Subject Branch - 93 hours of instruction;
Investigative Subject Branch - 155 hours of instruction; Technical Subjects Branch 38
hours of instruction; Legal Subjects Branch - 30 hours of instruction; International
Survey Branch - 7 hours of instruction; and Miscellaneous - 152 hours. During the CI
Course most of the training concentrated on Report Writing and Typewriting - 59 hours; CIC
Detachment Problems, Investigations and Interrogations - 89 hours; Investigative
Photography - 16 hours; and Investigative Legal Principles - 24 hours. After graduation,
many of the enlisted Marines received additional training.
Names of Marine Who Attended Army Counterintelligence Corps in 1948
|Fitzhugh L. Buchanan Jr.
Paul L. Hitchcock
Charles F. King Jr
Frank V. Cutting
William E. Day
Benton R. Montgomery
John F. Echert Jr.
Albert W. Keller
Charles L. Pedersen
William D. Wallace
John T. Yant
Figure 4 - Counterintelligence Certificate of Completion
The Marine Corps Military Occupational Skill (MOS) for members assigned to the CI field
received a 636 Selective Service Number (SSN) after successfully completed the CI course
at Camp Holibird. Many Marines assigned the 636 SSN were unable to get promoted. One
member of the first class, Corporal C.L. Pedersen, upon graduation and returning to the
First Marine Division, advised Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps of the promotion problem.
Corporal Pedersen prepared two letters, one dated 18 November 1948 and the other dated 10
December 1948. Both were forward to Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Some two years later,
in the spring of 1950, because of this potential promotion problem identified by Corporal
Pedersen, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps changed the 636 SSN intelligence designator to
its present MOS of 0210 for officers and 0211 for enlisted. Another problem developed
during this MOS change. Due to an oversight, Headquarters, Marine Corps had failed to
identify a line number within a Table of Organization (T/O) for the placement of Marine CI
personnel to be assigned. Therefore, a Letter of Instruction (LOI) was sent to all
commanders, advising them on how to effectively utilize Marines assigned to the new MOS,
and that a published Marine Corps Order was being developed at Headquarters, Marine Corps
for guidance and dissemination.
Figure 5 - Marines Participating in Exercise
In 1951, the Commandant of the Marine Corps issued a classified LOI to all commanders
advising them of the type of duties that assigned CI personnel should perform. At this
time, Corporal Pedersen was assigned to the 8th Marine Corps Reserve District, Marine
Corps Forwarding Depot, Portsmouth, Virginia as a criminal investigator with the Guard
Detachment . After the issuance of the LOI, Corporal Pedersen duties changed and centered
on conducting security surveys within the command, and assisting the Office of Naval
Intelligence (ONI) in investigations concerning both military and civilian personnel
assigned to the Depot.
At the time, only restricted Limited Duty Officers (LDOs) and Warrant Officers (WOs)
could be assigned a primary MOS of 0210 upon successful completion of the required CI
training. All other officers, who were assigned to the CI field, were able to carry a
secondary or additional MOS of 0210.
The second class of Marines to be trained in counterintelligence began on 27 September
1948 and concluded on 14 January 1949. Marines attending the second class were:
(*) During the early period of World War II, TSgt Koenig was assigned to the 4th
Marines where he was captured during the Japanese invasion of Corregidor. He served as a
Prisoner of War from 1941 to 1945.
Figure 6 - After Class Study Hours
For many of the CI Marines who were in the first and second class at the
"Bird", continued to provide assistance to the Naval Investigative Service
(NIS), prior to the outbreak of hostilities during the Korean War. Tactical CI training
was minimal or non-existent until the outbreak of the Korean War. During the Korean War,
CI Marines were assigned to and worked with Army CI. It was not until after the Korean War
that the Corps began to focus on a true Marine CI mission. The first Marine Corps
Counterintelligence General Order, Number 55, issued by Headquarters, Marine Corps whch
outlined the Corps CI mission for both tactical and garrison environments. The order was
issued on 28 November 1949. The 1949 publication was unlike that of the first manual which
had been published in 1943 in that it defined the Marine Corps CI mission. The 1943
manual, identified only how the Marine Corps was to provide support to the Naval
Investigative Service (NIS), and did not depict a Marine Corps mission. After the end of
the Korean War, several changes refining the Marine Corps CI mission and its methodology
for carrying out that mission were published.