Section 5. The First Test - Beirut Lebanon 1958

Introduction - CI Deployment

Prior to the actual landing of Marines in Beirut, Sergeant (Sgt) Roy Abercrombie was in Baltimore, Maryland on official business and received a telegram from Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. The telegram directed him to report to Cherry Point, North Carolina for possible assignment. This was due in part to the developments in Lebanon. Sgt Abercrombie immediately packed his bags and proceeded to Cherry Point, N.C.

Upon reporting to Cherry Point, Sgt Abercrombie found out that the Sergeant Major of the 2nd Aircraft Wing - SgtMaj William K. Maximum (a former CI Marine) - had other plans for him. Sgt Abercrombie would remain at Cherry Point and man the CI billet that had been recently vacated by the CI Teams deployment to Lebanon earlier that day. Sgt. Abercrombie commented, "All dressed up and no place to go."

Figure 14. Lebanon Operational Map
Figure 14. Lebanon Operational Map

As the Lebanese Crisis developed after the initial landing into Lebanon on 15 July 1958, the Headquarters element of the Second Provisional Marine Force, requested Counterintelligence support from Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. Initially one CI officer and one CI Specialist arrived on 17 July 1958, and were assigned to the G-2 Section. One of those Marines was Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) W. D. Wallace - also mentioned in the Korean War - flew out from the Second Marine Corps Aircraft Wing, Cherry Point, North Carolina in a R4Q -Flying Boxcar. On August 22, 1958, the newly formed 2nd Counterintelligence Team, augmented by language personnel, flew on another R4Q to Lebanon and were found to be of particular value in the collection of intelligence. Some of the members included:

Captain H.R. Marshall

Captain W. Becker

GySgt W. D. Wallace

SSgt P.L Dolyak

SSgt R. T. Friedl

Team Leader

Subteam Cdr

Team member

Team member

Team member

The 2nd CIT, after deployment to Beirut, was attached to Headquarters, 2nd Provisional Marine Force, American Land Forces, Middle East.

It was recognized that the 2nd Counterintelligence Team was in the process of forming with the 2nd ProMarFor that was committed and subsequently landed in Lebanon.

Due to the CI Team's unique skills and value in the collection of intelligence in this crisis, recommendations were made that in future situations where Marine forces are called upon to respond, that the availability of a Marine Corps counterintelligence teams be deployed and assigned to Marine Operational Forces.

Staff Sergeant Howard P. L. Dolyak Jr., provided the following account of the team's activities: "After the 2nd CI Team was organized at Force Troops, Fleet Marine Force, Camp Geiger, North Carolina it deployed to Beirut Lebanon on August 22, 1958. Most notable during the teams involvement in the intelligence collection effort was the teams recruitment of informants." These informants included: Perrie Gamal and Evette Sargologo Gamel (later elected president of Lebanon) and the son and daughter of the President of Lebanon: Walid Jamblat (who is presently the leader of the Druz Militia in Lebanon): Several members of the Sunni Militia: several officers of the Lebanese Army and leaders of the Phalange Christian Militia.

Also, Staff Sergeant Dolyak further notedthat "Due to a case of mistaken identity, when the Order of Battle information concerning the Lebanese Army was delivered into the hands of a team member, the team was able to continue its recruitment."

During the 2nd CI Team's assignment in Beirut, they conducted and participated in the national studies of all future operations in Lebanon by gathering beach studies for amphibious operations, mapped and photographed landing zone sites for possible evacuation of US citizens, port security studies and established friendly contacts with personnel on both sides of the Green Line.

Sergeant Dolyak also noted, "That the team was very active throughout the city. The team participated in port security, patrolled the city streets, and took photographs of Christian and Moslem strong points, including its personnel and equipment."

Probably the most notable time during the 2nd CI Teams deployment in addition to recruiting informants, collecting intelligence information and assisting the G-2, as Sergeant Dolyak continues "was the team being cited by the Commanding General, American Land Forces, for their exceptional professionalism in carrying out their duties in support of the overall mission, to include the utilization of I&CI; funds (used to obtain information) which amounted to less than $150, compared to the Army's CIC expenditures that exceeded over $10,000."

After the successful Marine CI operations were concluded in Lebanon, Technical Sergeant D.W. Lorentzson received orders on February 1959 to report for duty with the NELM Battalion. This was the first time that a Marine CI would be attached to support a battalion. A letter from the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic with a First Endorsement approved recommendations from the Commanding General, 2nd Provisional Marine Force dated 19 March 1959. The endorsement noted, "Counterintelligence personnel will continue to be assigned to NELM Battalions and Provisional Marine Force Headquarters. It is not considered advisable to permanently station a CI team or teams in Europe or in the Mediterranean area at this time. . . ."

Lessons Learned

It was after the successful CI operations conducted in Lebanon that Headquarters Marine Corps decided that all future Marine Battalions operating in the Mediterranean Sea would have a CI sub-team attached to its headquarters element. The first sub-team to be so attached was from the 2nd CI Team. It consisted of Staff Sergeant's Donald R. Knepp and Howard P. L. Dolyak Jr.

When the remainder of the 2nd CI Team returned back to its headquarters at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, its members continued to receive additional training in the many facets of counterintelligence operations etc,. Because of the excess CI personnel moved to Camp LeJeune during the Lebanon Crisis, a new CI team was organized. It was the 2nd Marine Division CI Team. Later this team was redesignated as the 4th CI Team. At this time, the 4th CIT was administratively assigned to Force Troops, Atlantic and was operationally controlled by the Commanding General, 2nd Marine Divison. Today both the 2nd and 4th CI Teams are co-located at Camp LeJeune, NC.

Published By:
Bob McDonough
September 1, 2017