Section 7. A Short Marine Corps CI Role in Haiti - 1963

CI Operations

In May 1963, Duvalier - or better known as "Papa Doc" - began to get out-of-hand with the U.S. Government. In order to resolve the situation U. S. Marines were called upon to setting the differences.

As Warrant Officer Clem explains his involvement with Haiti he noted:

"I outloaded with the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) as the Brigades' Staff CI Officer. Admiral Rivero was the Task Force Commander, and Major General Tompkins was the Commanding General of the MEB. The Commanding Officer of Regimental Landing Team-6 (Rein) was Colonel Bross. CWO-4 Harry B. Reed was the Brigades' Combat Intelligence Officer. CWO Reed had previously (circa 1931) served in Port-Au-Prince and had a full understanding of Haiti, along with information concerning the palace and various key governments officials. The term "Counterintelligence" was contained throughout the Operation Plan (Op Plan), however, in order to fit the mission at hand it was changed to "Counterinsurgency," to become one of the key words within the Op Plan."

In order to get a better understanding of the new key word, as Clem continues: "A Colonel Heinl was pulled off of a Grace Company Oceanliner in New York and brought aboard one of the task forces' ships - the Taconic. Once aboard the Taconic, both WO Clem and the colonel discussed their knowledge about the Haiti, along with identifying certain individuals in order to prepare a Black, Gray & White (B/WG) List."

According to WO Clem, "There was no question in my mind that the colonel had set his views on the integrity, loyalty and birth-right of some of the key individuals." The colonel has just previously completed a tour in Haiti as the Chief of the U.S.Mission, Haiti.

As WO Clem continues, "As things progressed, we received a 'stale' from one DoD agency, where it was compared to our composite holdings on key personalities. Once the comparison was completed and verified, it revealed that a few of these key individuals were highly suspected of being either politicos or agents of the Castro Government. The slate, according to WO Clem, was challenged, and "believe it or not, in the final analysis, confirmed what we had gathered and reported."

WO Clem further remarked, "That's what I like about integrated intelligence operations - everyone knows what they are doing - Ha!!! After enjoying our anchorage off the coast of Gonave, being buzzed by one of 2 flyable Haitian P-47s, and after watching approximately 1 million people being assembled in Port-Au-Prince, the situation calmed itself and Task Force-44 returned to its base."

After returning for Haiti, a short time thereafter, WO Clem received orders for assignment to the 3rd CIT in Okinawa, Japan. This was WO Clem's first real exposure to a full strength CI Team.

Even though the situation in Haiti was short, CI was preparing itself for a bigger task - It's involvement into Southeast Asia.

Published By:
Bob McDonough
August 1, 2017