Wartime Wednesday: SACO
During WWII, most of European countries had some sort of resistance system in place. The U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSSO and Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) both played a large in coordinating those systems within and between the countries. However, neither organization found success in working with their Chinese allies in the Far East.
Fortunately in 1939, U.S. Navy Commander Milton E. Miles and China’s military attaché Major Xiao Bo met in Washington, DC to determine strategic plans if, in fact, they found themselves drawn into the war. Not long after the attack on Pearl Harbor, those plans became reality.
Miles jumped on a plane and flew to Chungking, China where he met with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (the understood leader of Nationalist China), General Dai Li, and Major Bo. The purpose of their meeting was to discuss preparations for a large-scale amphibious assault, the creation of a global intelligence network, and interestingly, remote weather stations in the Pacific.
Candid from the beginning, Li is reported to have said, “The United States wants many things in China. Weather reports from the north and west to guide your planes and ships at sea, information about Japanese intentions and operations, mines in our channels and harbors, ship watchers on our coast, and radio stations to send information. I have 50,000 good men. If my men could be armed and trained, they could not only protect your operations, but work for China, too.”
Details were hammered out, and in June 1942 Miles and Li signed the treaty that formed the Sino-American Cooperative Organization (SACO-pronounced “socko”). The men shook hands to seal the deal, often referred to as one of the best-kept secrets of WWII. Li became the director, and Miles was deputy directory. Each had the power to veto the other’s plans.
Trusted sailors were appointed to create camps and units where Americans trained Chinese guerillas in the art of espionage, small arms, hand-to-hand fighting techniques, demolitions, scouting, and patrolling. Each camp had difference responsibilities from ambushes, sabotage, and coast watchers to construction of radio stations, breaking of codes, and prediction of weather patterns.
What was most unusual about the situation is that Miles and Li required their men to adopt each other’s cultures, judge each man by his actions, and use every asset no matter how irrational it appeared on the surface. Highly successful, the units rescued seventy-six downed aviators, erected over seventy weather stations, provided highly effective intelligence, and built an army of nearly 100,000 Chinese guerilla fighters, some of whom when ton to serve with the famed Merill’s Marauders in Burma.
Not bad for an organization created over a cup of coffee.
A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.
Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?
Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?
Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.
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