OSS personnel in China

Source: NARA, RG226, E146, Box 85, Folder 1251. Memo Robinson to Spencer, 22 February, 1945.

Sometimes it’s nice to have an overall view of the OSS structure. Here is a chart created by Arthur Robinson in his capacity as Map Division Chief, of the OSS MD personnel deployed in the China theater, principally Chungking and Kunming.

The most recognizable name on this list is probably Herman Friis, later at the National Archives where he was Director of the Center for Polar Activities (and come to find out, has some hills named after him in Antarctica!).

Friis wrote a very detailed report of his time in China, which I’m attaching to this post as a pdf, since it has an obscure publication. He also donated his papers to the National Archives, where one day I will read them.*

However, Floyd Masten (listed as being in a Special Map Intelligence team), and Joe Coolidge who were with a special detachment 303, CBI (China, Burma, India) also deserve to be recognized. Coolidge was later wounded by revolutionaries in Indo-China (thus he became the so-called “first casualty of the Vietnam War,” although of course that war was not yet formally under way). Major Joseph E. Spencer was Director of the Kunming operation, and later a long-time professor in the UCLA geography department, where his papers are collected, where one day, etc.*

* Hubris, no doubt.

Friis on OSS Map Division (pdf)


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