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Col. Preston McLaughlin discusses the Sino-American Cooperative Organization

Col. Preston McLaughlin, USMC (Ret.) gave a lecture on “The Sino-American Cooperative Organization/Naval Group China, 1942-1945: A Case Study In Special Operations” at The Institute of World Politics on March 31, 2015.

About the talk

In this video, Col. Preston McLaughlin presents a study of an Office of Naval Intelligence organization that conducted combined operations with the Nationalist Chinese Government in WWII. It is unique, as the relationship was codified by formal treaty. It is a classic case of a low investment-high payoff strategy in an Economy of Force Theater. This study offers insights into modern special operations forces and their relationships with intelligence, as well as allied Grand Strategy and the origins of the Cold War.

About the speaker

Col. McLaughlin spent several years in the Asia-Pacific region during a 27-year military career. These assignments included: Amphibious Section Head, G-3 Operations, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa Japan; Commanding Officer, Combat Assault Battalion, 3d Marine Division, Okinawa, Japan; and Command Operations Officer, G-3 Marine Forces Pacific, Camp Smith, Hawaii; Combined Marine Forces Command, and Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Security Force Regiment. His final assignment was as the Chief of Staff, for Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan.

Following his retirement from the Marines in 2010, he was on the staff and Adjunct Faculty of The Citadel, as a Program Manager for the Krause Center for Leadership & Ethics and as Director of Professional Development. He currently works for System High Corporation of Chantilly VA. His education includes: a BA in Political Science from The Citadel; he is a Distinguished Graduate, with a Master’s in Military Studies from the USMC Command and Staff College; and a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College; and an M.A. in American History from George Mason University. He is a Joint Specialty Officer and graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College. He is also a recipient of the Dr. Elihu Rose Award for professional military education teaching excellence from Marine Corps University.

Selected reading for further self-study

The Rice Paddy Navy: Espionage and Sabotage Behind Japanese Lines in China During World War II by Linda Kush (2012)                                                                              

SACO – The Rice Paddy Navy by LCDR Roy Olin Stratton USN (1950)                       

The Army-Navy Game -1977 by Roy Stratton                            

A Different Kind of War: The Little-Known Story of the Combined guerrilla Forces Created in China By the U S Navy and the Chinese During World War II – 1968 by Vice Admiral Milton E. Miles                         

Commandos From The Sea: The History Of Amphibious Special Warfare In World War II And The Korean War – January 1, 1998 by John B. Dwyer

Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937-1945, – September 10, 2013 by Rana Mitter

China 1945: Mao’s Revolution and America’s Fateful Choice – Deckle Edge, November 4, 2014   by Richard Bernstein                                                                

OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War – November 15, 2011 by Maochun Yu (Author) (1996, 2011)

The Dragon’s War: Allied Operations and the Fate of China, 1937-1947  – July 31, 2013 by Maochun Yu                                                                                                                   

Intelligence and the War against Japan: Britain, America and the Politics of Secret Service                                      – April 13, 2000 by Richard J. Aldrich

SAMPAN SAILOR: A Navy Man’s Adventures in WWII China – February 1994 by Clayton Mishler                                                                                               

Ninety-Day Wonder: Flight to Guerrilla War – January 31, 1994 by John Horton                                                                                                                 

OSS Special Operations in China – 2003 by Francis B. Mills (Author), J. Brunner (Author), Robert Mills                                                                                                         

At the Dragon’s Gate: With the OSS in the Far East – October 2004 by Charles Fenn

The OSS in Burma: Jungle War against the Japanese (Modern War Studies) – April 18, 2013 by Troy J. Sacquety                                                                                            

Mission to Yenan: American Liaison with the Chinese Communists, 1944-1947  By Carolle J. Carter (1997)

Thailand’s Secret War: OSS, SOE and the Free Thai Underground During World War II (Cambridge Military Histories)  – February 14, 2005 by E. Bruce Reynolds

Silent Partners: SOE’s French Indo-China Section, 1943-1945 Modern Asian Studies / Volume 34 / Issue 04 / October 2000, pp 943-976 2000 Cambridge University Press DOI: (About DOI), Published online: 12 November 2008

The Shadow Warriors of Nakano: A History of the Imperial Japanese Army’s Elite Intelligence School – July 16, 2002by Stephen C. Mercado                     

Kempeitai: Japan’s Dreaded Military Police  – November 25, 1998 by Raymond Lamont-Brown

Japanese Intelligence in World War II (General Military) – September 22, 2009 by Ken Kotani                                                                                                      

The OSS and Ho Chi Minh: Unexpected Allies in the War against Japan (Modern War Studies) – May 12, 2006 by Dixee Bartholomew-Feis                                          

Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage  – February 21, 2012 by Douglas Waller                                                                    

Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese Secret Service – June 3, 2003 by Frederic Wakeman

The Reader of Gentlemen’s Mail: Herbert O. Yardley and the Birth of American Code breaking – February 9, 2004 by David Kahn                                                         

The American Black Chamber (Bluejacket Books)– January 15, 2013 by Herbert O. Yardley                                                                                                           

Deciphering the Rising Sun: Navy and Marine Corps Code breakers, Translators, and Interpreters in the Pacific War – July 2009 by Roger Dingman

Secret Missions: The Story of an Intelligence Officer (Bluejacket Books)– March 31, 2003 by Ellis M. Zacharias                                                                                                

The Office of Naval Intelligence: Birth of America’s First Intelligence Agency, 1882-1918  – December, 1979 by Jeffery M. Dorwart                                                                    

Conflict of Duty: U.S. Navy’s Intelligence Dilemma, 1919-1945– April, 1983 by Jeffrey M. Dorwart                                                                                            

Uncovering Ways of War: U.S. Intelligence and Foreign Military Innovation, 1918-1941 (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs) – September 3, 2009 by Thomas G. Mahnken

Joe Rochefort’s War: The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway  – September 15, 2013 by Elliot Carlson, Rear Adm. Donald “Mac” Showers USN (Ret.) (Foreword)

Policing Shanghai, 1927-1937 (Philip E. Lilienthal Books) – November 6, 1996 by Frederic Wakeman                                                                                            

Secret War in Shanghai: An Untold Story of Espionage, Intrigue, and Treason in World War II – September 13, 1999 by Bernard Wasserstein                                   

The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China – May 30, 2011by Jay Taylor

Sun Yat-sen– January 1, 2000 by Marie-Claire Bergère, Janet Lloyd (Translator)

Mao: The Unknown Story– November 14, 2006 by Jung Chang, Jon Halliday

General Albert C. Wedemeyer: America’s Unsung Strategist in World War II – May 2012 by John McLaughlin                                                                     

Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945 – July 1, 2012by Barbara W. Tuchman

Soong Dynasty – March 19, 1986 by Sterling Seagrave                                 

The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China – November 16, 2010 by Hannah Pakula                                                                                           

Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942 – August 21, 2007 by Daniel Ford                                                                                                              

Merrill’s Marauders: The Untold Story of Unit Galahad and the Toughest Special Forces Mission of World War II – November 15, 2013 by Gavin Mortimer

The Burma Road: The Epic Story of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II  – September 7, 2004 by Donovan Webster                                          

Defeat Into Victory: Battling Japan in Burma and India, 1942-1945 – February 9, 2000 by Field-Marshal Viscount William Slim, David Hogan (Introduction)

Mountbatten: The Official Biography – December 2001by Philip  Ziegler

Fire in the Night: Wingate of Burma, Ethiopia, and Zion – December 28, 1999 by John Bierman , Colin Smith                                                                                                           

The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957 – September 24, 2013 by Frank Dikötter                                                                                           

Honorable Survivor: Mao’s China, McCarthy’s America, and the Persecution of John S. Service – October 1, 2009 by Lynne Joiner                                                     

Raiders of the China Coast: CIA Covert Operations During the Korean War (Civil War in the West) – January, 1999 by Frank Holober                                                            

Chasing the Dragon: A Veteran Journalist’s Firsthand Account of the 1949 Chinese Revolution – July 1, 2004 by Roy Rowan                                                      

China Hands: Nine Decades of Adventure, Espionage, and Diplomacy in Asia – July 5, 2005 by James R. Lilley, Jeffrey Lilley                                                             

The Clandestine Cold War in Asia, 1945-65: Western Intelligence, Propaganda edited by Richard J. Aldrich, Ming-Yeh Rawnsley

Hazardous Duty – September 1, 1992 by John Singlaub, Malcolm Macconnell