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    NY National Guard's "Wild Bill" Donovan commemorated in comic book

    Wild Bill Donovan remembered in AUSA Comic

    Courtesy Photo | Lt. Col. William "Wild Bill" Donovan leads the 165th Infantry in an attack against...... read more read more

    LATHAM, NY, UNITED STATES

    08.17.2021

    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    LATHAM, N.Y. -- William “Wild Bill” Donovan, the New York National Guardsman and Buffalo lawyer who commanded New York’s 69th Infantry Regiment in World War I and went on to become America’s top spymaster in World War II, is the latest subject in a series of digital comics about Medal of Honor recipients.

    The eight page comic, published by the Association of the United States Army, is scripted by noted comics author Chuck Dixon, who has written comic books in the Batman and Punisher series, and provides a quick outline of Donovan’s life.

    The comic focuses mainly on an October 14-15 battle near Landres-et-Saint Georges, France in 1918 during which Donovan led the 69th, renamed the 165th Infantry Regiment by the Army, in a bitter struggle to take the main German line during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

    The 165th, which was part of the 42nd Infantry Division, known as “The Rainbow Division,” was assigned to join in an assault on the German main defensive line known as the Kriemhilde Stellung.

    In that two-day battle, Donovan led his regiment from the front, scouted forward at night to find weaknesses in the enemy line so the attack could be renewed, continued to lead his men after being hit in the leg by machinegun fire, and eventually ignored an order to resume the attack when he determined it was not possible.

    Donovan was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, his second, for his role in that battle and eventually that award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 1923.

    Donovan grew up in Buffalo and went on to graduate from Columbia University and then Columbia Law School after he decided to become a lawyer. He graduated in the law school class of 1907 along with future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    He returned to Buffalo and eventually opened his own law practice. He also joined the New York National Guard and organized a troop of the New York National Guard’s 1st Cavalry Regiment. In 1916, when the New York National Guard was sent to the Mexican border after the incursions of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, Donovan went too.

    When the United States entered World War I, Donovan joined the 69th Infantry and was given a promotion and command of one of the regiment’s battalion. Those New York National Guardsmen gave him the nickname “Wild Bill” because of his endurance during training and coolness under enemy fire.

    In France, Donovan was also awarded a French Croix de Guerre and a Distinguished Service Cross for action in the summer of 1918.

    After the war Donovan became a crime-busting U.S. Attorney in Western New York and a department of justice official who ran for governor of New York in 1932 as a Republican and lost.

    But he became part of a network of businessmen who kept track of what was going on overseas and provided information to his old law school classmate Franklin Roosevelt who was now president. He undertook fact-finding missions for Roosevelt, which resulted in his meeting Winston Churchill and having lunch with King George VI.

    He became famous again in 1940 when his World War I exploits were featured in the movie “The Fighting 69th.”

    As the U.S. prepared for World War II, Roosevelt made Donovan head of America’s civilian intelligence effort. In 1942 that operation became the Office of Strategic Services, known as the OSS which was the predecessor of the CIA and Donovan was made a one-star general.

    Donovan controlled a world-wide network of 13,000 OSS agents and was later promoted to Major General.

    The New York National Guardsman from Buffalo is the only American to have received the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Security Medal, the highest award for intelligence work.

    Donovan died in 1959 from dementia.

    The comic is the eleventh issue in the Association of the United States Army Medal of Honor series, which launched October 2018. A release in July 2020 told the story of Sgt. Henry Johnson, a member of the New York National Guard’s 369th Infantry who was awarded the medal posthumously in 2015.

    The Association is producing four new issues in 2021 featuring Jacob Parrot, the first Soldier to receive the Medal of Honor; Native American Soldier Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., who was awarded the medal posthumously during the Korean War; and Roger Donlon, the first recipient from the Vietnam War.

    To read the Wild Bill Donovan comic online or download a free copy, readers can visit www.ausa.org/donovan.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.17.2021
    Date Posted: 08.17.2021 15:35
    Story ID: 403286
    Location: LATHAM, NY, US 

    Web Views: 158
    Downloads: 0

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