COMPANY C 2671st SPECIAL RECONNAISSANCE BATTALION

aka Greek/US Operational Group

The genesis of Co. C 2671 Special Reconnaissance Battalion was the 122nd Infantry Battalion (aka the Greek Battalion). Founded by an executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the battalion was designated the 122nd to commemorate 122 years of Greek independence following 400 years of Ottoman rule.

By August 1943, the 122nd had completed seven grueling months of infantry training at Camp Carson Colorado, under the superb leadership of Major Peter D. Clainos, the first Greek-born West Point graduate. OSS officers advised the battalion that they were seeking volunteers for a covert, hazardous mission, and that the casualty rate was expected to be very high. According to Major Clainos all of the battalion volunteered. Initially the OSS officers asked for 15 volunteers, but after the battalion was reviewed they revised the number to 200.

The 200 volunteers were sent to Maryland for commando training; because his rank was too high to command a small unit, Major Clainos was transferred. Lieutenant Robert F. Houlihan of Lexington KY was appointed the Commanding Officer of the Greek Operational Group. The Greek Battalion was disbanded, and the men were assigned to other Infantry Units.

In 1944, the Greek/US Operational Group infiltrated Greece by boat or parachute, and joined forces with Greek Resistance fighters (Antartes). With support from British forces and the Antartes, the OSS commandos disrupted the German withdrawal from Greece by destroying bridges, convoys, trucks, trains and railroad tracks, which aided the Allies. The war record of the Greek/USOG is one the best kept secrets of WW II; the records of all the Ethnic Operational Groups were kept sealed by the CIA until 1988.

Continuing a Hellenic tradition of courage, the valiant members of the Greek/US Operational Group contributed to the WW II Allied victory in Europe and to the liberation of Greece.


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