Carl F. Eifler

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Carl Frederick Eifler (27 June 1906 – 8 April 2002) was a U.S. Army officer best known for commanding Detachment 101, which served behind the enemy lines in Japanese-occupied Burma during World War II.

Biography[edit]

Eifler was born in Los Angeles, California to Carl Eifler Sr. and his wife Pauline. His parents were both born in Wisconsin to German-American immigrants, and his father was a "rig builder" in a buggy shop.[1][2] He served in the Los Angeles Police Department, followed by the U.S. Border Patrol. Eifler had enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve about 1930, earning a commission, and he was called to active duty in early 1941. He was officer-of-the-day for Sand Island Internment Camp in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, when the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, during which Japanese aircraft made several strafing runs on the jeep he was driving. Shortly afterwards, Eifler was ordered to report to "Wild Bill" Donovan, commander of the Coordinator of Information, which would soon become the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Eifler was selected to commanded Detachment 101, a paramilitary organization intended to operate against the Japanese army in the Burma Campaign, in China India Burma Theater. Eifler performed his work with distinction, surviving two plane crashes, but finally being disabled by head injuries that required 18 months of hospitalization. He held the rank of Colonel when he was relieved of command in 1943 because of his injuries. Eifler turned over command of Detachment 101 to Lt. Col. William R. Peers, and was flown to Hawaii to recover.

In 1945, the OSS had Eifler devise a plan to kidnap Werner Heisenberg, Germany's top nuclear physicist, smuggle Heisenberg to Switzerland, and bring him to the United States. The plan was dropped after the U.S. successfully developed its own nuclear weapons.[3]

After the war, Eifler earned a doctorate of psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology and worked as a clinical psychologist in Monterey, California. He died in 1992 at the age of 95 in Salinas, California. Eifler had outlived both of his wives, and was survived by his son Carl Henry Eifler.[4]

Colonel Eifler is a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame and is honored by Eifler Gym at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Moon, Thomas. The Deadliest Colonel. (New York: Vantage Press, 1975.)