John K. Singlaub

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John K. Singlaub
John K Singlaub.jpg
Birth nameJohn Kirk Singlaub
Born(1921-07-10)July 10, 1921
Independence, California, U.S.
DiedJanuary 29, 2022(2022-01-29) (aged 100)
Franklin, Tennessee, U.S.
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army seal United States Army
Years of service1943–1978
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Legion of Merit (3)
Soldier's Medal
Bronze Star (2)
Air Medal (2)
Purple Heart (2)

Major General John Kirk Singlaub (July 10, 1921 – January 29, 2022) was a major general in the United States Army, founding member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and a highly decorated officer in the former Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

In 1977, Singlaub was relieved from his position as Chief of Staff of U.S. forces in South Korea after criticizing President Jimmy Carter's proposal to withdraw U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula in an interview with the Washington Post. Less than a year later, Singlaub was forced to retire after publicly questioning President Carter's national security policies. In 1979, Singlaub founded the Western Goals Foundation, a private intelligence network that was implicated for supplying weapons to the Contras during the Iran–Contra affair. Singlaub contributed to several books and wrote an autobiography.


Singlaub was born in Independence, California, on July 10, 1921.[1] After graduating from Van Nuys High School in 1939, he attended the University of California, Los Angeles,[1] but abandoned his studies in 1943 to begin military service. (In 1958 he completed the Bachelor of Arts in political science at UCLA.)[2][3] With the United States entering World War II, Singlaub joined the U.S. Army and commissioned as a second lieutenant on January 14, 1943.[1] Deployed to Europe for special operations, Singlaub was dropped behind German lines in France in August 1944, as part of Operation Jedburgh. As a member of a three-member team (codenamed "JAMES"), he worked with Maquis groups that swelled the ranks of the French Resistance after D-Day.

In 1945, Singlaub was redeployed to the Pacific. On August 27, before the formal Japanese surrender, he parachuted onto Hainan Island, China, commanding an eight-member team, to arrange the evacuation of US, Australian and Dutch prisoners of war being held there. Singlaub demanded proper food and medical care for the POWs, who the Japanese were still treating as prisoners.[4]

Singlaub headed CIA operations in postwar Manchuria during the Chinese Communist revolution, led troops in the Korean War, managed the secret war along the Ho Chi Minh trail in the Kingdom of Laos and Vietnam, worked with the Contras in Nicaragua, and Afghan resistance during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College in 1954 and the Air War College in 1960.[5] Because of the increasing use of helicopters in Special Forces operations, he decided to attend flight school at Fort Rucker as a fifty-year-old brigadier general in 1971.[6]

In 1977, while Singlaub was chief of staff of U.S. forces in South Korea, he publicly criticized President Jimmy Carter's proposal to withdraw U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula. On May 21, 1977, Carter relieved him of duty for overstepping his bounds and failing to respect the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief.[7][8][9] Less than a year later, Singlaub again publicly questioned President Carter's national security policies, this time during a lecture at Georgia Tech, and was forced to retire on June 1, 1978.[2][10] The U.S. Army Special Operations Command presented its first John Singlaub Award in 2016 for "courageous actions ... off the battlefield."[11]

After retiring from the army, Singlaub, with John Rees and Democratic Congressman from Georgia, Larry McDonald founded the Western Goals Foundation. According to The Associated Press, it was intended to "blunt subversion, terrorism, and communism" by filling the gap "created by the disbanding of the House Un-American Activities Committee".[12] Prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and Marxism–Leninism in the Soviet Union in 1991, Singlaub was founder in 1981 of the United States Council for World Freedom, the U.S. chapter of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL). The chapter became involved with the Iran–Contra affair,[13] with Associated Press reporting that, "Singlaub's private group became the public cover for the White House operation".[14] The WACL was described by former member Geoffrey Stewart-Smith as allegedly a "largely a collection of Nazis, Fascists, anti-Semites, sellers of forgeries, vicious racialists, and corrupt self-seekers." Singlaub is credited with purging the organization of these types and making it respectable.[15]

U.S. Army General William Westmoreland described Singlaub as a "true military professional" and "a man of honest, patriotic conviction and courage."[citation needed] Congressman Henry J. Hyde (Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence Committees), described Singlaub as "a brave man, a thorough patriot, and a keen observer"; someone who had been "in the center of almost every controversial military action since World War II." Active for 40 years in overt and covert operations, he had private and secret interviews with many military and government leaders worldwide. He personally knew William Casey, Director of Central Intelligence during the Reagan Administration, as well as Oliver North, and was involved in the Iran–Contra affair. Singlaub was President Reagan's administrative chief liaison in the Contra supply effort to oppose Moscow's and Fidel Castro's advances in El Salvador and Nicaragua during the Cold War and their support for armed Marxist revolutionary guerrilla movements. Through his chairmanship of the world Anti-Communist League (WACL) and its U.S. chapter, the U.S. Council for World Freedom (USCWF), he enlisted Members of the US Congress from both political parties, Washington, D.C. policymakers, retired U.S. military officials, paramilitary groups, foreign governments, and American think tanks and conservatives in the Contra cause. He often met on Capitol Hill with members of the U.S. Congress, including Congressman Charlie Wilson (D-TX) about U.S. support and funding for the Contras and anti-communist resistance forces in Afghanistan opposed to the Red Army invasion of Kabul in 1979.[citation needed]

As of 2014, he lived in Franklin, Tennessee. He was a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.[16] Singlaub was the honorary vice president of London's Special Forces Club. He was the chairman of The Jedburgh Group and president of the non-profit organization America's Future, Inc.[17] In January 2020 Singlaub used the "America's Future" of Phyllis Schlafly to plead with Attorney General William Barr to "free Mike Flynn, drop the charges".[18]

He turned 100 in July 2021, and died on January 29, 2022.[19][20]

Coalition to Salute America's Heroes[edit]

The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, which was founded by Roger Chapin, named Singlaub to its board of directors in 2008.[21] Singlaub was paid $180,000 by the charity from 2009 to 2011.[22] The New York Times critiqued the organization as a money-maker for its founders rather than for veterans, described it as an "intolerable fraud" and "among a dozen military-related charities given a grade of F in a study last December by the American Institute of Philanthropy, a nonprofit watchdog group. These and other charities have collected hundreds of millions of dollars from kind-hearted Americans and squandered an unconscionable amount of it on overhead and expenses — 70 percent or 80 percent, or more."[23] The Attorney General of California sued the charity in August 2012 for "more than $4.3 million regarding allegations of fraudulent fundraising, self-dealing and excessive executive compensation."[24] The lawsuit was settled in September 2013.[25] According to the charity's 2013 federal tax return, Singlaub resigned from its board of directors in January 2013.[26]


During his military service, Singlaub was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Purple Heart. His foreign decorations include the French Croix de Guerre with Palm and Bronze Star devices, British Mention in Dispatches oak leaf, as well as decorations from the Republic of China, the Netherlands, and South Vietnam.

Personal awards
Unit awards

Singlaub was inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2006.[27] He was made a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment in 2007.[2]

Published works[edit]

  • Hazardous Duty. Summit Books, 1991. ISBN 0-671-70516-4 (Autobiography with Malcolm McConnell).


  1. ^ a b c Singlaub's official site Archived February 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c "Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment: Major General John K. Singlaub" (PDF). U.S. Special Operations Command. April 26, 2011. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  3. ^ "John Singlaub, audacious warrior who waged private battle against communism, dies at 100". The Washington Post. February 1, 2022. p. B6. Retrieved 2022-02-01.
  4. ^ Stout, Jay A. (2019). Air Apaches: The True Story of the 345th Bomb Group and Its Low, Fast, and Deadly Missions in World War II. Guilford, CT, USA: Stackpole Books. pp. 344–345. ISBN 9780811738019.
  5. ^ U.S. Army Register: Active and Retired List. Vol. I. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army. January 1, 1966. p. 519. Retrieved 2001-11-07.
  6. ^ Singlaub, John; Macconnell, Malcolm (1992). "General Officer". Hazardous Duty. Simon and Schuster. pp. 339–340. ISBN 978-0671792299. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  7. ^ Times, Bernard Weinraub Special to The New York (1977-05-22). "Carter Disciplines Gen. Singlaub, Who Attacked His Policy on Korea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-05-12.
  8. ^ "Carter / Singlaub | Vanderbilt Television News Archive". Retrieved Feb 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "ARMED FORCES: General on the Carpet". Time. May 30, 1977. Retrieved Feb 10, 2019 – via
  10. ^ Persico, Joseph E. (August 4, 1991). "His Dog Tags Don't Come Off (Book Review)". New York Times. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  11. ^ "USASOC Red, Black Ball presents first Maj. Gen. Singlaub Award". U.S. Army.
  12. ^ "McDonald's peers note tragic irony", The Spokesman-Review, 1983-09-02, retrieved 2009-08-26
  13. ^ "RightWeb Group Watch profile". 9 January 1990. Retrieved Feb 10, 2019.
  14. ^ "McCain linked to private group in Iran-Contra case". Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  15. ^ McManus, Doyle (September 16, 1985). "Rightist Crusade Finds Its Way Into Spotlight: Led by Retired Gen. Singlaub, Anti-Communist League Is Funnel for Private Funds to Contras" (fee required). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  16. ^ "National Advisory Council". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2011-05-20.
  17. ^ "Election officials warn of letter questioning registration of cats, dogs, the deceased". WAVY. September 27, 2016.
  18. ^ "Maj. Gen. Jack Singlaub to AG Barr: Free Mike Flynn, Drop the Charges". Phyllis Schlafly Eagles. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  19. ^ "John Singlaub, American commando and leader, dies at 100". January 29, 2022. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  20. ^ "Maj General John Singlaub OSS, Ranger, Jack, CCRAK, MACV-SOG has died". SOF Magazine. 29 January 2022. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  21. ^ "Biography of Major General John K. Singlaub". Coalition to Salute America's Heroes.
  22. ^ "Guidestar compensation report for the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes" (PDF). Guidestar. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-11-22. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  23. ^ 'An Intolerable Fraud' The New York Times, February 8, 2008
  24. ^ "California AG Sues Veterans' Charity". The NonProfit Times. August 10, 2012.
  25. ^ "Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces New Leadership, Restitution for Help Hospitalized Veterans Charity". State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. 6 September 2013.
  26. ^ "2012 IRS Form 990 for the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes Foundation (page 7)" (PDF). Coalition to Salute America's Heroes.
  27. ^ "U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame" (PDF). Worldwide Army Rangers, Inc. June 12, 2015. Retrieved 2021-11-07.

External links[edit]