John K. Singlaub

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John K. Singlaub
John K Singlaub.jpg
Major General John K. Singlaub
Birth name John Kirk Singlaub
Born (1921-07-10) July 10, 1921 (age 95)
Independence, California
Allegiance United StatesUnited States of America
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1943–1977
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Legion of Merit (3)
Bronze Star (2)
Air Medal (2)
Purple Heart

John Kirk Singlaub (born July 10, 1921) is a highly decorated former OSS officer, a founding member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and a retired Major General in the United States Army. 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 decision 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 is a contributing author to several books and is the author of his autobiography as well as numerous articles.


Singlaub was born in Independence, California on July 10, 1921.[1] After graduating from Van Nuys High School[citation needed] in 1939 he attended the University of California at Los Angeles and received after graduation his commission as a second lieutenant of infantry on January 14, 1943.[1] As a member of Operation Jedburgh (Singlaub was part of the three man team code name JAMES), Singlaub parachuted behind German lines in August 1944 to work with the French Resistance fighters or Maquis groups that had swelled the resistance ranks after the D-Day invasion during World War II. He 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.

During times of crisis, and a host of modern wars, Singlaub served as a leading figure in U.S. national security and defense matters under Democratic and Republican U.S. Presidents, from Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

In 1977, while Singlaub was chief of staff of U.S. forces in South Korea, he publicly criticized President Jimmy Carter's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula. On March 21, 1977, Carter relieved him of duty for overstepping his bounds and failing to respect the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief.[2][3] 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.[4]

After retiring from the army, Singlaub, with John Rees and Democratic Congressman from Georgia, Larry McDonald founded the Western Goals Foundation. According to The Spokesman-Review, it was intended to "blunt subversion, terrorism, and communism" by filling the gap "created by the disbanding of the House Un-American Activities Committee".[5] 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,[6] with Associated Press reporting that, "Singlaub's private group became the public cover for the White House operation".[7] 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.[8]

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 so-called 'private' 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 (Texas politician) (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.

As of 2014, he lives in Franklin, Tennessee. He is a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.[9]

Coalition to Salute America's Heroes[edit]

The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, founded by Roger Chapin, named Singlaub to its Board of Directors in 2008. [10] The New York Times critiqued the organization as a money-maker for its founders rather than for veterans. The New York Times said the coalition was " 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." [11]


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 Despatches oak leaf, as well as decorations from China, the Netherlands, and South Vietnam.

Published works[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b Singlaub's official site Archived February 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Carter / Singlaub (NBC) from the Vanderbilt Television News Archive
  3. ^ Time Magazine – General on the Carpet
  4. ^ Persico, Joseph E. (August 4, 1991). "His Dog Tags Don't Come Off (Book Review)". New York Times. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "McDonald's peers note tragic irony", The Spokesman-Review, 1982-09-02, retrieved 2009-08-26 
  6. ^ RightWeb Group Watch profile
  7. ^ Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "National Advisory Council". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  10. ^ Major General John K Singlaub Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, accessed June 11, 2016
  11. ^ ‘An Intolerable Fraud’ The New York Times, February 8, 2008

External links[edit]