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Military Intel

The secret weapon of any country’s war effort is its military intelligence, or “intel,” as insiders call it. The Veterans History Project Web site offers an intimate look into this side of warfare in a new presentation culled from the project’s more than 40,000 submissions sent in by those who have fought in wars and the individuals who supported them.

George P. Davis, piloting his aircraft, 1970 Veteran straddling the engine of an OV-1, 1970

“Military Intel: The Inside Story,” a selection of 22 digitized collections of materials submitted by war veterans who served in military intelligence, is currently highlighted on the Veterans History Project Web site.

The new stories are being added to the 11 other sets of stories – arranged thematically -- in the “Experiencing War” section of the site at This new set of individual stories comprises interviews, letters, photographs and written memoirs. Visitors to the “Experiencing War” site can gain insights into military intelligence through personal accounts of the 22 veterans. The presentation is divided into three types of experiences: “In Harm’s Way,” “In the Field” and “Behind the Scenes.”

“Very often I actually knew what a German division was going to do before the German commander of that division knew it,” recalls Alexander Standish, a U.S. Army colonel who was 42 years old when the United States entered World War II. Standish entered the Army in 1942 and worked with Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley in planning the D-Day invasion and subsequent strategy to regain Europe from Nazi control. Standish’s online collection consists of 117 minutes of oral history, 10 photographs, 12 letters, a personal memoir and 41 supporting documents, such as “secret” memorandums.

Flying reconnaissance missions in a Mohawk aircraft over North Vietnam and Laos in 1967, George Davis was well aware of the plane's nickname, “The Widowmaker.” Working at night without air support or weapons, Davis photographed evidence of enemy troop movements and construction for use on future bombing runs. His expertise served him well in directing reconnaissance missions over the DMZ in Korea and later at the Pentagon, where he coordinated photo analysis for Special Forces operations around the world.

Past themes on the Veterans History site have included “D-Day: On the Beach,” “POWs in Japan,” “Military Medicine: Nurses,” and “War’s End: VE Day.”
Veterans from World War I through the current conflict, and the civilians who supported them, are coming forward to record their personal stories and contribute personal documents for a growing archives at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The Veterans History Project Web site has 2,797 stories, many of which were collected as audio and video interviews, photographs, diaries, letters and other materials. The goal is to collect, preserve and share with future generations the stories of all American war veterans. To date, more than 40,000 individuals have submitted stories to the Veterans History Project.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating, you are encouraged to e-mail the Veterans History Project at or call toll-free (888) 371-5848 to request a free project kit. For more information about the Veterans History Project, and to see and hear veterans’ stories, visit

A. George P. Davis, piloting his aircraft, 1970. Veterans History Project. Reproduction information: Not available for reproduction.

B. Veteran straddling the engine of an OV-1, 1970. Veterans History Project. Reproduction information: Not available for reproduction.