William "Rip" Robertson

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William "Rip" Robertson (August 3, 1920 – December 1, 1970) was a Central Intelligence Agency Case Officer in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970.

Central Intelligence Agency National intelligence agency of the United States

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world, primarily through the use of human intelligence (HUMINT). As one of the principal members of the United States Intelligence Community (IC), the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President and Cabinet of the United States.


Robertson was born in Manard, Muskogee County, Oklahoma on August 3, 1920 [1] and attended Vanderbilt University before and after the war. [2] During World War II he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Pacific Theater as a captain and served during the Korean War. [3] He later entered the CIA in 1947 and served as a paramilitary operations officer in their famed Special Activities Division.

Muskogee County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Muskogee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 70,990. The county seat is Muskogee. The county and city were named for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The official spelling of the name was changed to Muskogee by the post office in 1900.

Vanderbilt University Private research university in Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Vanderbilt University is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, it was named in honor of New York shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided the school its initial $1-million endowment despite having never been to the South. Vanderbilt hoped that his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

In 1954 he was one of a handful of Paramilitary Case Officers assigned to the CIA Task Force charged by President Dwight D. Eisenhower with destabilizing the democratically elected government of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz. This covert action operation was accomplished in a surprisingly easy manner through psychological warfare measures designed and managed by CIA propaganda and psy-ops experts David Phillips and Howard Hunt. From a secret radio transmitter located on Swan Island off the Honduran coast, Phillips and Hunt scripted and broadcast a steady and increasingly bellicose stream of false news reports from a so-called "insurgent radio station" that was supposedly located in the mountains of Guatemala. Meanwhile, Robertson and his colleagues brought a relatively small unit of armed and trained guerrillas into the countryside outside of Guatemala City to make loud but non-lethal demonstrations of force. The combination of alarmist false radio broadcasts and loud explosions detonated by Robertson in the countryside succeeded splendidly in convincing Arbenz and his troops that a large well-armed insurgent "army" was poised outside the capital preparing to attack at any moment. These efforts, punctuated by the fly-over of the capital by a couple of CIA-controlled fighter-bombers with Nicaraguan Air Force markings and dropping a couple of bombs, convinced Arbenz that his own pilots had defected to the anti-government insurgency and that his capital was about to fall. Arbenz hurriedly fled the country, thus accomplishing President Eisenhower's order with virtually no bloodshed.

In a subsequent Central American operation, a team of guerrillas led by Robertson mis-identified a British cargo ship for a Russian freighter at anchor in a Nicaraguan harbor that was thought to be en route to Cuba with arms and ordnance for Castro. Robertson's guerrillas mined the vessel, sinking it in the harbor and killing some British seamen, resulting in an international uproar and a diplomatic demarche' from London. Robertson accepted responsibility for the operation and although he was dismissed from the agency by the chief of the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division, Colonel J.C. King—reportedly on Eisenhower's orders—Robertson was never considered to be an outcast by his CIA colleagues.

Robertson remained in Nicaragua, where he acquired large tracts of farmland near Puerto Cabezas on the Caribbean coast and went into the coffee business. He was thus well positioned to provide covert assistance to CIA when it began the search for remote sites to train Cuban exiles. Robertson offered such a site which became the principal training camp for what was to become Brigade 2506, which subsequently landed at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. At this time, Robertson was re-employed by the agency on a contract (vice staff) basis to help lead the 2506 Brigade during the 1961 invasion of Cuba. During the battle he commanded the ship Barbara J while Grayston Lynch commanded the ship Blagar. Robertson and Lynch both went ashore to supervise the brigade from the beach. Both Robertson and Lynch were under fire for several hours until they were ordered by Washington off the beach—an order which they reluctantly obeyed.

Grayston L. Lynch was an American soldier and CIA paramilitary officer in Special Activities Division. Paramilitary Operations Officers come from the Special Operations Group (SOG) within SAD. They are recruited primarily from USSOCOM. They are a majority of the recipients of the rare CIA valor awards of the Distinguished Intelligence Cross and the Intelligence Star. He was one of the two CIA officers who commanded the faction of the army that went to war in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The other agent was William "Rip" Robertson.

Robertson subsequently led a unit of Cuban exiles in the Congo Crisis. [4]

Congo Crisis 1960–1965 war fought in the Congo

The Congo Crisis was a period of political upheaval and conflict in the Republic of the Congo between 1960 and 1965. The crisis began almost immediately after the Congo became independent from Belgium and ended, unofficially, with the entire country under the rule of Joseph-Désiré Mobutu. Constituting a series of civil wars, the Congo Crisis was also a proxy conflict in the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union and the United States supported opposing factions. Around 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during the crisis.

Robertson left Laos in 1970 on an emergency evacuation. He died in Dallas, Texas, on December 1, 1970. [5] Death was due to the effects of malaria.

Malaria Mosquito-borne infectious disease

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death. Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. If not properly treated, people may have recurrences of the disease months later. In those who have recently survived an infection, reinfection usually causes milder symptoms. This partial resistance disappears over months to years if the person has no continuing exposure to malaria.

See also


  1. http://www.wadeprater.com/tng/getperson.php?personID=I4449
  2. http://www.lostlettermen.com/william_robertson-vanderbilt-football-sec-p225579/
  3. pp.194-195 Smith, By W. Thomas Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency Infobase Publishing, 2003
  4. p.85 Villafaña, Frank Cold war in the Congo: The Confrontation of Cuban military forces, 1960-1967 Transaction Books
  5. http://www.wadeprater.com/tng/getperson.php?personID=I4449

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Spartacus Educational - William Robertson